Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung

Several Important Instructions

June 29, July 2, 1959

[SOURCE: Long Live Mao Zedong Thought, a Red Guard Publication.]

In view of last year’s lack of understanding by many leadership comrades and county and commune cadres regarding socialist economic problems and laws of economic development and also in view of the lingering pragmatism in current work, these people should study [these instructions] diligently. Members of central, provincial, municipal and local committees, including secretaries of county committees, should study books on political science and economics. Three books should be compiled by county and commune cadres. One is to deal with “good people and good events.” It is to be a collection of incidents of people who upheld truth, did not bend with the wind, did good work, did not make false reports, did not exaggerate and strove for the full effect in doing things during the Great Leap Forward last year. A second is to tell about “bad people and bad events.” It is to be a collection of incidents of people who told lies, violated law and discipline or committed serious blunders in their work. A third is to be a systematic compilation of the Central Committee’s directives and documents from last year to date.

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How is the internal situation? In general, there have been great accomplishments; there are many problems; but prospects are bright. Basic problems are: 1) Comprehensiveness and balance; 2) the mass line; 3) unified leadership; and 4) emphasis on quality and quantity.

Among these problems comprehensiveness and balance and the mass line are most important. We prefer to produce less but of better quality and greater variety. We need all kinds and all varieties. In agriculture, we need grain, cotton, oils, hemp, silk, tobacco, tea, sugar, vegetables, fruits, insecticides and miscellaneous items; in industries, we also need all types of light and heavy industry products. Last year we concentrated our attention on production from small-sized blast furnaces, neglecting other forms of production. This won’t do.

One of the major lessons from the Great Leap Forward is the lack of balance. When we walk, both legs should move, but we did not do so. In national economy comprehensiveness and balance are a basic problem. Only with comprehensiveness and balance can we have the mass line.

There are three balances:

1. In agriculture, a balance of agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry, agricultural sideline production and fishing.

2. In industry, a balance of all departments and all links.

3. A balance between agriculture and industry.

Only when we have accomplished these three balances can we fix the ratios in national economy.

The order we set in our economic planning in the past has been heavy industry, light industry and agriculture. Henceforth we may have to reverse the order. Should it be agriculture, light industry and heavy industry? In other words, we have to do well in agriculture and to change the order of heavy industry, light industry, agriculture, commerce and communications to agriculture, light industry, heavy industry, communications and commerce. In this order we have to first develop means of production. This in no way contradicts Marxism. Comrade Ch’en Yun said, “We should arrange the markets before we go into capital construction.” Many comrades disagreed. But now we realize that comrade Ch’en Yun was right. We have to solve the problems of clothing, food, housing, utilities and travel, first for they concern the stable life of 650 million people. After we have solved these five problems, the people will live comfortably, though there may still be criticisms and blames. This will be advantageous to reconstruction and the state will be able to accumulate its resources.

The masses are demanding the restoration of the three fixes policies: fixed production, fixed purchasing and fixed marketing. They probably will have to be restored. If we have to fix production, purchasing and marketing, what should be the amounts? Can we tax 40 percent of increased production and leave 60 percent with the owners? There should be a reduction of tax in case of disaster and exemption of tax on private plots. These problems should be discussed at the forthcoming conference.

We have to restore the primary market in rural areas and make the production teams a half accounting unit.

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Positiveness is of two types. One is the positiveness that strives for full effect and the other is positiveness that moves about blindly. Of the Red Army’s three great disciplines two may be universally applicable: “All actions must follow command,” which means unified leadership and opposition to anarchism; “Take not a single needle or piece of thread from the masses,” which means do not practice equalitarianism and do not transfer material.

Regarding the form of government, there is now some semi-anarchism. We have granted too much of the “four powers” and too soon, causing the present confusion. We should now emphasize unified leadership and centralization of power. Powers granted should be properly retracted. There should be proper control over the lower level. Semi-anarchism should be opposed.

Neither too much inactivity nor too much activity is good. At the moment too much activity should be avoided.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung