Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


October 11, 1955

[Concluding speech at the Enlarged Sixth Plenary Session of the Seventh Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.]

Our present session has been a great debate. This debate concerns the question of whether our Party's general line for the period of transition from capitalism to socialism is entirely correct or not. This all-Party debate was triggered by the question of our policy on the co-operative transformation of agriculture, on which your discussion has also centred. However, the debate covers a wide range of subjects, bearing on the work of the departments of agriculture, industry, communications, transport, finance, monetary affairs, trade, culture, education, science, public health, etc., on the transformation of handicrafts and capitalist industry and commerce, the suppression of counter-revolutionaries, the armed forces and foreign affairs; in short, it touches on the whole range of our work, the work of the Party, the government, the armed forces and the people's organizations. There should be a great debate of this kind. For nothing like it has been conducted in our Party since the promulgation of the general line. We must unfold the debate in the countryside and in the cities as well so that our work in every sphere and its tempo and quality will fit the tasks set by the general line and be covered by a comprehensive plan.

Now I shall speak on a number of questions.


The relationship between agricultural co-operation and the transformation of capitalist industry and commerce, which is the relationship between the two tasks of basically and simultaneously accomplishing the socialist transformation of agriculture and of capitalist industry and commerce in a period of about three five-year plans, is in fact the relationship between agricultural co-operation and the bourgeoisie.

We believe that only when the alliance of the working class and the peasantry is gradually consolidated on a new basis, that of socialism, in the course of the thoroughgoing socialist transformation of agriculture, will it be possible to sever all the ties between the urban bourgeoisie and the peasantry, completely isolate the bourgeoisie and facilitate the thoroughgoing transformation of capitalist industry and commerce. The purpose of our socialist transformation of agriculture is to cut off the source of capitalism in the vast countryside.

We have not yet accomplished agricultural co-operation, the working class has not yet consolidated its alliance with the peasantry on a new basis and the alliance remains unstable. The peasants are no longer satisfied with the alliance we formed with them in the past on the basis of the agrarian revolution. They are beginning to forget about the benefits they reaped from that alliance. They should now be given new benefits, which means socialism. The peasants have not yet attained collective prosperity, and grain and industrial raw materials are far from sufficient. In these circumstances it is likely that the bourgeoisie will kind fault with us and attack us on this score. But in a few years we shall witness an entirely new situation, namely, an alliance between the working class and the peasantry on a new basis, an alliance more consolidated than ever.

The old alliance to oppose the landlords, overthrow the local despots and distribute land was a temporary one; it has become unstable after a period of stability. Since the agrarian reform polarization has taken place among the peasants. If we have nothing new to offer them and cannot help them raise their productivity, increase their income and attain collective prosperity, the poor ones will no longer trust us and will feel that there is no point in following the Communist Party. Since they remain poor after land has been distributed to them, why do they still have to follow you? As for the well-to-do ones, namely, those who have become rich peasants or grown quite well off, they won't trust us either and will invariably find the policies of the Communist Party not to their taste. As a result, neither the one nor the other, neither the poor nor the rich, will trust us, and the worker-peasant alliance will become quite shaky. To consolidate this alliance, we have to lead the peasants onto the road of socialism, enabling them to attain collective prosperity; not only the poor peasants but all of them must prosper and, what is more, they must become far better off than the present-day well-to-do peasants. Once the countryside goes co-operative, the life of the entire rural population will get better and better as the years go by and there will be more commodity grain and more industrial raw materials. By then the bourgeoisie will be silenced and kind themselves completely isolated.

We now have two alliances, one with the peasants and the other with the national bourgeoisie. Both are indispensable to us, and Comrade Chou En-lai has also spoken of this. What advantage is there in our alliance with the bourgeoisie? It enables us to obtain more manufactured goods to exchange for farm produce. This was precisely what Lenin had in mind at one phase after the October Revolution. Since the state had no manufactured goods to exchange, the peasants refused to sell their grain and wouldn't take mere paper money for it. So Lenin intended to have the proletarian state power form an alliance with state capitalism in order to secure more manufactured goods to cope with the spontaneous capitalist forces in the countryside.[1] It is precisely for the purpose of securing more manufactured goods to meet the needs of the peasants and overcome their reluctance to sell their grain and even some of their industrial raw materials that we have entered into an alliance with the bourgeoisie and refrained from confiscating capitalist enterprises for the time being, and have instead adopted a policy of utilizing, restricting and transforming them. This means using our alliance with the bourgeoisie to overcome the peasants' reluctance to sell their produce. On the other hand we rely on our alliance with the peasants to secure grain and industrial raw materials with which to bring the bourgeoisie under control. The capitalists have no raw materials, whereas the state has. If they want raw materials, they will have to sell manufactured goods to the state and go in for state capitalism. If they refuse to do so, we will deny them raw materials. In either case, they will be held in check. This will block the capitalist road the bourgeoisie wants to follow, namely, the opening of free markets, the free acquisition of raw materials and the free sale of manufactured goods, and will in addition isolate the bourgeoisie politically. Such is the interaction between these two alliances. Of the two, our alliance with the peasants is principal, basic and primary, while our alliance with the bourgeoisie is temporary and secondary. To an economically backward country like ours both alliances are indispensable at present.

The agrarian reform enabled us to form an alliance with the peasants on the basis of democracy and enabled them to obtain land. The procuring of land by the peasants was a bourgeois-democratic revolution in nature, for it destroyed feudal ownership only, not capitalist ownership or individual ownership. That alliance made the bourgeoisie feel isolated for the first time. At the Third Plenary Session in 1950, I spoke against hitting out in all directions. The agrarian reform had not yet been carried out in vast areas of the country, nor had peasants come over entirely to our side. If we had opened fire on the bourgeoisie then, it would have been out of order. After the agrarian reform, when the peasants had entirely come over to our side, it was possible and necessary for us to start the movements against the "three evils" and the "five evils". Agricultural co-operation will enable us to consolidate our alliance with the peasants on the basis of proletarian socialism and not of bourgeois democracy. That will isolate the bourgeoisie once and for all and facilitate the final elimination of capitalism. On this matter we are quite heartless! On this matter Marxism is indeed cruel and has little mercy, for it is determined to exterminate imperialism, feudalism, capitalism, and small production to boot. In this respect, it is better not to have much mercy. Some of our comrades are too kind, they are not tough enough, in other words, they are not so Marxist. It is a very good thing, and a significant one too, to exterminate the bourgeoisie and capitalism in China, a country with a population of 600 million. Our aim is to exterminate capitalism, obliterate it from the face of the earth and make it a thing of the past. What emerges in history is bound to die out. Everything in the world is a historical phenomenon; as there is life, so there must be death. As a historical phenomenon, capitalism must also die out, and it has a very nice place to go to, that is, underground, there to "sleep".

The present international situation is favourable to our fulfilment of the general task for the transition period. We need three five-year plans basically to accomplish socialist industrialization and socialist transformation. We must strive to secure this length of time for peaceful construction. Three of the fifteen years have already elapsed, and twelve more will do the job. It seems likely that we will gain this time, and we must strive hard for it. We should redouble our efforts in foreign affairs and in building up national defence.

During this fifteen-year period, the class struggle at home and abroad will be very tense. We have already seen this to be the case We have won many victories in this struggle and will continue to do so. In the internal class struggle, we have done four main things in the last twelve months: one, we have fought idealism, two, we have suppressed counter-revolutionaries, three, we have settled the question about grain, and four, we have tackled the question of agricultural co-operation. The struggles waged on these four issues were all in the nature of a struggle against the bourgeoisie, we have dealt them severe blows and are continuing to deal them crushing ones.

The struggle against idealism has been going on for a year, beginning with the question of The Dream of the Red Chamber and including the criticism of the Literary Gazette and the subsequent criticism of Hu Shih and Liang Shu-ming. We must carry out an effective campaign against idealism and we intend to devote a period of three five-year plans to the struggle. In the course of this struggle it is necessary to build up contingents of cadres well versed in Marxism and dialectical materialism, so that large numbers of our cadres and people can be armed with the fundamental theories of Marxism. With regard to the suppression of counter-revolutionaries, we plan to spend the rest of this year and the whole of next on the work of eliminating them from state factories, state commercial enterprises, co-operatives and various organizations at the county, district and township levels as well as from among army cadres and factory workers -- that is from among the ranks of roughly twelve million people. Talking about counter-revolutionaries, it may seem that there aren't many left and that there are hardly any to be seen. Yet when we dig into the matter, we find that they do exist, and we have just ferreted out a batch. A big battle has also been fought on the question of grain. The bourgeoisie used the grain problem as a pretext for attacking us, a spate of rumours also emerged inside the Party, and we therefore countered by unfolding criticism. We have waged many struggles on the question of agricultural co-operation and the present session has also concentrated on it. We have launched momentous struggles on these four issues, countered the resistance and offensive of the bourgeoisie and gained the initiative.

The bourgeoisie are afraid of our struggles against them on these issues and especially of our suppression of counter-revolutionaries. We have done a good job of suppressing counter-revolutionaries. In this work we must pay attention to the criteria, if we don't, it will be very dangerous. Only those who meet the criteria are to be labelled counter-revolutionaries, that is to say, we must ferret out genuine counter-revolutionaries and not phoney ones. It is to be expected that cases of phoney counter-revolutionaries will occur. It is very difficult to exclude this possibility. But we demand that there should be fewer such cases and preferably none at all. The counter-revolutionaries must be out-and-out and unmistakable ones who completely meet the criteria; we mustn't wrong innocent people. On the other hand, some genuine counter-revolutionaries may slip through our net. You say you will make a clean sweep of them this time. Not very likely. Such cases of wriggling through are hard to avoid, but we should do our best to keep the number to a minimum.


With regard to agricultural co-operation, the numerous innovations of the masses have shattered many illusions and erroneous views. This time the discussion has settled quite a few questions which many people did not clearly understand a few months ago.

First, there is the question of which is better, a big or a small expansion. This has been a major issue generating much controversy and now it is settled. The masses demand a big expansion, and the general task for the transition period demands that agriculture should adapt itself to industry therefore, the view in favour of a small expansion is wrong.

Second, the question whether expansion is possible in areas which were liberated late, in mountain areas, in backward townships and in areas affected by natural disasters. Now this question is settled. It is possible in all such places.

Third, the question whether co-operatives can be set up in minority nationality areas. Now it has been proved that they can be set up wherever conditions are ripe. In some places, such as Tibet and the Taliang and Hsiaoliang Mountains, where conditions are not yet ripe, co-operatives should not be set up.

Fourth, the question whether co-operatives can be set up without funds, carts and oxen or without the well-to-do middle peasants. Now this has been proved possible too.

Fifth, the fallacy that "it is easy to set up a co-operative but hard to consolidate it" has been exploded. Setting one up is not so easy and consolidating it is not necessarily so hard. If you insist that it is easy to set up but hard to consolidate a co-operative, you are actually speaking for setting up few or none.

Sixth, the question whether co-operatives can be set up without farm machinery. The view that there have to be machines before co-operatives can be set up is no longer popular, but it lingers on. This fallacy can also be exploded.

Seventh, the question whether poorly run co-operatives should all be dissolved. Of course a few that definitely cannot carry on may revert to mutual-aid teams, but generally the so-called poorly run co-operatives should not be dissolved, for they can take a turn for the better after a check-up.

Eighth, the statement that "if you don't get off the horse quickly, there will be the danger of breaking up the worker-peasant alliance" is probably an "argument" relayed down from the Rural Work Department of the Central Committee. This department not only manufactures rumours but also produces a lot of "arguments". I think that this statement is in the main "correct" -- only a single word needs to be changed, that is, the word "off" be changed into "on". You comrades of the Rural Work Department do not have to feel discouraged, for I have accepted almost all your words and changed only one. The difference lies in a single word, our controversy is over just one word -- you want to get off the horse while I want to get on. "If you don't get on the horse quickly, there will be the danger of breaking up the worker-peasant alliance", and danger there certainly will be.

Ninth, the charge that "the co-operatives are to blame for the loss of oxen" is not quite in keeping with the actual conditions. The chief cause of the loss of oxen is to be found not in the co-operatives but in floods, in the high price of ox hides and in the shortage of fodder while some oxen are too old and have to be slaughtered.

Tenth, it is wrong to say that "the fundamental cause of the tense situation in the countryside is that too many co-operatives have been set up". The tense situation in the countryside last spring was chiefly due to the grain problem. The so-called grain shortage was in most cases fictitious; the clamour about it was raised by landlords, rich peasants and well-to-do middle peasants. We didn't have time to conduct extensive education among the peasant masses to counter it; besides, there were shortcomings in our work regarding grain. We over-purchased 7,000 million catties last year, not knowing at the time the proper amount of grain we should purchase. Now we are making an adjustment and plan to purchase 7,000 million catties less. Coupled with this year's good harvest, this will ease the tense situation in the countryside.

Eleventh, there is still another remark in circulation, "The superiority of the co-operatives can last only three years"; this is pessimistic. In my view, their superiority will certainly not be limited to three years, for socialism will last a very long time. In the future, when socialism is no longer the embodiment of superiority, communism with its superiority will take its place.

Twelfth, should we set up a number of co-operatives of the advanced type in the near future? In the past people were not clear about this question, and it has been raised at the present session. A batch of such co-operatives should be set up. As for the number, that's for you to consider.

Thirteenth, it is also wrong to say that "no co-operatives can be set up with junks and animal-drawn carts". As we see it now, the millions of working people engaged in junk or animal-drawn cart transport should also be organized into co-operatives.

We have settled all these questions in the light of your discussions. This is a tremendous achievement on the part of the present plenary session of the Central Committee.


Comprehensive planning should include, first, a plan for co-operatives, second, a plan for agricultural production and, third, an over-all economic plan. An over-all economic plan for the countryside embraces side-line production, handicrafts, diversified economic undertakings, multi-purpose undertakings, nearby land reclamation and population shifts, supply and marketing co-operatives, credit co-operatives' banks and technique popularization stations, etc., as well as afforestation of barren mountains and villages. I think the barren mountains in the north in particular should be Forested, and they undoubtedly can be. Do you comrades from the north have courage enough for this? Many places in the south need afforestation too. It will be One if in a number of years we can see various places in the south and north clothed with greenery. This will benefit agriculture, industry and all other spheres.

What other plans should be made? A plan for culture and education. It should embrace eliminating illiteracy, opening primary schools, setting up middle schools geared to the needs of the rural areas, adding a few courses in agriculture to the middle school curriculum, publishing popular pamphlets and books suited to the needs of the peasants, establishing rural broadcasting networks and film projection teams, arranging cultural and recreational activities, and so on. There should also be plans for the consolidation and building of the Party and Youth League organizations, for women's work and for the suppression of counter-revolutionaries. All these should be included in a comprehensive plan.

Plans should be of the following kinds: (1) A plan for a village co-operative. Every co-operative, however small, should make a plan and learn how to do so. (2) A plan for an entire township. Our country has over 220,000 townships, each of which should have a plan. (3) A plan for an entire county. We hope every county will make one. Some counties have already made good plans that are interesting to read. The minds of the comrades there are emancipated, they defy heaven and earth and are not fettered by shackles and manacles, and their plans are dynamic. (4) A plan for an entire province (or an autonomous region, or the suburban areas of a municipality). Here the stress should be put on plans for entire townships and for entire counties. These two links should be grasped, and a number of such plans should be drawn up promptly. For instance, in each province plans for three or four counties should be made and distributed as examples.

Plans for co-operative transformation should specify different rates of development for different areas. There are three kinds of areas. The first comprises the greater part of our rural areas, the second a section of the smaller part of our rural areas and the third the remainder. For the greater part of our rural areas the development should be in three waves, that is, three winters and springs. The three waves consist of this winter and next spring, next winter and the following spring, and another winter and spring. Three winters and springs make three waves, one wave surging after another, and in between there should be an interval. There is a valley between two mountains and there is a trough between two waves. The first kind of area will have basically completed semi-socialist co-operative transformation by the spring of 1958. For the second kind of area, such as areas in North China and the Northeast and also some suburban areas, two winters and springs, or two waves, will suffice. Among them a few will have basically gone co-operative by next spring, and thus they will reach the goal in only one wave. The third kind of area, that is, the remainder of the smaller part of our rural areas, will need four, five or even six winters and springs. This does not include some of the minority nationality areas, namely, the Taliang and Hsiaoliang Mountains, Tibet and other minority nationality areas where conditions are not yet ripe, and no co-operative should be set up under such circumstances. What is meant by the basic completion of semi-socialist co-operation? That 70 to 80 per cent of the rural population have joined semi-socialist co-operatives. Here a margin is allowed, 70 per cent will be all right, and so will 75 or 80 per cent or slightly over 80 per cent -- this is what we call the basic completion of semi-socialist co-operation. For the rest of the rural population, co-operation will come about later. Being too slow is not good, nor is being overhasty, both are opportunistic. There are two kinds of opportunism, being slow and being hasty. Putting it in this way will make it easier for ordinary people to understand.

Province (municipality or autonomous region), prefecture and county -- all three levels must constantly acquaint themselves with the development of the movement and tackle any problem as it arises. Make sure that you don't wait until problems pile up before making a reckoning, that would be firing belated shots. In the past, much of our work was done in this way, problems were left to pile up instead of being solved as they arose, and a reckoning or criticism was made only at the very end. Some comrades made this mistake during the movements against the "three evils" and the "five evils". Don't go in for criticism after the event. Of course, criticisms have to be made after the event, but it will be best to make them the moment a mistake begins to show itself. It is not good to go in for criticism after the event and fail to give guidance according to the changing circumstances. What is to be done when things turn out unfavourably? When this happens, put on the brakes at once, or in other words, make a halt. It is like driving a car, we put on the brakes at once when we meet with danger in going down a steep slope. The provincial, prefectural and county authorities all have the power to put on the brakes. Attention must be paid to guarding against the "Left" deviation. To guard against the "Left" deviation is Marxism, not opportunism. Marxism does not call for "Left" deviations, and "Left" opportunism is not Marxism.

In setting up co-operatives what should we compete in from now on? In quality, in measuring up to norms. As for quantity or speed, what we specified earlier will do, and the emphasis now is on competition in quality. And what are the criteria for quality? They are increased production and no loss of livestock. How can production be increased and loss of livestock be avoided? To this end, it is necessary to observe the principles of voluntary participation and mutual benefit, make comprehensive plans and give flexible guidance. Given these conditions, the co-operatives, I think, will be able to achieve better quality, increase production and prevent the loss of livestock. We must by all means avoid the mistake once made in the Soviet Union which led to the slaughtering of livestock in large numbers. The next two years are crucial, and chiefly the next five months, namely, this winter and next spring. I would ask the comrades here to see to it that, starting from November this year and up to March next year, no serious trouble nor any loss of oxen in large numbers occurs. Since we have only a few tractors, oxen are a treasure, they are the chief implement in agricultural production.

In the next five months, the leading cadres at the provincial, prefectural, county, district and township levels, and first of all the Party secretaries and deputy secretaries, must immerse themselves in the question of co-operatives and familiarize themselves with the various problems connected with them. Is the time too short? I think five months will do, if you make a serious effort. Of course it is very important for comrades at the provincial level to do so, but it will be very dangerous if comrades at the county, district and township levels in particular do not go into this question and know practically nothing about co-operatives when many are being set up. What if a comrade simply can't dig in? He should be given a different job. The Central Committee will probably call a similar conference five months hence, that is, after next March. We shall then have a competition in quality, and speakers at the conference will not be expected to repeat their present speeches, for there must be something new, that is, the emphasis should be on questions of comprehensive planning, management and methods of leadership. They should speak on efficient methods of setting up more and better co-operatives faster. In other words, they should deal with the question of quality.

Methods of leadership are very important. To avoid mistakes, one must pay attention to these methods and strengthen leadership. Here are some suggestions about methods of leadership, see if they are feasible. One is to hold several large or small meetings yearly to solve current problems, as we are doing now. When a problem crops up, you should be able to see what is universal in a particular case. You don't have to catch all the sparrows and dissect them before you can prove the fact that "small as it is, the sparrow has all the vital organs". No scientist has ever acted this way. Once you are clear about a few co-operatives, you will be able to draw proper conclusions. Besides the method of holding meetings, you can use the telegram and the telephone and go on inspection tours, these too are very important methods of leadership. In addition, every province should select suitable personnel to run publications well and improve them for the prompt exchange of experience. Here is another suggestion which I would like you to try out. I spent eleven days reading 120-odd reports, making corrections and writing notes to them. In this manner I have "travelled all the kingdoms" and gone farther than Confucius, "travelling" as far as Yunnan and Sinkiang.[2] Perhaps each province and autonomous region might compile a book every year or every six months, with one article from each county, so that the experience of all counties can be exchanged; this will facilitate the rapid spread of the co-operative movement. Still another method is to issue bulletins. The county Party committee should submit bulletins to the prefectural Party committee, the prefectural to the provincial or autonomous region Party committee, and the latter to the Central Committee, reporting on the number of co-operatives set up and on the problems that have arisen. The leadership at various levels will acquaint itself with the situation through these bulletins and be able to find solutions to problems when they arise. These are a few suggestions concerning methods of leadership for the comrades present to consider.


All past experience has demonstrated one point: ideological struggle must hit the mark. There must be confrontation of ideas, to use a current expression. As in fighting, you thrust your sword at me and I thrust mine back, and the two swords must cross -- this is confrontation. Without a confrontation of ideas no clarity and thoroughness can be attained, and that's not good. At this session we have had confrontation, thus attaining clarity and thoroughness in our thinking. The first advantage of this method is that it helps most comrades to get clear on questions, and the second that it helps those comrades who have erred to correct their mistakes.

For comrades who have erred, I think there are only two requirements: one, they themselves must be willing to make revolution; two, other people must allow them to go on making revolution. There are individuals who don't want to go on making revolution themselves, for example, Chen Tu-hsiu did not want to, nor did Chang Kuo-tao, nor Kao Kang and Jao Shu-shih, but such individuals are a mere handful. Most people want to go on making revolution. Then there is the other requirement: they must be allowed to make revolution. We should not act like the bogus foreign devil in The True Story of Ah Q. who bars Ah Q from revolution, nor should we ape Wang Lun the scholar-in-white [3] in Water Margin, who also bars other people from revolution. Whoever bars others from revolution will find himself in a very perilous position. Wang Lun, the scholar-in-white, who bars other people from revolution, ends up losing his life. Kao Kang barred other people from revolution, and didn't he end up losing his life too?

Historical experience shows that most people who have committed errors of dogmatism or empiricism can correct them. But this calls for two pre-conditions, serious criticism on the one hand and a forbearing attitude on the other. It is not good to do without the latter, for its absence would lead to unnatural relations. Who doesn't make some mistake or other? Everyone without exception makes mistakes, only some make major mistakes and others minor ones. In any case the incorrigible are few, such as Chen Tu-hsiu, Chang Kuo-tao, Kao Kang, Jao Shu-shih and also Chen Kuang and Tai Chi-ying. Except for a few persons like them, all the others who have erred can be saved and can correct their mistakes with the help of their comrades. We should act in this way and have confidence. On their part, people who have erred should have confidence too.

Some comrades in the Rural Work Department of the Central Committee, and principally Comrade Teng Tzu-hui, have made mistakes. The mistakes he has made this time are Right deviationist and empiricist in nature. Comrade Teng Tzu-hui has made a self-criticism. Though some comrades at group meetings felt that it was not thorough enough, we of the Political Bureau and other comrades have talked it over and found it satisfactory on the whole. For the present the understanding he has shown is good enough. It should be acknowledged that Comrade Teng Tzu-hui did a lot of work during the long revolutionary struggle and made contributions. But he should not have allowed his contributions to become a handicap. He himself has admitted this, saying that he has to some extent flaunted his seniority. One must be modest. Provided Comrade Teng Tzu-hui is modest and ready to accept the help of his comrades, we believe he will be able to correct his mistakes.

Comrade Teng Tzu-hui once advanced the kind of programmatic formulation which advocated reliance on the businessmen (that is, on the bourgeoisie) and the "four big freedoms". That formulation was wrong and was a veritable bourgeois programme in nature, a capitalist programme, not a proletarian one, and it ran counter to the decision of the Second Plenary Session of the Seventh Central Committee on the restriction of the bourgeoisie. We are now following a policy of restriction towards both the urban bourgeoisie and the rural bourgeoisie (the rich peasants). Therefore, the "four big freedoms", under which no restrictions are placed on hiring labourers, trading, money-lending and renting out land, must be called in question. I would say there are "four little freedoms". Here the difference is between big and little. With restrictions, the bourgeoisie have a bit of these freedoms, just a tiny bit. We must prepare the conditions for depriving the bourgeoisie of these little freedoms, too. Towards the urban bourgeoisie we adopt a policy of utilization, restriction and transformation. We must utilize it, but at the same time we must restrict that aspect which is detrimental to the nation's economy and the people's livelihood. Such a policy is neither "Left" nor Right. No restriction at all would mean leaning too much to the Right. Extreme restriction, which bars the bourgeoisie from any undertaking whatever, would mean leaning too much to the "Left". Lenin said it would be not only foolish but suicidal for a political party to try to eradicate capitalism at one stroke when millions upon millions of small producers still exist.[4] But Comrade Teng Tzu-hui's formulation was incorrect because he made no mention of restriction, and it differed from that of the Central Committee and of the Second Plenary Session.

Some comrades take almost no heed of the Party's resolutions and the policies advocated by the Party over long periods, as if they had never read or heard of them -- I don't know why. For instance, the mutual-aid and co-operative movement went on for many years in the central revolutionary base area, in Yenan and in each and every base area, and yet these comrades don't seem to have seen or heard anything about it. Back in the winter of 1951, the Central Committee adopted a resolution on mutual aid and co-operation in agricultural production, which they likewise ignore. As late as 1953, they still did not talk about fundamentals but took pleasure in giving small favours. By their not talking about fundamentals we mean they never talked about socialism, and by taking pleasure in giving small favours we mean they took pleasure in giving the "four big freedoms". That is to say, some comrades take no heed at all of the Party's resolutions or of some of the policies and programmes it has long advocated; instead they go their own way. They never try to kind out whether and how questions of a similar nature have been discussed before. Some historians take pains to study even oracle bones, inscriptions on bronzes and stone tablets and other relics of the ancient past which have been unearthed, whereas these comrades pay not the least heed to our recent past and don't bother to look into it. In short, they completely ignore what is going on beyond their immediate surroundings and just write and speak as they like; for instance, they have prated about the "four big freedoms", and well, they have ended up running their heads against a wall.

Some other comrades always prefer decentralism, they assert their independence and even set up independent kingdoms, finding dictatorship very much to their taste. At the outset it was in order to be comfortable that they set up kingdoms and proclaimed themselves kings. But what was the result? In the end they found themselves very uncomfortable as they came under criticism. Isn't there an opera called Ascending the Throne? Look what great comfort Hsueh Ping-kuei enjoyed on becoming king, for in those days there was no self-criticism. That was not good. Many people are always reluctant to consult others. Many comrades pay lip-service to collective leadership, but actually they are inordinately fond of personal dictatorship, as if they would not look like leaders unless they were dictatorial. One does not have to be dictatorial to be a leader, don't you know that? The bourgeoisie has bourgeois democracy, it stresses class dictatorship. The proletariat and the Communist Party must likewise exercise class dictatorship, it is bad to practice personal dictatorship. When a problem comes up, it is always advisable to consult with others, have it solved by the collective and pool the wisdom of the many; that's the better way.

Still another point needs to be taken up here. Many comrades bury themselves in office work and do not study problems. Mustn't office work be attended to? Certainly it must. It won't do to neglect such work, but it would be dangerous to attend to it exclusively without studying problems. If you don't go among the cadres and the masses, or if, when among them, you are always taking them to task instead of consulting and exchanging views with them, saying "What do you think of my ideas? Please tell me your opinions", you won't be able to sense the political climate, your nose will become insensitive and you will catch cold politically. Once your nose is stopped up, you can't tell what the climate is at a given time. Today Comrade Chen Yi said that one must be able to grasp a thing when it is in the bud. A person must be most slow-witted if he fails to see what is already widespread and abundant. This situation calls for attention. It is very bad for anyone to be occupied solely with office work to the neglect of studying problems, going among the masses and cadres and consulting with them.


Most of the questions I am now going to discuss have been raised by the comrades here.

First, with regard to removing well-to-do middle peasants from leading positions in the co-operatives, it is necessary to pay attention to the steps to be taken and the methods to be used; do not dismiss them all at once. Although they are not fit to be leaders, they are nevertheless working people. Each case should be decided on its merits, depending on how the person acquits himself. Some well-to-do middle peasants must be removed, for it simply won't do to let them continue at their posts. But it must be made clear to the masses (for example, the members of the co-operative) as well as to the well-to-do middle peasant concerned that he is not really fit to go on serving as a leader. There is another condition, namely, he is not to be removed until a better qualified person is ready to succeed him or has been trained to take his place. Some of the well-to-do middle peasants may continue at their posts after making a self-criticism and correcting their mistakes, others may be made deputy leaders or committee members. Of course those who have done a good job should not be removed, even though they are well-to-do middle peasants. Do not treat well-to-do middle peasants as rich peasants, they are not. Do not remove them all at once. This question must be approached with care and properly settled. The provinces and localities are expected to consider whether the various ways mentioned above are feasible.

Second, it must be made clear at the Party branches and among the masses that when we now say that the lower-middle peasants and the upper-middle peasants are two different social strata, it is not because we are redefining class status but because different social strata actually take different attitudes towards co-operative transformation, some active, some passive, and a similar difference exists among individuals within the same stratum. For instance, even among the poor peasants there are people who do not want to join the co-operatives for the time being. This fact can be used to convince the well-to-do middle peasants: "Look! Among the poor and lower-middle peasants there are also people who are rather passive. They don't want to come in, so we won't ask them to join. As you well-to-do middle peasants don't want to come in now, you may stay out too." We should first draw in those who are keen on joining, then make propaganda among a second group until they become keen enough to join, and then among a third group. This should be done by stages and in batches. In time all will join the co-operatives. So it is not a question of redefining class status.

Third, on the question of landlords and rich peasants joining the co-operatives. Perhaps we can try the following way: take the county together with the township as a unit (it is not enough to take the county alone as the unit, for a county may have basically gone co-operative while there may still be no co-operatives at all in some of its townships). When a county and township have basically gone co-operative, that is, when 70 to 80 per cent of the peasant households have joined, the consolidated co-operatives can start dealing with the landlords and rich peasants in groups and by stages according to their behaviour. Those who have a good record and are honest and law-abiding may be given co-operative membership. Others may join in collective labour in the co-operative and receive their share of remuneration but without co-operative membership, being actually members on probation; if they do well, they too can become members, and so they will have something to look forward to. Those in a third group will not be allowed to join the co-operative for the time being, the question will be taken up late t and settled on an individual basis. None of the landlords or rich peasants admitted to the co-operative are to be appointed to posts in it. As for educated young people from landlord or rich peasant families who have been through some testing, can't they be given such jobs at literacy teachers in the villages? In places where there are very few other intellectuals, there is a need to have them serve as literacy teachers under the leadership and supervision of the Party branch and the co-operative management committee. At present, there are still a fair number of such educated young people among the primary school teachers. These young people from landlord or rich peasant families are only seventeen or eighteen years old and have just finished primary or junior middle school, and I think it unnecessarily strict not to let them serve even as literacy teachers. We can enlist them in teaching the peasants to read and write, in wiping out illiteracy. Please consider whether this is feasible. However, assigning them to such work as bookkeeping would be rather risky.

Fourth, as regards the conditions for establishing co-operatives of the advanced type and how many to establish, I shan't say anything today but ask you comrades to study these conditions and then we'll discuss the matter next year. Different localities can act according to the existing conditions. In short, such co-operatives can be set up where the conditions are ripe and not otherwise, and you may start with only a few and later increase their number step by step.

Fifth, as to the time for establishing co-operatives, perhaps you can consider whether it must be concentrated in winter and spring each year and whether a number can also be set up in summer or autumn, as is actually being done in some places already. But it must be pointed out that there has to be an interval for rest and consolidation between two waves and that after a batch of co-operatives has been set up, there should be check-ups and consolidation before more are established. It is like fighting battles, there' should be rest and consolidation between two battles. It is entirely wrong to do without, leave no interval and allow no breathing space. There was once the view in the army that rest and consolidation were dispensable, that a respite was unnecessary and that what was necessary was to march on and fight all the time, which, as a matter of fact, is impossible. Men must sleep. If the meeting we are holding today should not adjourn but go on and on indefinitely, everybody would be against this, including me. Men need a long rest and consolidation every day -- seven or eight, or at least five or six, hours of sleep, not counting the shorter rests during the day. To say that the establishment of co-operatives, a matter of such major importance, can dispense with rest and consolidation is most naive.

Sixth, "Run co-operatives with diligence and thrift" is a very good slogan. It has been put forward by people at the grass-roots level. It is necessary to practice strict economy and combat waste. A vigorous campaign against waste is now under way in the cities and also in the villages. We must encourage diligence and thrift in running the household, running the co-operative and building the country. Our nation must be first diligent and second thrifty; we must not be lazy and extravagant. Laziness leads to decay, that is not good. To run co-operatives with diligence and thrift it is necessary to raise labour productivity, practice strict economy, reduce costs of production, institute economic accounting and combat extravagance and waste. All co-operatives must raise labour productivity and reduce costs of production. As for economic accounting, it is to be taken up gradually. As the co-operatives grow in size, they cannot manage without economic accounting; they must learn to do it step by step.

Seventh, it is a shortcoming of this session that no one has spoken on the subject of state farms. I hope the Rural Work Department of the Central Committee as well as the Ministry of Agriculture will study this question. In future the proportion of state farms will grow year by year.

Eighth, we must go on opposing Han chauvinism. It is one kind of bourgeois ideology. The Han people are so numerous, they are liable to look down on the minority nationalities and not to help them wholeheartedly, so we must relentlessly fight Han chauvinism. Naturally, narrow nationalism may arise among the minority nationalities, that also is to be opposed. But of the two the chief one, the one to be opposed first, is Han chauvinism. So long as the comrades of Han nationality take the correct attitude and treat the minority nationalities with real fairness, so long as the nationality policy they follow and the stand they take on the question of nationality relations are entirely Marxist and do not reflect bourgeois viewpoints, that is to say, so long as they are free from Han chauvinism, it is comparatively easy to overcome narrow nationalist views among the minority nationalities. At present, there is still a good deal of Han chauvinism, for example, monopolizing the affairs of the minority nationalities, showing no respect for their customs and folk-ways, being self-righteous, looking down on them and saying how backward they are. At the National Conference of our Party last March, I said that China could not do without its minority nationalities. There are scores of nationalities in China. The regions inhabited by the minority nationalities are more extensive in area than those inhabited by the Han nationality and abound in material wealth of all kinds. Our national economy cannot do without the economy of the minority nationalities.

Ninth, as for the campaign to wipe out illiteracy, I think we had better get it going. In some places, this campaign has itself been wiped out. This is not good. It is illiteracy and not the campaign that should be wiped out in the course of co-operative transformation, that is, we should wipe out illiteracy and not the campaign to wipe it out.

Tenth, some people ask, what is meant by "Left" and Right deviations? As we have said on previous occasions, everything moves in space and time. Here I'll chiefly deal with the question of time. If the observation you make of the movement of things does not agree with reality, it is a "Left" deviation if your judgment is premature, and it is a Right deviation if your judgment lags behind. Take the co-operative movement for example. Although the conditions are already ripe, such as the masses' enthusiasm, the widespread presence of mutual-aid teams and the leadership of the Party, some comrades still deny this. When it is already possible (not several years ago, but right now) for the co-operative movement to develop in a big way, they still say it is impossible. All this is a Right deviation. On the other hand, it is a "Left" deviation if it is demanded that 80 per cent of the whole nation should go co-operative in a very short time, when such conditions as the level of political consciousness of the peasants and the leadership of the Party are not yet ripe. As the old Chinese sayings go, "When a melon is ripe, it falls off its stem," and "When water flows, a channel is formed." We should act in accordance with specific conditions and achieve our aims naturally instead of forcing the their attainment. Take childbirth for instance. It requires nine months. If, in the seventh month, the doctor should exert pressure and force the child out, that would not be good, that would be a "Left" deviation. If, on the other hand, the unborn child is already nine months old and very much wants to come out and yet you don't allow it, that would be a Right deviation. In short, everything moves in time. When the right time comes for something to be done, it has to be done. If you don't allow it, that is a Right deviation. If the right time has not come for something and yet you try to force it through, that is a "Left" deviation.

Eleventh, some people ask, isn't it possible that "Left" deviationist mistakes will occur? Our reply is that it is entirely possible. If the leadership in a given locality, whether a township Party branch or a district, county, prefectural or provincial Party committee, does not take note of the level of political consciousness of the masses and the development of the mutual-aid teams, and if instead of drawing up plans, exercising control and establishing co-operatives by stages and in batches, it only seeks quantity and does not care for quality, serious "Left" deviationist mistakes are bound to appear. When there is an upsurge of enthusiasm among the masses, when everyone asks to join the co-operative, it is imperative to envisage all kinds of difficulties and every unfavourable condition conceivable, openly make them known to the masses and let the masses consider the matter fully. If they are not afraid, they can join up; if they are afraid, they don't have to. Of course, we must not frighten people away. I suppose I won't scare you away today, for we have been in session for so many days. It is necessary to cool people's heads at the right moment so that they won't become hot-headed.

We are opposed to boundless anxiety and countless taboos and regulations. Does this mean that we should have no anxiety at all? Not a single taboo? Not a single regulation? Of course that is not the case. Who is there who does not have anxiety, the necessary anxiety, the warranted anxiety? And we should have the necessary taboos and regulations too. Without a few taboos, without a few regulations, how can we carry on? It is absolutely right to have the necessary anxiety, taboos and regulations, and the necessary pauses, intermissions, putting on of brakes and cut-offs.

Here is one method: when people are on the point of becoming conceited, when they are about to get cocky, they should be assigned a new task (for instance, we have now proposed a competition in quality and next year when you come here, the results will be compared; by then the question of quantity will have become secondary) so that they won't have a chance to become conceited, as they won't have the time. We have tried this method before. When an army unit won a battle and some comrades started talking about it with gusto to people around them and got too cocky, you set them a new task--to fight another battle. No sooner was a new task set than they had to start considering the problems it entailed and make preparations, so that they stopped being cocky and had no time for conceit.

Twelfth, some comrades have suggested that the county level might perhaps be given the right to a margin of manoeuvre of 10 per cent. Take the establishment of co-operatives, their number might be either 10 per cent less or 10 per cent more. I think this suggestion can be adopted, it is a good one, so don't make things too rigid. Please give the matter further thought.

Thirteenth, aren't there people who want to reverse our decisions There are quite a number. They think the co-operatives will come to nothing and what we are doing will be entirely reversed, and they say we are not Marxists, but opportunists. But, in my view, as the general trend indicates, this decision is irreversible.

Fourteenth, some people ask, what will be the trend in the future? It will be the basic accomplishment of socialist industrialization as well as of the socialist transformation of agriculture, handicrafts and capitalist industry and commerce within a period of about three five-year plans. So far as I can see, that will be the trend. Besides, it may be added, as I indicated at the last National Conference of our Party, that in about fifty to seventy-five years, that is, within a period of ten to fifteen five-year plans, we shall be able to make China a powerful socialist country.

During this period of fifty to seventy-five years, many serious and complicated conflicts and struggles will certainly take place abroad, at home and inside the Party, and we are bound to meet with a lot of difficulties. In our own experience, we have lived through I don't know how many conflicts, armed and peaceful, with bloodshed and without, so how can you guarantee that there will be none in future? There will certainly be conflicts, and not a few, but a lot. Among them there will be the outbreak of a world war, the dropping of atom bombs on our heads, and the appearance of Berias, Kao Kangs, Chang Kuo-taos and Chen Tu-hsius. Many things cannot be foreseen now. But, as we Marxists see it, it is definite that all difficulties can be overcome and that a powerful socialist China will emerge. Is that certain? I think it is. According to Marxism it is. The bourgeoisie has prepared a grave-digger for itself. Its grave is ready. How can it not die? Speaking of trends, this is roughly the trend.

Fifteenth, you have made many suggestions for the revision of the two documents--the resolution and the regulations. That is very good. We'll have your suggestions collected for consideration. After its adoption today, the resolution will be revised and published in a few days by the Political Bureau. The regulations will take a longer time. The democratic personages will have to be consulted and the legislative procedure will have to be followed. Or, like the Draft Bill, the regulations may first be submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for discussion and then sent to the State Council for publication in order to get opinions. Tentatively and for a period of time, localities may act in accordance with the regulations until they are submitted to the National People's Congress for adoption next year.

Finally, in passing I would ask you to pay attention to writing. I hope all present will become "teachers of composition". Your articles are well written, except, perhaps, for a few shortcomings. You should take care to help other people improve their style of writing. Now, of the articles written by many comrades, some are long-winded and devoid of substance, but these are relatively few; the chief defects are an overuse of classical Chinese and too strong a flavour of the semi-literary, semi-vernacular style. In writing articles one must pay attention to logic. That is to say, one must pay attention to the structure of an article or speech as a whole, and there must be some sort of relation between the beginning, the middle and the end, a sort of inner relationship, and the three must not be at variance with one another. One must also observe the rules of grammar. Many comrades tend to omit the subject or the object of a sentence when it should not be omitted, or use adverbs as verbs or even leave out verbs. All this is ungrammatical. Attention must also be paid to rhetoric, to how to write more vividly. In short, to be logical, to be grammatical and to have a better command of rhetoric--these are the three points I would like you to bear in mind when you write.


1. V. I. Lenin, "The Tax in Kind".

2. This refers to the compilation of How to Run Agricultural Producers' Co-operatives by Comrade Mao Tsetung, who undertook it after reading the reports on agricultural co-operation sent in by various localities. See "Prefaces to Socialist Upsurge in China's Countryside" below.

3. In the classical Chinese novel Water Margin, Wang Lun (nicknamed "the scholar-in-white") becomes head of the peasant rebels when they seize Liangshan Mountain, and he wants to remain head. When Lin Chung, chief instructor to the capital garrison, is forced to rebel against the authorities and seeks shelter on Liangshan Mountain, Wang Lun first tries to turn him away and then makes things hard for him. Later, he refuses to allow Chao Kai, a rebel peasant leader, and his followers to loin forces with the Liangshan Mountain rebels. In the end Wang Lun is killed by Lin Chung.

4. V. I. Lenin, op. cit.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung