Deng Xiaoping

We Are Building a Socialist Society With Both High Material Standards and High Cultural and Ethical Standards


Published: April 29, 1983
Translated by: Unknown
Source: Deng Xiaoping Works
Transcription for MIA: Joonas Laine


The Communists in any country should decide for themselves what road to take for revolution, because people in other countries are not familiar with the circumstances there. If foreigners presume to give orders, they will make mistakes. Why were we able to achieve victory in the Chinese revolution? Because the Chinese Communists led by Comrade Mao Zedong thought independently and, by integrating the universal principles of Marxism-Leninism with specific Chinese conditions, found the revolutionary road, forms and methods suited to China. Similarly, the victory of the October Revolution was a product of Lenin’s integration of the principles of Marxism with Russian revolutionary practice. So if the Communists in a particular country want to make a successful revolution, the fundamental lesson is that they must find their own road in light of the conditions in that country.

No big or veteran party can pose as the supreme arbiter. During the period when Stalin was in power, the Chinese Communist Party did not follow his advice in dealing with certain crucial questions, and because it did not, it led the revolution to victory. Of course, I don’t mean that we need not draw on the experience of other countries. The Communists of any party will inevitably make mistakes, but when they do, they should analyse their experience and solve their problems by themselves. That is the only reliable approach.

The line we are following was formulated at the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the CPC and affirmed at the Twelfth National Party Congress. Since the Third Plenary Session more than four years’ practice has shown that this line is correct. Of course, we should continue to test its correctness in practice. Practice is the sole criterion for judging truth and the correctness of the Party’s line, principles and policies.

In a socialist country, a genuinely Marxist ruling party must devote itself to developing the productive forces and, on that basis, gradually raise the people’s living standards. This means building a society with high material standards. For a long time we neglected to develop the productive forces, so now we are paying special attention to attaining high material standards. At the same time, we are building a socialist society with high cultural and ethical standards, which essentially means that our people should have communist ideals, moral integrity, a good education and a strong sense of discipline. Internationalism and patriotism also belong to this realm.

(Excerpt from a talk with a delegation from the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).)