Deng Xiaoping

Strengthen Party Leadership and Rectify the Party’s Style of Work


Spoken: July 4, 1975
Translated by: Unknown
Source: Deng Xiaoping Works
Transcription for MIA: Joonas Laine


I am glad to meet you today and would like to say a few words.

Comrade Mao Zedong has recently given us three important instructions. First, study theory and combat and prevent revisionism. Second, achieve stability and unity. Third, boost the economy. These three instructions, being related to one another, form an organic whole and none of them should be left out. They form the key link in our work for the present period. Last year Comrade Mao Zedong said that the “cultural revolution” had already gone on for eight years and that it was better to achieve stability. Now that another year has passed, making it nine years, we should unite and strive for stability. We have a lot to do. There are many aspects of the international struggle that demand attention and there is also a lot to do domestically, especially to raise the level of the economy.

In order to achieve stability and unity and to develop the socialist economy, it is essential to strengthen the leadership of the Party and to spread and further develop the Party’s fine style of work. This is a vital question. Comrade Mao Zedong said that our army should be consolidated. This also holds true for the entire Party, and especially for the Party leadership and the Party’s style of work.

At present, effective Party leadership either has not yet been established or has been weakened in quite a number of localities. This problem exists at all levels. How can we do without Party leadership? What will happen if what the Party says doesn’t carry much weight? The key to the solution of this problem is to build effective leadership at the level of the provincial Party committees. It is not possible to bring all problems to the Central Committee for solution. Many comrades present here work at the provincial level. I hope that through your study and work, you will be able to establish effective leadership by the provincial Party committees so that their opinions will be heeded and they will be able to shoulder the responsibility of leadership and be neither weak, nor lazy, nor lax. Will the provincial Party committee leaders make mistakes? That is probable, even certain. It is quite possible for this or that comrade to make mistakes. It is unrealistic to ask that the provincial Party committees be infallible and totally correct on every matter. They should be allowed to make mistakes and to correct them. When they do make mistakes, they should be given help. When the Central Committee criticizes them, it is in order to help them. We should support the leadership of the provincial Party committees and help them build their prestige so that they may exercise effective leadership in all kinds of work — in industry, agriculture, commerce, culture, education and military affairs — and in all parts of their respective provinces. Once the provincial Party committees become strong and do not hesitate to exercise leadership, they will be able to help the Party committees at the prefectural and county levels. This is the way for our Party to make its leadership effective. In its recent decision on improving railway work and in its instructions on striving to fulfil this year’s plan for iron and steel production, the Central Committee stressed the importance of strengthening Party leadership. The whole Party should take up this task.

When it comes to the Party’s style of work, this means the “three dos and three don’ts” put forward by Comrade Mao Zedong; they represent both the Party’s principles and its style of work. You comrades have all read many books. Nevertheless, you should make a careful study of the documents issued during the Yan’an rectification movement and the political report to the Seventh National Congress of the Party. In that report, Comrade Mao Zedong set forth the three major features of the Party’s style of work, namely, integrating theory with practice, maintaining close ties with the masses and practising self-criticism. During the Yan’an rectification movement, Comrade Mao Zedong made “Reform Our Study”, “Rectify the Party’s Style of Work” and other reports. Rectification meant correcting the style of study by opposing subjectivism; correcting the style in Party relations by combating sectarianism; and correcting the style of writing by opposing Party stereotypes. These principles were put forward by Comrade Mao Zedong after he had summed up the Party’s historical experience. Among them, combating sectarianism — that is, combating factionalism and enhancing Party spirit — is very important. The admonition contained in the “three dos and three don’ts” to promote unity and oppose splits is in the same spirit as the call for combating sectarianism during the Yan’an rectification movement. Communist Party members should act in accordance with the Party Constitution and observe Party discipline. They should not engage in sectarianism, form “mountain strongholds”, or side with one faction or another. Otherwise, our Party will be split and lose its fighting capacity. The Yan’an rectification movement was aimed at solving these problems in order to forge Party-wide unity on the basis of ideological agreement. Without that movement, it would have been impossible to defeat the Japanese aggressors and Chiang Kai-shek. The present attempts to solve problems in different regions and units should all begin with combating factionalism and enhancing Party spirit. During the revolutionary war years, the Red Army on the different fronts and cadres from different revolutionary base areas formed various “mountain strongholds”; these came into being naturally. But even if the two factions which appeared at the early stage of the “cultural revolution” were likewise formed naturally, their perpetuation now would be quite a different matter. Comrade Mao Zedong has called for stability and unity. How can stability and unity be achieved if a small number of persons are allowed to continue making trouble? A few persons in Xuzhou made things so difficult for the city Party committee that it had to go “underground”. What kind of dictatorship is this? It is the dictatorship of factionalism. When this happens, stability and unity are simply out of the question. As a matter of fact, those who cling to factionalism are very few in number. Over 95 per cent of the people, including those who go along in factional activities, detest factionalism. Once things are made clear to the masses and they are awakened, once they come to see the true features of those who cling to factionalism, they will stop trailing after them. The majority of people engaging in factional activities can be educated. We should correct factionalism among the masses according to the formula of “unity — criticism — unity” put forward by Comrade Mao Zedong, that is, we should start from the desire for unity and arrive at unity through criticism. Of course, this involves such struggles as are necessary.

That is all I have to say today. I have talked mainly about strengthening Party leadership, opposing factionalism and developing further the fine style of work established by Comrade Mao Zedong. All comrades in the Party, and especially Central Committee members and high-ranking cadres, should pay attention to these matters.

(Speech to members of the fourth class for theoretical study organized by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.)