Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung
June 8, 1957
[Inner-Party directive drafted for the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.]
Fifteen days or so will be sufficient for the free airing of views in organizations at the provincial and municipal level and in colleges and universities. The reactionary elements have been unbridled in their attacks. Among Party and League members the waverers have already deserted to them or are contemplating desertion. Among the vast numbers of Party and League members the activists and middle elements are rising to give battle. Using the big-character poster as a weapon, both sides are gaining experience and being tempered in the struggle. We needn't worry, for the reactionary elements number no more than a few per cent and the most frantic only I per cent. Don't be scared stiff just because the sky appears overcast for the time being. The reactionary elements will go out from their own organizations or colleges to carry on their activities in factories and other colleges, and precautions should be taken to keep them out. Call meetings of the principal cadres and veteran workers in the factories and explain to them that some bad capitalists, bad intellectuals and reactionary elements in society are mounting wild attacks against the working class and the Communist Party in an attempt to overthrow the state power led by the working class, and that they should make sure not to be taken in by these persons. Stop anyone trying to incite the people. Mobilize the masses to tear down reactionary posters on street walls. Factory workers should be clear about the over-all situation and must not stir up any trouble. During this time, they should not raise such matters as welfare and wages but should concert their actions against the reactionaries.
Please watch out for the wild attacks of the reactionary elements in the democratic parties. Get each of these parties to organize forums with the Left, middle and Right elements all taking part, let both positive and negative opinions be voiced, and send reporters to cover these discussions. We should tactfully encourage the Left and middle elements to speak out at the meetings and refute the Rightists. This is very effective. The Party paper in each locality should have dozens of articles ready and publish them from day to day when the high tide of the attacks begins to ebb there. Make a point of organizing the middle and Left elements to write for the press. But before the tide is on the ebb, Party papers should restrict the number of articles expressing positive views (they can publish articles written by the middle elements). Give the masses a free hand in refuting the Rightists' big-character posters. Organize forums at colleges and universities to let professors speak their minds about the Party, and as far as possible try to get the Rightists to spew out all their venom, which will be published in the newspapers. Let the professors make speeches and let the students respond freely. Better let the reactionary professors, lecturers, assistants and students spew out their venom and speak without any inhibitions. They are the best teachers. When the opportune moment arrives, lose no time in organizing separate meetings of Party and League members to sort out the criticisms; accept those criticisms that are constructive and correct mistakes and shortcomings, but refute those criticisms that are destructive. At the same time, organize some non-Party people to make speeches and state the correct views. Then, have a responsible Party cadre who enjoys prestige make a summing-up speech that is both analytical and convincing to effect a complete change in the atmosphere. If all goes well, a month or so will see the whole process through and we can then switch to the inner-Party rectification, which will proceed like "a gentle breeze and a mild rain".
This is a great political and ideological struggle. Only by waging it can our Party keep the initiative, temper our cadres, educate the masses, isolate the reactionaries and put them on the defensive. During the past seven years, we seemed to have the initiative, but this was at best only half true. The surrender of the reactionaries was a sham, and many of the middle elements submitted unwillingly. Now the situation has begun to change. Though outwardly on the defensive, we are actually gaining the initiative. The reason is that we are carrying out the rectification in all seriousness. The reactionaries who have lost their heads and run wild only appear to have the initiative, but they have gone too far and as a result are alienating the people and finding themselves on the defensive. As the situation varies from place to place you can be flexible in your tactics and dispositions.
In short, this is a big battle (with the battleground both inside and outside the Party). If we don't win this battle, it will be impossible to attain socialism and there may even be some danger of a "Hungarian incident". Now by launching the rectification of our own accord we have purposely invited a possible "Hungarian incident" and broken it down into many small "Hungarian incidents" staged in various organizations and colleges and dealt with individually. Besides, the Party and government have not been thrown into disarray except for a very small section (it is just fine that this small section has gone rotten, for this means that the pus has been squeezed out). All this is very beneficial. Since there were reactionaries in our society, since the middle elements had never received the lessons they are now getting and since the Party had never undergone such tests as the present one it was inevitable for disturbances to occur sooner or later.
Today, the situation at home is excellent, we have the workers, the peasants, the Party, the government, the army and the majority of students firmly with us. The international situation is excellent and the United States is in a difficult position.
Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung