Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Cynthia Lai

CPC Reverses Verdict on Soviet Revisionism – by Following Its Footsteps


First Published: Workers Viewpoint, Vol 6, No. 29, July 29-August 4, 1981
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

It took Khruschev three years after Stalin’s death to muster enough political and organizational power to come out with a fullblown denunciation of his predecessor. It took the Communist Party of China leaders close to five years to pass a similar verdict on Mao. Of course, Khruschev revisionism did not start with the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The event was merely the formal consolidation of that view and its representatives in the Party leadership hierarchy. In the same way, the Sixth Plenary of the Central Committee of the 11th Congress of the CPC held June 27 to June 29 in Peking was hardly the beginning of Chinese revisionism.

Its significance, in the negative sense, is also the formal consolidation of this system of views and leadership.

Perhaps there is no more appropriate description of the recent event marking the 60th anniversary of the CPC than a comparison to the 20th Congress of the CPSU. The difference, if there were any, was not in substance, but in style. Compared with Khruschev’s crude denunciation of Stalin, the CPC’s unanimously-adopted document, the Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of our Party Since the Founding of the People’s Republic of China, is mild and considerate. Yet despite its carefully chosen words, and its pretense of comprehensiveness, the document could not cover its revisionist essence. It only shows the maturity of the revisionists and their compromise to China’s political reality.

The Resolution is a Compromised Document

Immediately following the coup to purge the “Gang of Four,” the CPC leaders embarked upon a course to totally reverse Mao’s past lines and policies, and implicitly denounce Mao totally. This was done not only because of real line differences with Mao, but also as justification for their drastic acts in seizing power. However, their overanxious efforts, denouncing the last three decades as years of darkness, led to several unpleasant political consequences.

One was the Chinese people’s overall crisis of confidence in socialism and particularly in the present party leadership, who clearly were perceived as contributing heavily to the 30 years of darkness. This general crisis of confidence gave a new lease on life to the bourgeois democrats, who began openly calling for an end to the one-party system, an end to the dictatorship of the proletariat, an end to the socialist system, and of course, abandonment of Marxism-Leninism. So the revisionist denunciation of Mao backfired to the point where it threatened the current leadership’s own legitimacy. Within the party hierarchy, the wholesale denunciation also threatened the legitimacy of people like Hua Guo-Feng, who came to power on Mao’s words, and those in the army who became prominent through the Cultural Revolution, as well as the millions of genuine rank-and-file party members–those who from direct experience knew that the last 30 years were heavenly compared to the pre-Revolution years.

As a result, even though it is reported that the present leadership would have liked to avoid dealing in their lifetimes with an issue so controversial as an evaluation of Mao, they had to. It was necessary, if not to unite the party organizationally to carry out the four modernizations, at least to reestablish their authority and legitimacy to the Chinese people, and to end the opposition’s challenge once and for all. It is in this context that Chen Yun, a member of the Standing Committee of the Poliburo, strongly urged for an early sum-up, saying, “It is better to clarify these problems by our generation than by the next one...If we don’t do that, the next generation would include us in it.” (Cheng Ming Magazine, 11/80, p. 16, published in Hong Kong, in Chinese).

Before the CPC leadership agreed to undertake an evaluation of Mao, the balance was tipping towards total denunciation. The party press for a while even dropped the mention of Mao Zedong Thought altogether. Thus when Deng Xiaoping took over supervision of the sum-up, a major debate was around the definition of Mao Zedong Thought and whether to uphold it or not. One of the top theoreticians purged during the Cultural Revolution, Lu Ting Yi, reportedly did not consider Mao’s thought as a coherent political system of thinking. On the other hand, Deng considered Mao’s thought the product of the collective wisdom of the party leaders and the Chinese masses. This system of thinking, developed in the Seventh Congress, peaked before 1957 and declined steadily since that time. After that assessment, the attack on Mao was toned down a bit. But not until Huang Kecheng, a top-ranking army man, came out with an article in the People’s Liberation Army Daily affirming Mao’s contribution to 1949 were any of Mao’s contributions ever positively mentioned. Later reprinted in the Peking Review (issue no. 17, 1981), the article showed that Deng was paying serious attention to opinions in the army, which generally was considered more loyal to Mao for historical reasons. Since then, a series of articles appeared in Hungchi, the theoretical journal of the Central Committee of the CPC, summing up various aspects of Mao’s lines formulated prior to 1957 (issues no. 10, 11, and 12,1981). All these articles were meant to pacify those opposed to a wholesale denunciation of Mao.

The contents of all the articles were finally included in the Resolution adopted at the Plenary. Covering the history of the party all the way back to 1923 was an attempt to give a more “objective” and “balanced” sum-up so it would not come out as total denunciation. The result is a compromised document that was assured at least nominal support from all major factions within the party leadership. This compromised nature does not make the document less revisionist, only seemingly more comprehensive, seemingly more objective, and therefore more deceitful.

Upholds the General But Negates the Concretes

The document has three major parts. The first part summarizes the party since its founding 60 years ago. Part two sums up what was considered the content of Mao Zedong Thought still to be upheld. Part three is the positive program of the party.

On the history part, there is no controversy over the assessment of the 28 years prior to the 1949 victory. Mao Zedong Thought was considered correct in saying that “our Party and people would have had to grope in the dark much longer had it hot been for comrade Mao Zedong who more than once rescued the Chinese revolution from grave danger...”

On the 32 years after the revolution, the document said “the achievements.. .are the main thing.” However, besides the achievements, there were mistakes. “Before the ’cultural revolution,’ there were mistakes of enlarging the scope of class struggle and of impetuosity and rashness in economic construction. Later there was the comprehensive, long drawn-out and grave blunder of the ’cultural revolution.’” Among the achievements of the last 32 years were that the Chinese l) “established and consolidated the people’s democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the workers-peasants, namely the dictatorship of the proletariat,” 2) “achieved and consolidated nationwide unification of the country,” 3) “defeated aggression, sabotage and armed provocation by the imperialists and hegemonists,” 4) “built and developed a socialist economy,” 5) “scored significant success in industrial construction and have gradually set up an independent and fairly comprehensive industrial base and economic system, ” 6) “the conditions prevailing in agricultural production have experienced a remarkable change, giving rise to a big increase in production,” 7) “substantial growth in urban and rural commerce and in foreign trade,” 8) “considerable progress had been made in education, science, culture, public health and physical culture,” 9) “the People’s Liberation Army has grown in strength and in quality,” and 10) “internationally.. .steadfastly pursued an independent socialist foreign policy...”

Given those sweeping historical accomplishments mentioned, one must deduce that Mao, as the leader of the party during those years, must have been correct. But exactly the opposite conclusion comes from the facts mentioned in the Sixth Plenary resolution. In fact, except for the few years after the revolution Mao made mistake after mistake. Listing his mistakes, the document states, “From the summer of 1955 onwards, we were over-hasty in pressing on with agricultural cooperative and the transformation of private handicraft and commercial establishment.... Following the basic completion of the transformation of capitalist industry and commerce in 1956, we failed to do a proper job in employing and handling some of the former industrialists and businessmen.” Then in 1957, the scope of the anti-rightist campaign was too broad. From 1958 to 1961, the Great Leap Forward and the movement for rural people’s commune was rash and wasteful. Then the purging of Peng Teh Huai and the struggle against right opportunism in the party in 1959 was unjustified. The Socialist Education Movement unfolded between 1963 and 1965 was off the wall. All these were wrong because of Mao’s wrong theoretical assumption that “contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie remained the principal contradiction in our society,” and “problems differing in nature were all treated as forms of class struggle or its reflection inside the party.” Logically, based on this premise, the Cultural Revolution was certainly wrong and unnecessary. That is exactly what the Resolution said. “The cultural revolution was defined as a struggle against the revisionist line or the capitalist road. There were no grounds at all for this definition. It led to the confusing of right and wrong, on a series of important theories and policies. Many things denounced as revisionist or capitalist during the ’cultural revolution’ were actually Marxist and socialist principles... “Because of that, the document concluded, the Cultural Revolution ”did not in fact constitute a revolution, a social progress in any sense or could it possibly have done so.”

The only thing considered positive during that period was the economic growth of 1957 based on the Soviet model of economic construction, the economic entrenchment period between 1962 and 1965 (presumably carried out under Liu Shao-chi’s leadership), and everything since the coup against the Gang of Four. No word was mentioned about the near economic collapse of 1976-78 when Deng Xiaoping was the supreme leader in the party and state, responsible for all major decisions such as the import of Boshan Steel. The only hint of any problem at all during the last few years was when they tried to shift the blame to Hua Kuo Feng, making him the scapegoat for everybody’s mistakes, saying, “He also had his share of responsibility for impetuously seeking quick results in economic work and for continuing certain other ’left’ policies.”

The Resolution is Metaphysical and Ahistorical

Methodologically, the Resolution is metaphysical, ahistorical and opportunist. It is metaphysical because while upholding the general accomplishment as the main thing it negates every concrete action. In doing so, it separates the cause and effect. After reading such a sum-up, any logical-minded person cannot but ask, “How can a period be in the main good if everything that was done then was wrong?” Truth is highly concrete. General truth lies in the particular. This is a basic principle of Marxism. Only the metaphysical will arbitrarily separate the two and still not see any contradiction. So while the CPC leaders said that “none of these successes can be attributed in any way to the cultural revolution,” they cannot explain what was responsible for the four-fold increase in fixed industrial assets from 1957 to 1966, and the 27-fold increase from 1952 to 1980, gains which they admit. During the same period, the output of electricity increase 41 times, engineering industry 54 times, and agriculture 100%. The sum-up is ahistorical because while upholding the great accomplishment directly resulting from the defeat of the revisionist lines advocated by Liu Shao-chi, the Resolution upholds Liu’s lines as Marxist: lines that advocate the state of the whole people, not the dictatorship of the proletariat; lines that advocate not socialist collectivization of the economy but capitalist spontaneous development of the productive forces. If there had been no Cultural Revolution, if these revisionist lines had prevailed, there wouldn’t even be the 10 great achievements to speak of.

By this ahistorical separation of cause and effect, the Resolution upholds Mao’s lines of priority on agriculture, light and heavy industry in economic construction, and simultaneously denounces the Great Leap Forward, when Mao’s line was clearly a direct product of lessons from the Great Leap Forward. So, clearly the intention of affirming the 10 great accomplishments was not to uphold Mao’s contribution, developed in the course of struggle, but an opportunist maneuver to use someone else’s achievements for self-promotion.

Reversing the Nine Polemics

Though the Resolution made many errors in methodology, there is a very consistent view on what is not revisionism. It is clear not only in the open defense of Liu Shao-chi’s lines, but in the fact that the Resolution does not defend the correctness of the nine polemics. The only mention of this major event in the history of the international communist movement is the following statement: “Soviet leaders started a polemic between China and the Soviet Union, and turned the arguments between the two Parties on matters of principle into a conflict between the two nations, bringing enormous pressure to bear upon China politically, economically and militarily. So we were forced to wage a just struggle against the big-nation chauvinism of the Soviet Union.”

There is not a single word to suggest that the Soviet Union was revisionist in any way. Linking the struggle against the Soviet Union to the Cultural Revolution, the document further said, “In these circumstances, a campaign to prevent and combat revisionism inside the country was launched, which spread the error of broadening the scope of class struggle in the Party, so that normal differences among comrades inside the Party came to be regarded as manifestations of the revisionists’ line of the struggle between the two lines.” With the stroke of a pen, the present CPC leadership not only reversed the verdict on Chinese revisionism which necessitated the Cultural Revolution, but on Soviet revisionism as well.

Implications of the Sixth Plenary Resolution for CPC’s Foreign Policies

Despite its self-contradictory statements and its pretense of objectivity, the reversal of Chinese revisionism and the nine polemics (and consequently Soviet revisionism) is the most significant political judgement in the Resolution. It has tremendous implications for China’s domestic and foreign policies.

The reversal of the nine polemics is not explicitly stated. But in May 1980, Chinese newspapers reported that the Academy of Social Science in China had held many forums to discuss the anti-revisionist struggle of the early 60’s and the evaluation of the nine polemics. It is reported that those forums came to the preliminary conclusion that there was nothing wrong with “peaceful coexistence and peaceful competition” because Lenin talked about them. As far as peaceful transition goes, the forums said that from the standpoint of the objective development of history, under the circumstance when the conditions for armed struggle do not exist in advanced capitalist countries, there is nothing wrong with communists participating in parliamentary elections. On the question of attitude towards revolutions abroad, the starting point is to do a good job at home and oppose “exporting” revolution. In the past China gave huge amounts of aid to Vietnam and Albania but the result was just the opposite. It is a painful lesson. The charges of the nine polemics of attacking the Soviet Union for agreeing to peaceful coexistence with the United States and other western countries and establishing friendly relations with Yugoslavia was wrong, (reported in 70’s, 7/80, p. 49, a monthly magazine published in Hong Kong, in Chinese). The sum-up of these forums was clearly onesided. The fact is, the nine polemics never opposed communist participation in parliamentary elections, nor peaceful coexistence with countries of different economic system such as the United States. Nor did it advocate the concept of “exporting” revolution and not doing a good job at home. The nine polemics were written in struggle against the Soviet Union’s then-total absolutizing of these aspects in order to negate the need for armed struggle and the need to support liberation struggles. The Soviet Union used the pretext of peaceful coexistence and consolidating socialism in one country as the solution to the revolutions in the whole world. The preliminary sum-up of the Chinese Academy of Social Science repeats almost word-for-word Khruschev’s one-sided argument at the time of the polemics, showing their readiness to follow in Khruschev’s footsteps on all those questions. And from the wording of the Resolution, it is clear that this is not a preliminary sum-up but a consolidated view of the CPC leadership. They will be the basis guiding CPC’s foreign and domestic policies in the future.

The reversal on the definition of revisionism is also evident in some concrete actions taken by the CPC leadership since the coup.

In August 1977, after long years of hostility, Tito of Yugoslavia came to visit China. During his visit, the CPC did not call him “comrade,” nor was he complimented on his contribution to his country. Then in August 1978, Hua Kuo Feng reciprocated with a visit to Yugoslavia. During that visit, Hua and Tito called each other “comrade.” Party-to-party relations were reestablished. Returning to China, Hua called on Chinese peasants to learn from Yugoslavia’s experience/When Tito died, he was hailed as a great Marxist-Leninist in CPC’s press. Following the recognition of Tito, Enrico Berlingier, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Italy visited China in April 1980, and the relationship between the two parties which had been defunct since 1962 was reestablished. The CPC further expressed the wish to build better relations with socialist parties such as the Socialist Party in France. These overtures went beyond the CPC’s desire to improve relations with other parties and beyond contention with the Soviet Union for influence in the international communist movement. The main reason for accelerating these moves was that the CPC no longer considered such parties revisionist. This is confirmed by a statement of the newly-elected Chairman of the CPC, Hu Yubang, to the Yugoslav press that “in the last three years, China never raised on word of criticism against these parties,” (i.e., parties in Eastern Europe) and there is no conflict of interest between the CPC and these parties.” (6/21/80, reported in 70’s, 8/80, a monthly magazine published in Hong Kong, in Chinese). This policy of no criticism was consistent throughout China’s report on the Poland situation. Implicitly supporting the workers, not a word was written about the wrong lines and policies of the Polish Workers Party which were the direct cause of the unrest. During the same interview, Yubang said that the “so-called view that China wants war and is war-like was created by a particular place. It probably was due to China’s improper propaganda on the theory of the inevitability of war.” (Ibid.) Again, not one word on Soviet revisionism, and China took the blame rather than Khruschev’s revisionism.

Following the changes in the definition of revisionism, China went full-steam ahead in their implementation of the “peaceful coexistence” line. First of all, their relations with the United States were normalized in 1979, and a visit to the United States by Deng Xiaoping, who also went to France, followed. The Friendship Treaty with Japan was signed in August 1978 and in October and November of 1979, Hua Kuo Feng traveled to France, West Germany, England and Italy. Only a few months ago, China concluded a five-state visit to the Southeast Asian countries. Attention to the state-to-state front is correct in order to create a more peaceful environment for socialist construction in China. These are also attempts to utilize the contradiction between these countries and the Soviet Union as pressure to deter the Soviet Union from striking at the Chinese border. By themselves, these actions are not wrong. To the same end, China pursued the state-to-state front of peaceful coexistence not only with western capitalist countries, but also with countries with which it has had border problems in the past.

On July 3, a few days after the conclusion of the Sixth Plenary session, Foreign Minister Huang Hua went to India. It was the first state visit since 1962 when the two countries broke off relations following a border war.

As far as the relationship with the Soviet Union is concerned, despite the ongoing open hostility between the two countries, China did not stop negotiating with the Soviet Union until that country invaded Afghanistan. The last negotiations to improve the relationship between the two countries were held in Moscow in September 1980. And according to the February 25, 1981 issue of Business Week, the two countries were reported to have reached some agreement on the navigation right on the border. Then on July 6, People’s Daily indirectly called for resolution of the border question with the Soviet Union, saying that China is willing to resolve all border questions with neighboring countries through negotiations. The paper further said although the present 7,000 mile-long border between China and the Soviet Union was created by unequal treaties under the Czar, China does not demand return of all the lost land. It also said that since 1949, China had resolved border disputes with all her neighbors except the Soviet Union, India and Vietnam (Far East Times, 7/9/81, published in San Francisco, in Chinese). Though the article did not explicitly call for negotiations with the Soviet Union, the message was clear.

All these and previous attempts are good moves. The easing of tension on the border and the establishing of state-to-state relations with capitalist countries will help create a relatively peaceful environment for China to carry on its economic construction. This will enable China to further reduce its defense spending and allocate more resources to develop the productive forces. There is nothing inherently revisionist about these moves. But it is wrong, just as Khruschev was wrong, to subordinate all other fronts to the state-to-state front, and impose China’s need for peaceful relations with the imperialists on other third world countries and on people within advanced capitalist countries. In practice, the CPC has sold out many national liberation and workers’ struggles around the world, just as Khruschev did. There were many examples even before the Sixth Plenary.

In 1979, at the peak of the Iranian revolution, Deng gave an interview to Time magazine in which he condemned the Iranian revolution as chaotic and troublesome. After the revolution succeeded, Hua Kuo Feng called for U.S. intervention in order to prevent the Soviet Union from getting involved and as a way to preserve peace. On Jamaica, China supported the election of Seaga over Manley. On El Salvador, China peddled the U.S. line by portraying the revolution as a fight between the extreme left and the extreme right. Further abandoning its proletarian internationalism, in order to pacify the government of the Southeast Asian countries, China had drastically slashed its aid to the guerrillas fighting the war of liberation. The aid was ended after Chinese representatives’ recent visits to those countries. This forced the liberation forces to seek Soviet aid, and created splits among the communist parties fighting in those movements. Peaceful coexistence for the Chinese leaders became compromising support to many liberation struggles, and not exporting revolution became no aid to liberation movements. China took this policy so far that during the peak of the anti-draft movement in 1980 in this country, Hua even called on the U.S. people to join the U.S. to fight the Soviet Union in case of a war.

In foreign policy, China in theory still holds that the third world is the main force in the fight against imperialism and hegemonism (as stated in a People’s Daily article entitled “Mao’s Theory of the Differentiation of the Three Worlds is a Great Contribution to Marxism-Leninism”). In practice, however, with a few exceptions China has relied more on utilizing contradictions between the imperialists and between the Soviet Union and the imperialists, tending to rely more on the seeming strength of the United States as the main force to deter the hegemonic aspects of the Soviet Union’s foreign policy. This is China’s foreign policy strategy, which comes directly from wholesale rejection of the correctness of the nine polemics. If there were any remaining inconsistency on this question, the Sixth Plenary has made it the line guiding China’s practice.

Implications for China’s Domestic Policy

Similar to the effect on foreign policy, the Resolution’s impact on China’s domestic policy will be to consolidate what is already practiced. After the big mess in Boshan Steel, agriculture will once again be the foundation of China’s economy. There will be more decentralization of authority to local enterprise, with emphasis on scientific management of those enterprises. There will be more reliance on market forces to supplement planning to regulate production, increase in the number of private plots and free markets, and encouragement of small private business to supplement the publicly-owned economy as well as ease the unemployment problem. Central planning will be maintained, but not as rigidly as before. While there is nothing wrong with introducing these new measures as a means to raise the level of productive forces, there is a problem in the CPC leadership’s absolutizing the “step-by-step” approach to economic construction. The Resolution criticized the past policies of “prolonged ’left’ mistakes” which led to “concomitant colossal waste and losses.” Therefore, the present emphasis is to reach the goal of modernization “systematically and in stages,” explicitly ruling out the possibility of any movements or campaigns to effect a qualitative leap in economic development. Discarding certain mistakes made in the Great Leap Forward, the CPC leadership simultaneously threw out the concept of needing periodic campaigns and “leaps.” This is the same as the CPSU’s line. Polemicizihg against Mao’s so-called “wave-like theory of development,” the CPSU made a big deal out of formulating ”proportionate and balanced development.” Of course, balanced and proportionate development is always the goal, but this does not negate the need for leaps in achieving this balance. The CPSU’s line negates qualitative development, acknowledges only quantitative development and equilibrium, never disequilibrium. It is diametrically opposed to the essence of Marxism, which teaches that the struggle of opposites is the motive force in development of any process or thing.

Even though the document called for opposition to both “impetuosity and passivity,” the emphasis is on opposing impetuosity. This was obvious in a previous sum-up article, “Further Economic Readjustment: A Break with Leftist Thinking,” printed in Peking Review on March 23, 1981. This sum-up repeated head of the Central Committee’s Discipline Committee Chen Yun’s 1956 view that “conservatism can be remedied much more easily than a hasty advance can be remedied.” This again reflects the idealist deviations and views of the old CPC leaders, including Mao They assumed that solutions to all problems would come from leaders’ heads, rather than by strengthening organization, and especially by training a large core of Marxist-Leninist cadres. Only organization and a large core of cadres can correctly formulate and implement policies through mass line, and from below. This cannot be derived from the leaders’ state of mind, whether it is “impetuosity” or “conservatism.”

The problem of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution was not that Mao unleashed the masses from below; this is fundamental to solving all problems under socialism. Mao summed up–as far as he could–that the problem of both the Great Leap and the Cultural Revolution was that few cadres and leaders in the CPC understood his vision and could implement it in practice by guiding the masses step-by-step. The problem was not the use of campaigns but the weaknesses of party-building in the 50’s and 60’s.

Under favorable conditions–no war, no natural disasters, no major changes in leadership, and no political upheaval–China will see some steady growth in its economy based on this line. But accompanying it will be more staggering bureaucracy. Given the revisionist thinking with its fear of sharp turns, the leaders will have a hard time shifting the gears of the state and party machinery for qualitative changes in the event of special circumstances. And the need to preserve at all costs favorable stable conditions from internal bureaucratic pressure will take China further down the revisionist path in its foreign and domestic policies.

CPC’s revisionist view on economic construction also shows itself on the question of ideological and political struggle at home. Correctly summing up the one-sidedness of the Cultural Revolution in its belittlement of socialist organizations, rules and policies, the Resolution very strongly states the need to establish a “highly democratic political system.” It calls for strengthening the “building of state organs in all levels,” “making the people’s congress at all levels and their permanent organs authoritative organs of the people’s political power,” “improve the constitution and laws,” and so on. All these are good and necessary measures to consolidate masses’ democracy under socialism. The last few years’ practice shows that the CPC leaders have gained a few victories by finally adopting a code of laws and establishing other organizations. While the revisionist aspects of its laws will negate the purpose of organization, the attempt at organization is nevertheless genuine. Attempting to rectify the one-sidedness of the Cultural Revolution, however, the CPC leadership went overboard. Just as they rejected possible leaps because of certain mistakes in the Great Leap Forward, the CPC “threw the baby Out with the bath water” in its rejection of mass movements. Fully convinced that these organizations are enough to resolve whatever contradiction may occur in the society, the leaders concluded in the resolution that “the kind of chaotic situation that obtained in the ’cultural revolution’ must never be allowed to happen again in any sphere.” It is as if class struggle is dependent on man’s will and the party can predetermine the forms of class struggle in all circumstances. A direct implication of this line will be direct suppression of the masses under the pretext of safeguarding unity and stability should a Poland situation ever happen in China. This fear of campaigns, movements, and any disruption of order is so pervasive among the CPC revisionists that even though they still call for the “whole Party to (make) diligent study of Marxist theories, to strengthen and improve ideological and political work” and “to educate the people and youth in the Marxist world outlook and communist morality,” there will not be any significant qualitative development of the people’s consciousness from these piece-meal eclectic attempts. The same call has been made by the CPSU for the longest time, and they are still plagued by widespread problems of low .morale, sluggish work attitudes and other social phenomena contrary to the country’s socialist economic base. The problem is not that CPSU did not ask their cadres and masses to study, but that it was done routinely, as a matter of fact. This routinism, based on their fear and negation of the need for periodic mass movements and campaigns from below takes the revolutionary soul out of Marxism. Marxism is a living science, not a dead dogma. This is the revisionists’ fear that leads to their total rejection of Mao and lack of appreciation for his contributions, even while correctly criticizing the one-sidedness of some of the movements he led.

Consolidation of Revisionist Leadership

The Sixth Plenary not only means the consolidation of a full-blown revisionist program for the CPC. The election of Hu Yubang as chairman of the CPC, Deng as chairman of the Military Commission of the Central Committee, and Zhao Ziyang as premier of the State Council indicate that the hard-core revisionists have full command of the state, party, and army. This is despite the fact that there are still strong factions within the party, and the loyalty of the army is far from ensured. In the past, the chairman of the party was also the chairman of the Military Commission. This is the first time that the two posts are held by different individuals.

It also showed that despite the formal unity of the Sixth Plenary, Deng had many more problems to deal with, the primary one being control of the military. The seriousness of the situation should not be underestimated. In fact, just a few days after the Plenary, on July 5, the General Commander of the People’s Liberation Army made an open call for army loyalty in the People’s Daily. The four million troops were told that it is the “Party that commands the guns,” not vice versa, and that it would be stupid for the army to attempt anything against the party. The last few days also saw a lot of reprints of Mao’s letters to the PLA written in the 30’s and 40’s urging discipline from the army. If Deng cannot use his past credential from the military (neither of the other two has that credential) to command army support of his program, major political changes could occur in China’s political scenery.

So, the Sixth Plenary of the 11th Congress of the CPC cannot pass a verdict on Mao as it claims to. Their judgement is nothing but a truce which will be broken again and again by the economic and political disasters and setbacks, inevitable due to a narrow-minded and revisionist summing up of Chinese historical experiences of Mao’s contributions and many of his far-sighted solutions.