Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


August 31, 1933

[ Taken from Hung-ch’i Chou-Pao (Red Flag Weekly), No. 59, August 31, 1933. ]

All the past experiences prove that only through the correct solution of the land question, only through the resolute class slogan under which the flame of class struggle in the countryside is whipped up to the highest degree, can we spur the broad peasant masses to participate under the leadership of the proletariat in the revolutionary war, in the construction of the Soviet Areas in the various spheres, and in the building of a firm revolutionary base to further strengthen the soviet movement and score greater progress and victory. 

According to the experience in developing the land revolution, the growth of class struggle in the countryside calls for three general stages to follow, namely, 1) the stage of land confiscation and distribution, 2) the stage of land investigation, 3) the stage of land construction . Based on the three stages of development in the land struggle, there exist generally three types of regions regardless of any soviet area, namely, 1) the region where the struggle has deepened, 2) the region where the struggle has relatively fallen behind, 3 ) the region where the struggle is newly developing.

In the newly developing region, the development of land struggle is still at the stage of land confiscation and distribution. The central question at this stage is to overturn by armed power the political power of the landlord class, to establish a revolutionary provisional political power (the Revolutionary Committee), to build a local armed force of the workers and peasants as well as revolutionary mass organizations, to confiscate the land and property belonging to the landlord class plus the land of rich peasants to be divided among the hired hands, poor peasants, middle peasants, to give the rich peasants the poor land, to nullify debts and to burn land titles and IOUs. Involved in the struggle at this stage is the whole range of struggle in which the revolution commences battle with the counter-revolution by the revolution and implementing the disposition of their land and property.

In the region where the struggle has deepened, a firm soviet political power has been established and local armed forces and revolutionary mass organizations have developed extensively; the feudal forces of landlords and rich peasants have been completely defeated and the land has been thoroughly distributed. The struggle of the peasant masses over the land question has advanced to the stage of improving the soil and developing soil productivity. Therefore, the central question here is one of land construction.

In the region where the struggle has fallen behind, its stage of development is between the two stages mentioned above. It has moved into the period of a formal political power from that of a provisional political power but it has not yet reached the period completely consolidating the political power. Here the open counter-revolutionary struggle of the landlords and rich peasants have been defeated by the revolutionary masses in the first period. From that time on, many of these elements would turn about, take off their counter-revolutionary mask and put on the revolutionary mask. They too approve the revolution and the land redistribution as well, and call themselves poor peasants and demand that the land be distributed to them accordingly. They act actively by virtue of their historical advantage in that "come to think of talking, they can talk; come to think of writing, they can write." Therefore, during the first period they have taken advantage of the opportunity to snatch away the fruit of land revolution. Facts in many places proved that they are dominating the provisional political power by sneaking into the local armed forces and manipulating the revolutionary organizations to get more and better land than what the poor peasants have obtained. Having moved into the second, some of those sham revolutionary elements have been washed out because of the pressure of the upper-level government as well as the advancement of mass struggle, and because the Revolutionary Committee has been reconstructed into the soviet, and the mass organizations and local armed forces have undergone the preliminary reform and further growth. In many places the land has been divided twice, even three or four times, and the land stolen by the landlords and rich peasants has been in par liquidated. However, there are still many class heretics hidden among the soviet mass organizations and local armed forces. There they "carry Red ribbons to be called comrades," there they fabricate rumors and hold secret meetings, there they accuse the masses of "left opportunism," of "random beating of local bullies," and of "public revenge for private animosity." Or they "speak articulately at a meeting but carry out none after the meeting." When the struggle becomes violent, they organize secret counter-revolutionary organizations like the KMT, the Social Democratic Party, the A-B Corps, and a New Communist Party, as well as all kinds of things, to subvert the revolution and try to murder revolutionary activities. In short, the landlord and rich peasant classes suppress the mass struggle through various methods and attempt to preserve their rights to political power, land and property and perpetuate their remaining feudal forces. In these regions serious struggles are being waged between the revolutionary masses and the landlords and rich peasants. The struggle here, however, is not like the open struggle between the Red banner during the first period but a struggle between the revolutionary peasant masses and the masked landlords and rich peasants elements. The struggle of this kind has its special difficulty, that is, the peasant masses cannot as nearly clearly recognize at a first glance hidden counter-revolutionary as the open counter-revolutionary. In addition, in view of the various deep-rooted feudal relations like the clannish ones, it is not an easy matter for the peasants to attain the degree of class consciousness, so that they can generally recognize that the feudal remnants should be stamped out eventually. This means that the Communist Party and the soviet government must certainly be patient in explaining to the peasants, they must engage in many trying tasks, and that they must have the correct class line and the [correct] method of the mass work. The central question here is the question of land investigation and class investigation. Unless this question is solved, revolutionary activeness of the peasant masses cannot be developed to the fullest, feudal remnant forces cannot be completely smashed; nor the soviet can [carry on] the important tasks as to attain the maximum degree of consolidation and expansion of the Red Army, to expand the local armed forces and implement land construction as well as economic construction, and to develop culture and education. [Otherwise], in no way can all this gain its maximum success. Therefore land investigation campaign is the most central and most important task in these regions.

Speaking of the Central Soviet Area [i.e. Kiangsi Soviet], most part of the Area constitute the regions where the struggle of this kind has relatively fallen behind, such as the thirteen whole counties, Huich’ang, Hsianwu, Anyuan, Hsianfeng, Loan, Yuhuang, Kwangch’ang, Shihch’eng, Chienning, Lich’uan. Ninghua, Ch’angting and Wup’ing, most of the counties like Juichin. Yutu, Posheng, Shengli. And Yungfeng, portions of the counties like Kunglueh, Want’ai, Kanhsien, Shanghang, Yungting, and Hsinch’uan and even the county Hsiangkuo, too has two districts Chunch’un and Huangt’ang.

All these represent the regions where the land question has not yet been thoroughly resolved.

The peasant masses of these regions have not yet been spurred broadly; the feudal forces have not yet been beaten decisively, and in the soviets, in the mass organizations, and in the local armed forces, there are still numerous class heretics who are surreptitiously active; there are still numerous counter-revolutionary secret organizations which are secretly engaging in the subversion of the revolution. For this reason, war mobilization and economic and cultural construction all have fallen far behind the advanced areas (nearly the entire county of Hsiangkuo, section of the counties Shengli, Kanhsien, Wangt’ai, Kunglueh, Yungfeng, and Shanghang, Huangp’o District of Posheng, Wuyang District of Juichin, Hsianp’o District of Yutu, Hsinan District of Yungting, and etc.). These regions occupy nearly eighty percent of the Central [Soviet] Area in acreage and contain more than two million people. In this vast area to carry out an all-round deepening land investigation campaign, to kindle to the maximum degree the flame of class struggle among the masses of two million people and more, to wage a final war against the feudal forces to destroy them once and for all, are the tasks that the Communist Party and the Soviet Government cannot afford to relax for a moment.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung