Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung
August 29, 1933
[This is a translation from. the document in Tou-cheng (Struggle), No. 24, August 29, 1933.]
Under the call of the party and the Central [Soviet] Government the land investigation campaign has been unleashed widely. If we assume that the land investigation campaign in the past was merely in the initial stage, then the land investigation of eight counties during June has achieved more than what has been accomplished over the half year since winter. Generally speaking, in the eight counties that have held meetings, the land investigation campaign has advanced to a new phase having become a broad mass movement. Achievement in two counties, Juichin and Posheng are the greatest, and they have searched out two thousand and several hundred households of landlords and rich peasants, while the counties, Shengli, Yutu, Which'ang, Tingtung, Changting, Shihch'eng and Nighua, all have achieved initial results. In all the districts and hsiang that have achieved results in the land investigation a broad mass struggle has been unleashed. Many stalemate situations which prevailed in the past in the soviet work and in the party work have now become active. Many undesirable elements in the Soviets have been washed out, and the counter-revolutionary elements who were hidden in the countryside have been dealt with severe punishments. In a word, the feudal remnant forces have suffered disastrous defeat before the broad masses. On this basis various activities are ever more unfolded. In the regions where some results were achieved in the land investigation, the expansion of the Red Army and local armed forces, the promotion of economic construction bonds, and the growth of cooperatives, as well as the programs of culture building like clubs, evening classed, and primary schools, all have gained extremely great achievements and all the work is being carried through ever more smoothly. Based on the activeness of the masses, large numbers of activists have joined the party on their own, and are drawn into the soviets work. The best example is Jentien District of Juichin. With the assistance of the Central Government Work Corps the land investigation campaign in Jentien has spurred the masses of the entire district who have in fifty-five days, thoroughly stamped out the feudal remnants, searched out some three hundred landlord and rich peasant families, twelve counter-revolutionaries, for execution and suppressed counter-revolutionary activities; they have arrested among the soviet war personnel, the class heretics who have sneaked into the [district] soviet. The entire district has searched out a land of 22,000 mou (mou - 0.0614 ha) and some 20,000 toiling masses in the district have each acquired in average an additional land of one mou and two mou and were distributed countless belongings of the haoshen and landlords. Relying on the unprecedented height of mass activism, they have expanded the Red Army [detachments] in fifty-five days by some 700 people, who have joined the Juichin Model Division, without a single person deserting. They have saved grains, to sell to the Red Army, which amounted to some 1900 tan. No other district of the whole county can match it. At the instance of various hsiang the entire district assumed the promotional sale of economic construction bonds worth 40,000 yuan. Landlord fines and rich peasant taxes which were collected totalled 7,500 yuan and those that can be continually raised will be 10,000 yuan. Cooperatives have grown rapidly and the institutions of culture and education such as clubs, study classes, evening classes also have increased. The number of party members has expanded and the leadership of the party has been strengthened. The labour union work, too, has moved forward. The entire district has transformed, to breath a fresh spirit. From one of the backward district of Juichin, it has altered its status in fifty-five days and became a first rate district comparable to Wuyang. We now want to ask: Why has Jentien District achieved such a great result? That we should point out: because of their understanding of the import of the task of land investigation and because of their formula of mobilization, their class line and their mass work, which have been resolutely carried out according to the correct directives of the Central Bureau [of the Soviet Areas ] and the Central Government, they have performed a genuine Bolshevik work. In the way of appreciating the task, they were aware that the land investigation campaign and the revolutionary war are closely linked together. Hence, they have carried through this task in earnest, firmly grasped the leadership of the land investigation campaign, and developed the local work systematically. In the way of the mobilization formula, they firmly grasped -the work of the most and relatively backward seven hsiang among the eleven hsiang of the entire district. In these seven hsiang Soviets they mobilized the labour unions, poor peasant corps and other mass organizations through which they went out to mobilize the broad masses. In the way of the class line they resolutely executed the tactic of relying on the hired hands and poor peasant in alliance with the middle peasants, thus broadly developing the poor peasant corps. They explained that land investigation is not land distribution and that class examination is not to examine the class of the middle and poor peasants and hired hands. The work of "class talk" has been done very sufficiently. When the landlords and rich peasants of Wofeng hsiang intimidated the middle peasants and drove a section of them into panic, our comrades paid a visit to several middle peasants and talked to them individually. After they had relayed [the talk] to other middle peasants, the middle peasants of Wofeng hsiang began to quiet down immediately. Actively supported by the land investigation policy of the [hsiang] Soviet they [the middle peasants] have moved into a joint attack on the landlords and rich peasants, from whom they have endured extortions previously, along with the poor peasants and hired hands. Comrades in Jent'ien District have once incorrectly classified the status of several peasant families but they have promptly corrected the mistake. As for directing the mass work, they first of all conducted widespread propaganda. What they held was not a district-wide or hsiang-wide meeting but a village or residence meeting. Thus they got access to the broader masses for whom they have repeatedly conducted propaganda and agitation. Therefore, the masses of the entire district have come to understand clearly that the landlord investigation and class examination are their own responsibility and that they are for their own interests. They then went on to investigate class status, they spurred many people to go out to investigate, gathering data in detail on each status was decided first through the analysis of the land investigation committee, which was then referred to the poor peasant corps for discussion and confirmation. It was further sent to the District Soviet for approval. Again, it was sent back to the concerned village to hold a meeting for further explanation and approval by a show of hands, and then the confiscation was executed. In distributing the property as well as the land, all the working personnel understood that they ought to be exemplary, not to take things but to distribute them entirely among the masses, allocation more to the village directly involved in the confiscation, and less to other villages. Thus they obtained complete satisfaction from the masses. The land was also promptly distributed. While the land elsewhere was distributed only after a prolonged delay, there was no such a phenomenon in Jentien District. Hence, it promptly spurred the masses. Their method of first breaking into large and backward villages, was also correct. They had no fear of these large villages, nor did they employ barbarous methods to deal with them. What they did with regard to the large villages was to concentrate fire power on them, making more and more propaganda beginning with local activists, to unit and educate them, and through them they reached out to other masses. With great patience they went on to carry through the village, the work of this nature. In appearance it looked tedious but in practice it was fast. In a period of fifty-five days they have spurred without exception all the large backward villages of Jentien District and in a very short time stamped out backwardness of these villages. They could not break into a village of Pokang hsiang. There were previously two "big tigers" who were restive all the time. They took a different method. First they captured these two rascals and convicted them in circuit court held in the locality. With the masses enthusiastic support they were executed by a firing squad. Thereupon the mass struggle became intensive like a violent fire. They held ten mass tribunals and three circuit courts. All these followed the extremely broad mass line with many residents of the hsiang attending and other hsiang sending representatives from each village - a small hsiang sending a score of people or so, a large hsiang forty to fifty people. Therefore, every public trial and the result of a tribunal were all at once relayed to the hsiang and all villages of the entire district. It enabled them not only to punish or execute individuals who deserved it, but also to think immediately that the same dealing will have to be accorded to similar evil doers in their own locality. The land investigation campaign in Jentien District can truly be regarded as a model for all the Soviet Areas! The work in Chiupao District of Juichin has achieved an extremely great result. They first firmly grasped three hsiang to work on. They called members of the land investigation committee of each hsiang to attend a three-day training session in the District Soviet, where the mobilization formula, the class line, and the method of winning the masses were clearly discussed. They initiated a measure for the problem of confiscation and distribution. Their measure has been that, in confiscation a landlord household, they called upon the masses of the village and the household to go together to a mass meeting where a confiscation and distribution committee was selected. Under the surveillance of the masses they proceeded to the confiscation, piling up the confiscated items on the terrace. Again with the masses consent, they immediately distributed them to the masses who deserved. Edible items also called for disposal, that is, letting the people have a hearty eating together, slaughtering hogs and cooking rice. This measure in Chiupao District has scored the maximum effectiveness. Since their confiscation and distribution committee was not a standing organization but a provisional one, it has greatly enhanced intimate relations with the masses (with regard to the confiscation and distribution of land, it was still assumed by the regular land committee). It did not require all the items to be carried to the hsiang soviet nor did it have to concentrate on a certain number of households only before taking up the distribution in others. It has thus avoided the shortcoming of being procrastinated and things being stolen away in the meanwhile. Like the class line and the work method in Chiupao District they were also generally correct. Therefore, they could spur the broad masses to commence the class examination on their own. They have carried it through in such a way that not a single landlord or rich peasant came to the hsiang Soviet or District Soviet to dispute his status; it was completely different from the land investigation of the past. In the past there were after all many landlords and rich peasants who had been classified, came to the Soviet for nuisance, arguing that they had been incorrectly classified. Not only the persons themselves but also even a hsiang representative and the man in charge of the poor peasant corps came on their behalf of testify. This time, naturally, not only did they make no nuisance, but they could not do so even if they wanted to. Not a single person of the clans and relatives came to their assistance. There was no possibility for them to make fuss as their power was shorn off. This even proves that Chiupao District has been extremely thorough in spurring the masses. Otherwise, it was impossible to carry it through to this extent.
All these glorious exemplary instances (the instances of this type are still many elsewhere) have given a Bolshevik reply to the call of the party and the Central Government and have proven the absolute correctness of the directives of the Central Bureau and the Central Government. Whenever these directives were completely carried through, great victory was at once won. Whoever betrayed or ignored these directives, however, he committed mistakes in his work, achieved little or no result. Let me prove it again with facts.
In the combat task of the land investigation campaign, after the Central Bureau issued the resolution on the land investigation, after the Central Government decreed the land investigation, and after the Eight-County Conference on Land Investigation was convened, the land investigation campaign in various counties has not spread to all the places. For instance, the result of the land investigation in the entire province of Fukien was comparable only to that of one county alone i.e. Posheng. The result even in each of the counties Shengli, Yutu, Huichang, and Shihch'eng was comparable only to that of one or two best districts of Juichin [County]. Many land investigation committees in various districts, as well as a few counties, have not firmly grasped the work of a [district-wide or] county-wide land investigation (Huich'ang, Yutu, Shihcheng, and Ninghua). In many districts and hsiang land investigation committees, district and hsiang[soviet] chairmen did not assume leadership on the plea of being preoccupied elsewhere and left the land investigation unattended. As for the Party's leadership in the land investigation, in places where achievements were made in land investigation it has been clearly demonstrated that the party's leadership role has been resolute. The majority of the rank and file of the party has engaged in numerous combat programs with Bolshevik bravery under the leadership of the branch and district committees. In places where little or no achievement was made, however, it has been demonstrated that the party organs have ignored the land investigation campaign. For instance, after the Central Bureau's resolution on the land investigation was issued, the Huichang County Committee has not even once discussed the land investigation work for nearly two months. Not until the end of July did it hold a meeting to discuss the land investigation. The Hsiahsiao District Committee of Juichin [County] has entirely left the land investigation campaign unattended over a period of time. Ward committees of Juichin City, though held a meeting once, did not push forward the suburban branches to head the leadership of land investigation, while each branch did not hold any meeting on the land investigation campaign. At other places like Yutu, Shengli, Shihcheng, and Ninghua, the county committees and many district committees have not likewise exerted real efforts at paying attention to the land investigation work. The party and the Central Government stated that : "The land investigation campaign has become a struggle to spur the masses and deeply penetrate the rural classes and a powerful method to thoroughly resolve the land question and purge the feudal and semi-feudal [forces]" (the Central Bureaus Resolution); that "the land investigation campaign is the task, which the soviets in various places cannot allow to relax for a moment" (the Central Government's Decree ); and that "the land investigation campaign is a most Principal link' of the present work" (Conclusion of the Eight-County Conference). Nevertheless many of our comrades stated that they.... "were very busy and have no time to attend to the land investigation campaign." The Party Resolution stated: "To handle the land investigation campaign with a perfunctory attitude of bureaucratism and formalism is most harmful." Notwithstanding, these comrades handled the land investigation campaign with the style of bureaucratism.
In places where the land investigation campaign has been unleashed, there are yet many individual but serious mistakes. That is to say, in these local Party organs and soviets there appeared frequently some individual comrades who have manifested their opportunistic vacillations in the land investigation campaign which is a violent class struggle. Mainly, when the land investigation campaign was undergoing violent development they could not forsake clannish and parochial relations and covered up the landlords and rich peasants of the same clan and the same village, or they made an incorrect analysis of class status by classifying a landlord as a rich peasant and a rich peasant, a middle peasant Some comrades working in the tribunal department have accepted, out of their extreme inadvertence, slanderous charges against those who were active in the land investigation, made by the landlords and rich peasants in the false name of the masses. On the other hand, we had some comrades in the security bureau as well as the tribunal department who could not keep up with the masses in pushing forward the struggle for class examination and in suppressing the counterrevolutionaries vigorously. Even when the masses made a request for arrest and execution by a firing squad of the landlords and rich peasants who had resisted the land investigation, some of them did not honor their request. For instance, the tribunal department of Juichin made many mistakes like this.
The tendency of "left" opportunism occurred again in very many places during the land investigation of July. What should be pointed out emphatically here is the tendency to encroach upon the middle peasants, though it was clearly stated in the Central Bureau's Resolution that: "Special attention must be focused on the alliance with the middle peasants who will be the broadest basic masses in rural soviets after the revolution. All our treatments and policies must win their approval and support. Every decision of the poor peasant corps and the soviet must have the support of the middle peasantry, secured through a village or residence meeting. All the voices of the middle peasant masses must be heard with care, and any attempt to encroach upon the interests of the middle peasantry must be severely dealt with". In the summary of the Eight-County Conference it was pointed out that: "The aim of the land investigation is to examine classes and not to redistribute the land", "alliance with the middle peasantry should start with non-encroachment of the interests of the middle peasants", "in the beginning of the land investigation we should make widespread propaganda to the effect that the soviet policy is to ally with the middle peasantry, not to encroach upon them. In the process of land investigation we should carefully determine the uncertain elements between the middle peasants and the rich peasants as not to misplace them." But these directives were not heeded by comrades in many places. The land investigation in the confines of Juichin, once under way, has proceeded to examine the middle peasants, house by house and mou by mou so much so that it drove them to panic. In the end they rushed to the soviet to ask for reclassification of their status into poor peasants. They argued that: "To be a middle peasant is very dangerous, for one would become a rich peasant if stretched. Change to a poor peasant, for it is a bit far way from becoming a rich peasant." Does not such a despairing voice merit our attention? Comrades in Yangku hsiang of Huangpo District have told the masses: "Class examination is not for examining others, but only to examine the middle and rich peasant and landlord classes". Comrades in T'aching District have investigated so exhaustively by putting up markings, that it has caused the same panic among the middle peasants. In the Conclusion of the Eight-County Conference it was already stated that such an idea as to assume that the land investigation is one of putting up markings is not correct." However, these comrades did not pay heed to it at all. This method of such an exhaustive investigation by markings has appeared in every county. this is an extraordinarily serious situation. They have mixed up the land investigation for the land distribution. But if this method is to be employed in the land investigations campaign it would confound the objective of the struggle in the villages. In the past we pointed out that: " Land investigation and land distribution must be strictly distinguished. Such a distinction is to be made not only for consolidating the land ownership of peasants so as not to cause panic out of the ill-defined land distribution, but also for victory in the struggle for class Examination. We must concentrate all our energy, particularly in alliance with the middle peasants, to cope with the resistance of the landlords and rich peasants. In such an event we should not allow any dispute to take place within the ranks of peasants themselves" (Conclusion of the Eight-County Conference). Such a tactic is a most important part of the whole strategy in our leadership of the struggle of land investigation. Nevertheless it was what many comrades had still neglected. Such a negligence cannot be tolerated again, even for a moment. Those who have been admonished but still deliberately continue these mistakes, must be meted out with severe punishments by the higher soviet of the locality. We need to wage thorough struggle within the party and youth league against the idea and action of any party or youth league members who encroach upon the interests of the middle peasants and violate the strategy of alliance with the middle peasants. In places where mistakes are already committed by confiscating, for example, the property and land of the middle peasant, the soviet personnel should publicly admit their mistakes to the middle peasants in the locality and should redeem them forthwith. That Hsiangkuo County reinstituted many lands of the middle peasants last year, thus to win their satisfaction, is a very valuable lesson.
"Poor peasant masses are the pillars of the party and the proletariat in the countryside and are the resolute supporters of a thoroughgoing execution of the land revolution" "To rely on the poor peasants" is one of our important policies in the land investigation and in all the struggles for land, the poor peasant corps is the organization that plays an extremely important role [here]. The Eight-County Poor Peasant Corps Representatives' Conference has already pointed out that the past tendency of closed doorism of the poor peasant corps was wrong, and that the system of introduction should be discarded, and that the door should be kept wide-open to the poor peasants and workers so that they, male and female, old and young, can all apply and join. In many places, however, the old method is still being followed and remains unchanged; without introduction one still cannot join the poor peasant corps. Worse still, when non-member poor peasant masses in T'aching District of Juichin had rushed to attend a poor peasant corps meeting, the man-in-charge of the corps simply refused to admit them. In Chuchajen District Of Posheng, the poor peasant corps did not admit even a single person during the month of July. In all the districts and hsiang where the land investigation has gained results, the poor peasant corps has developed broadly and in places where the land investigation has gained no or little result, the phenomenon there is that the poor peasant corps is in the state of closed doorism. Likewise, the great leadership role of the hired hands in the land investigation campaign was not appreciated by many comrades. The Party Resolution stated: "The masses of the hired hands, who are brothers of the urban proletariat in the countryside, are the vanguard of the land revolution. Hence, the working personnel in the soviets must maintain close contact with the [ rural] labour unions through which activism of the masses of the [ rural ] workers can be developed and organized in order to make them the vanguard of the land investigation campaign. " Our Comrades who have carried work according to this directive are still few in number. The principal method here is to have the rural workers join up the poor peasant corps and set up within it individual small groups of workers. Through these workers' small groups [hsio-tsu] we should go out to unite poor peasant activists, develop the poor peasant corps, and promote advancement of the land investigation campaign. The experience in Shanho hsiang of Huangpo District is valuable. When our comrades there twice failed to convene a poor peasant corps meeting, they held a joint meeting of the rank-and-file members of the agricultural labour union and the handicraft labour union and spurred a few dozen workers to arise actively so that they each bring a poor peasant to join the poor peasant corps. On the following day the poor peasant corps again convened a meeting to which all attended as anticipated, and thus unleashed the land investigation campaign. This experience in Shanho hsiang should be employed in all the villages. The high-level leadership organs of the labour unions here should provide the low-level labour unions with positive leadership so as to regard the task of land investigation as one of the important tasks of the unions.
Our entire strategy in the agrarian struggle is to depend on the poor peasants, to resolutely ally with the middle peasants, to enable the poor peasants to play the vanguard role, and to unite all the revolutionary forces in order to eliminate the landlord class and combat the rich peasants. Concerning the question of rich peasants the party has already correctly stated: "We must clearly distinguish the landlord from the rich peasant. In the unrelenting struggle to eliminate the landlord remnants we must under no circumstances allow any attempt to eliminate the rich peasantry. " During the land investigation of July, we have not yet found a theory openly advocating the elimination of the rich peasants but we found the phenomenon in many places in which a rich peasant element was treated as a landlord thereby confiscating all his family property. The origin of this mistake is due to the elimination of labour power of the rich peasant. When we stated that "those who possess no labour power or only incidental labour power and exploit rent for land are landlords," in some places those who employed a considerable number of labouring elements in production, which was [thus] considered a kind of " incidental labour power," were construed as landlords. In some places the rich peasants who concurrently practiced usurious exploitation were regarded as "usurers", such rich peasants were treated in accordance with the measures of "eliminating usurers." In some places, old accounts were settled by going back to some years prior to the [1925-271 Revolution; someone who had employed regular farmhand five to six years or even a dozen years or so before the Revolution were also regarded as rich peasants; or well-to-do middle peasants who had employed regular farmhand merely for one or two years and have since never done so were also thrown into the rich peasant category. Even more serious was the case in the past in a certain place of Hsiangkuo County. The method there differentiated the landlords from the rich peasants by the type and extent of exploitation. Those who practiced three kinds of exploitation were called landlords, two kinds rich peasants. For instance, if one has hired regular farmhand, collected rent, and also extended loans, he was in-short classified as a landlord regardless of how many people there were [then] in that family who could work. There was also the question of "reactionary rich peasants " which turned out to be considerable absurdity in many places. In Wuyang District there was a rich peasant family who was also a merchant having seven people to feed. In the past a member of the family who had joined the A-B Corps was killed two years ago. Because of this, comrades there, two years later, insisted that they must confiscate the entire [family] property. In many other places many a similar incident took place. Many of' the masses demanded punitive measures against those rich peasants who, prior to the Uprising, had taken part in, not very serious, counter-revolutionary activity, like participating in the type of "collecting thirty percent rent in grain"(as in Juichin), and have not since taken part in any counter-revolutionary activity over the post-Uprising years; and some of our comrades wanted, of necessity, to confiscate their property. Correctly speaking, our measure of dealing with the [ rich peasant ] elements of this type should be different in tactics in the consolidated region and in the non-consolidated region and in the non-consolidated border region. In the border region, unquestionably we employ a strict method of suppressing all the counter-revolutionary elements including the rich peasants; in the Central Area it should be determined according to situations. Those who have committed a serious counter-revolutionary action prior to the Uprising or those who are still engaged in counter-revolutionary activity should of course be subjected to resolute confiscation. Others should not be subjected to confiscation. Except the person in a certain family and the elements who are directly involved with him in counter-revolutionary activity, other people should not be subjected to confiscation. Such will be the correct treatment.
Many of our comrades in the department of the workers' and peasants' inspection do not understand that the duration of the land investigation campaign is the best opportunity to commence a thorough struggle, to combat bureaucratism, corruption and passive sabotage, and to drive class heretics out of the soviet [organs]. Our work on these elements has been extraordinarily inadequate. Many of our comrades in the department of the workers' and peasants' inspection have demonstrated, in the face of this violent class struggle, their passivism and vacillations, and their bureaucratism and formalism. In some extreme cases, for instance, the chief of the section of the workers' and peasants' inspection of the Municipal Soviet of Juichin and the chief of the tribunal section of the Municipal Soviet of Paopi committed an exceedingly serious crime of corruption [embezzlement of some 1,000 yuan of public funds). The chief of the section of the workers' and peasants' inspection of Tut'ou District neither criticized nor arrested the chairman of the District Soviet who has abandoned and neglected the land investigation campaign. In some places the prosecution drive of the department of workers' and peasants' inspection has again gone into another wrong direction by treating the question of love as decadent and the taking of things of landlords as corrupt. They proceeded to prosecute these elements even on public trial. In some places they dismissed those who committed trivial mistakes in their duties, and they did not initiate self-criticism systematically to commence a thorough struggle. They spared themselves with this arduous work and substituted a simplified punitism for it. Needless to say, those among the working personnel of the soviets who committed chronic and serious ,mistakes should be washed out resolutely, but to dismiss from duties those, whose mistakes did not reach this extent is an excess. As to the question of class heretics, it generally concerns only ones class origin, not one's work; only if one's background happens to be bad is he called a class heretic, and is dismissed regardless of how long a history of struggle he has behind him, regardless of how correctly he has carried on the policy of the party and soviet in the past and at present. True, we should resolutely wash out those class heretics and should without question wash out those whose class origin is bad and whose work is also bad (including the landlords, rich peasants, passive saboteurs and corrupt and decadent elements ) . But if those who are not in this category are to be purged, it is an excess.
If we understand the task and policy and yet if we do not possess the Bolshevik art of leading the mass struggle we still cannot commence the land investigation campaign. In the opening of this essay mention has been made of very many good examples of leading the struggle in the places like Jentien District and others but in many others places many mistakes were committed over this question. In some places we did now know how to use various methods to spur the struggle in the large backward villages where the landlords and rich peasants were concentrated. That is to say, if such a large village existed, we should first of all capture the most notoriously bad haoshen and landlords whom the masses called "big tigers." Only this way can we initiate the struggle in the locality. Nevertheless our comrades did not do this way. As regards the best method to spur the mass struggle through the utilization of the distribution of the confiscated items, they did not know how to use it in many places. In Watzu hsiang of T'aching District of Juichin they distributed things, worst of all, only to land investigation cadres and poor peasants corps members while issuing none to others. The reason was that if one was not active he does not deserve it. In some places the distribution of confiscated things was very slow. In some extreme cases even when a month or so has passed after confiscation, distribution to the masses was not done. The distribution of the confiscated land was even more slower. Comrades in quite a few places did not know how to mobilize various departments of the soviets and mass organizations; nor did they know how to mobilize the available party and youth league members to play the nucleus leadership role in the mass organizations, villages and residences. Unable to push forward the work they said there had been no way out here at the outset. In some places with the mass struggle for class examination already in full swing, many people came to report on the landlords and rich peasants and asked for examination and confiscation. At the time comrades could not immediately seize on the popular enthusiasm to lead the masses to further the struggle so as to carry the work of class examination into the villages. In some places, when the popular zeal in struggle, after a round of investigation, could not continue to surge upward and reached the state of stalemate, our comrades were unable to use various methods to invigorate the masses, to make the struggle continually surge upward leading right up to the stage of eliminating all the feudal remnants. In many places, when the mass zeal in struggle, after going through the land investigation campaign, had erupted, they did not know how to organize the zeal of this sort into other fronts. For instance, when the masses did secure things and land, they did not then at the mass meeting or at all other propitious opportunities incite the masses to enlist in the Red Army, purchase public bonds, to join cooperatives, to accelerate the harvest work and autumn cultivation, to set up clubs and study groups, and to develop evening and primary schools. They missed such a best opportunity, and only until the high-level [organ] pressed for these did they start all over again to wage propaganda and agitation. Such a leadership of tailism, following behind the poplar enthusiasm in struggle is the most harmful one to the revolutionary work.
In many other places, on the other hand, there occurred again the evil phenomenon of savagery by a few people. We have emphasized that, in combatting the apathy in winning a great majority of the masses and the work style of commandism, we only need to be persevering and enduring with the work of spurring and winning the masses. Only then can we gain the support of the great majority of the masses and reach the goal of eliminating the feudal remnants. Such a mass work is the only guarantee for executing the class line. The land investigation campaign should commence a broad propaganda in all the villages and residences, to expound to the masses the need of the land investigation campaign, explaining that the land investigation is not a land distribution, and that the class examination is not to examine the classes of middle and poor peasant and farmhand. Particularly important is to give a clear analysis as to what constitutes landlords, rich and middle peasants. Village and residence meetings should not be held only once. Especially, backward villages and residences should hold more than one meeting and should not let a single person of the revolutionary masses get away from listening to our propaganda. To reach this goal we should first explain clearly to all the active elements in the representative council of the hsiang soviet, labour unions, poor peasant corps, women workers' and peasants' associations, as well as other mass organizations, through whom we should wage propaganda to the broad masses. Class examination should be carried out not by a few people but by sparring many people. Passage of class status should be made not merely by the poor peasant corps, the hsiang soviet, and the district soviet, but by a mass meeting held in the village or residence of the confiscates to secure popular approval; only then can confiscation be carried out. In distributing assets, we should issue them to the people of the village or residence involved to win popular satisfaction. All this is to win a great majority of the masses. The working personnel of the party and soviet should not lose sight of the great majority of the masses on every occasion and in every work. The masses we should face up to is the great majority of the masses; the deepening of our work among the masses is to penetrate the masses in all the villages, large or small, and in all the cities and towns, large or small. We should strictly combat the mistaken method of closed doorism and commandism followed by a minority. Our comrades in many places, however, have never done [their work] this way. In Juichin [ County ], there are very many districts and hsiang where not one class discussion has been held with the masses (no analysis has been made as to what constitutes landlords, rich and middle peasants). In many places of Juichin and other counties it was discovered that they just set out to investigate [classes ] in every instance without going through propaganda so as to drive the landlords and rich peasants to fabricate rumors and cheat the middle peasants or say that there were very many landlords and rich peasants in the hsiang or state that there were a few hundred landlord families who were going to be investigated (Juichin). Furthermore, our comrades did not know clearly the method of conducting "class talk's" to break up this kind of rumor. Landlords in Kuangch'an said: "The land investigation is what the Central Government is going to make those who did not pay debt in the past, pay their debt to the Central Government". Yet our comrades did not go out immediately to break and expose such a devilish talk. In Several hsiang of Taching District they not only did not wage any propaganda, but the class examination was undertaken merely by a few people of :the land investigation committee. Passage of class [status] did neither go through the mass meeting nor through the poor peasant corps. They said: "The masses are unreliable and do not know how to analyze classes. To bring up class status at the mass meeting for passage is to cause dispute. It is all the more reliable to have it passed by the land investigation committee alone." This theory of the comrades in T'aching District can truly be a fantastic story in the whole world! In goodly many places landlords and their properties were confiscated not in the daytime but in the evening. The only reason was that they were afraid that the landlords would run way. In one place a mass meeting was held using the technique of holding an "all-district meeting but no more than a couple or hundred of people attended. Three people took turns to speak from the morning to the afternoon not letting the masses take intermissions, nor letting them drink water or eat. They said that they were afraid that the masses would run away. Such a barbarous method can also be a fantastic one of its kind.
Undoubtedly the land investigation campaign has been unleashed over vast areas. However. when this campaign is in progress, when we correctly estimate the achievement already gained and consolidate the foundation of growth of the campaign, we should yet realize with vigilance, obstacles to be encountered in the course of the campaign. Only through the unleashing of the fire power of the two-front struggle to clear away these obstacles, can we advance the land investigation campaign even more rapidly. To start the fight against the Rightist thought, to combat the underestimation of the grave significance of the land investigation campaign, to combat the compromise and the surrender to the landlords and rich peasants, and to combat the tailism in leadership of the mass struggle, are the responsibility of every Communist Party member. At the same time, attention of all the party members should be focused on the danger of encroaching on the middle peasants and a "severe blow should be dealt to any attempt to violate the interests of the middle peasants," for this is the sufficiently serious danger which has been manifested in the present work of land investigation. Incorrect ideas about the rich peasants, too, will undoubtedly affect the middle peasants. All barbarous acts of commandism are of the greatest harm to the alliance with the middle peasants. Only upon elimination of all obstacles in the course of the land investigation campaign by the fire power of the two-front struggle, the campaign will make great strides forward, and its thorough victory will be sufficiently assured.
Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung