Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung

Talk On Putting Military Affairs
Work Into Full Effect And
Cultivating Successors To
The Revolution

June 16, 1964

[SOURCE: Long Live Mao Tse-tung Thought, a Red Guard Publication.]

I shall talk about two problems. The first is the question of local party committees paying attention to military affairs, and the second is the question of dealing with successors. . . it will not do to merely observe demonstrations. It is necessary to pay attention to troops, it is necessary to operate armament plants. . . the provinces must inquire into the matter of troop units and the militia. You first secretaries of provincial committees are also political commissars. You have not carried out your duties for a number of years, you have been political commissars in name only and have not paid attention to military affairs. When a problem arises, you become confused without help. Regardless of which direction the enemy may come, it is necessary that you be ready, then our country shall not perish. The various levels of party committees must all pay attention to military affairs work and to militia work. . . How can only we rely on the several millions of Liberation Army troops of the central government in a country such as ours and on such a large battle front? We cannot depend on them. You must make up your own minds. The local authorities have the responsibility. . . needless to say, they will want to fight an atomic war! We shall run away when they drop the atom bombs. When they enter the city, we shall also enter the city and the enemy will not dare to use the atom bomb. We shall engage in street fighting. At any rate, we shall fight them.

It is necessary that the militia be organized a little better organizationally, politically, and militarily. Organizational improvement is to have some sort of an established organization of cadre-militiamen and ordinary militiamen, to have fighters, squad and platoon leaders, and company, battalion, regiment, and division commanders, and to become really functional. It is also necessary that political work personnel be organized so that in case something happens, they may take up their arms and go. Some people have said that their psychological outlook improved greatly after three months of service in the militia. The militia must have organization, it must have soldiers, it must have officers, and it must be put into full effect At present, many localities have not put it into full effect. It is necessary to carry out political work and the work of the people. To put politics into full effect, it is necessary to have a political structure, political commissars, political officers, and political instructors. To do political work is to perform the work of the people. It is necessary to distinguish between the good and the bad people in the militia and eliminate the bad ones. It is necessary to clearly explain to the militiamen that regardless of whatever important matter which may occur, they must not become flustered, for how can one win battles if one is flustered? One must not become flustered in fighting with rifles, guns, or atom bombs. One will not become flustered if one is well prepared politically. When the atom bomb is dropped, there is nothing else but to see Marx; since the days of old there has always been death. Without a belief, one cannot establish oneself. Those who are doomed to die shall die, and those who do not die shall go on. To kill all the Chinese people. I cannot see that, the imperialists will not do that, for who will they have to exploit!. . . . in 20 years of war, have we not lost many people? Huang Kung-lueh, Liu Hu-lan, and Huang Chikuang. . . we did not die, we are the! remaining dregs. When the burden is too heavy, death is the way out. Indeed, death called on Comrade XXX, but he did not go, so he is still alive. It is necessary to be prepared militarily. It is necessary to be prepared with rifles during peacetime, it will be too late when war starts. . . if one only cares about dealing with civil and not military affairs, if one only wants people and not rifles. When war begins, it will be necessary to depend upon China to hold on, it will not do to depend on the revisionists. When the enemy fight their way in, we will be able to fight our way out. In general, we must be ready to fight, we must not become flustered when the fighting starts, we also must not be flustered in fighting the atom bomb. Do not be afraid. It is nothing but a big disorder throughout the world. It is nothing but people dying. Man eventually must die, he may die standing up or lying down. Those who do not die will go on with their work, if one-half meets with death, there is still another half. . . Do not be afraid of imperialism. It will not do to be afraid, the more one is afraid, the less enthusiasm one will have. Being prepared and unafraid, one will have the enthusiasm.

The second problem is to prepare for the future and to bring up successors.

The imperialists have said that our first generation presented no problem, the second generation did not unchange, and that there is hope for the third and fourth generations. Will this hope of the imperialists be realized? Will these words of the imperialists come true? I hope that it will not come true; however, it can also come true. In the Soviet Union, it was the third generation that produced the Soviet Khrushchev Revisionism. We can also possibly produce revisionism. How can we guard against revisionism? How can we cultivate successors to the revolution? As I see it, there are five requirements.

1. It is necessary to regularly observe and educate our cadres, they must have some knowledge of Marxism-Leninism; it would be best if they have a bit more knowledge of Marxism-Leninism. They must practice Marxism-Leninism, not revisionism.

2. They must serve the majority of the people and not the minority. They must serve the majority of the people of China. They must serve the majority of the people of the world and not the minority, or the landlords, rich peasants, counter-revolutionaries, bad elements, and rightists. Without this prerequisite, one cannot serve as a party branch secretary. Moreover, one cannot serve as the central (committee) secretary or the central chairman, Khrushchev was for the minority, we are for the majority of the people.

3. They must be able to unite the majority of the people. What is meant by uniting the majority of the people includes those people who had previously and erroneously opposed ourselves. Regardless of which mountain peak they belong to, we must not seek revenge, we cannot have a new group of officials for each emperor. Our experiences have proven that we would not have been victorious in our revolution if it had not been for the correct guidelines of the 7th National Congress. As for those people who engage in intrigues, they must take note that more than 10 persons, such as Kao Jao, P’eng Huang, Chang, Chou, T’an and Chia had emerged from the [party] central[1]. Everything is one divided into two. If some people wish to engage in intrigues, what can be done about it? Even now there are still those who wish to engage in intrigues! For example, we have Wu Tzu-li, the Pai-yin plant, and also the small station mentioned by Ch’en po-ta. The various departments and the various localities all have people who engage in intrigues. There are officials in the imperial palace and the masses under them. Without such people, it cannot be called a society. I had mentioned the last time that I was not pleased that there were such people. It was an objective existence. Otherwise, there would have been no confrontation, only metaphysics. All things are a unity of opposites. Of the five fingers of a hand, four face one direction while the thumb faces another direction. In this way, one can pick up and grasp things. If they all faced in the same direction, they would have been useless. There are no pure substances and no true vacuum in the world, this is only 99.9 percent purity. Then there is the other 0.1 percent. Many people have failed to comprehend this theory. There is no complete purity. There has to be some impurity before there can be a society, matters, and nature. If it is pure, it does not conform with the rules. Impurity is absolute. P! urity is relative. This is the unity of opposites. In sweeping the floor, dust still exists even if the floor was swept 24 hours a day, morning until night. Look, in which year have we been pure? The history of our party shows five dynasties of leadership. The first dynasty was Ch’en Tu-hsiu. The second dynasty was Chu Ch’iu-pai. The third dynasty was Hsiang Chung-fa, (actually, it was Li-san.). The fourth dynasty was Wang Ming and Po Ku. The fifth dynasty was Lo Fu (Chang Went’ien.)[2] The leadership of the five dynasties all failed to bring us down. To bring us down is not so easy. This is a historical experience. Whether it was done by the imperialists or by ourselves, they all failed to bring us down. After liberation, there came forth Kao Kang, Jao Shu-shih, and P’eng Te-huai. Did they bring us down? They did not. P’eng Te-huai held the post of Minister of National Defense for seven years and he failed to bring down the Liberation Army. Several ranking officials were hopeless as soon as they emerged. We must let others have their say. We must not practice “what I say counts.” We must unite the majority. A decision was reached by democratic process. But still they said they did not approve it. X X X said: China must preserve the use of reasoning, the People’s Liberation Army must preserve the use of reasoning. Because we have these qualities, P’eng Te-huai was unsuccessful.

4. They must have a democratic style of work. When something comes up, they must consult with the comrades, give full deliberation to matters, and absolutely listen to the various views. Opposite views must be presented. Do not practice “what I say counts.” People can change. Didn’t old X change? Oxen can be trained to plow the fields, so why can’t people change? There are a few people who cannot be changed. People like Yu Hsueh-chung, Chang Po-chun[3], Liu Li-ming, and X X and X X X in the party can never be changed. They do nothing but curse at people. There is also Cheng Jen-san who has not changed. The various provinces have an extremely few who have not changed. Let them remain unchanged, let them curse away. It is necessary to unite the majority of the people. The way I see it, it is not necessary to expel Wu Tzu-li from the party, we must urge them to repent. We must unite 95 percent [of both groups]. We must practice democracy. We must not consider it as being enough merely because I said that it is so; we must not reverse a decision at meetings which had been passed. This is democracy in practice. To personally speak for several hours at a meeting as if all the truth is in my hands. . . When I was young, I showed bad temper towards Mao Tse-t’an[4], and threatened him with a stick because he said that the Communist Party was not the ancestral temple of the Mao family. The way I see it, those words of his make sense. The Communist Party must deal with democratic style of work, it cannot deal with patriarchal behavior.

5. When one has committed errors, one must conduct self-criticism. One must not consider oneself as being always correct. One must have relatively less mistaken ideas. It is better to do a little less of saying the wrong things and expressing wrong ideas. It is relatively good for a commander, in fighting three battles, to lose one and win two because he can go on being a commander. . . do not go too far in waging struggles. One must help others to rectify their mistakes, it is only necessary that they conscientiously correct their errors. One must not always criticize them without end.

Successors must be Marxist-Leninists, they must serve the interest of the majority of the people, they must unite the majority, they must display the democratic style, and they must conduct self criticism. What I have in mind is not complete, you must make further study on your own and do a little planning. You must also bring up some successors. You must not always think that you alone will do and that everything done by others is no good, as if without you in the world, the earth would not turn and there would be no party. Do you think that with the death of the butcher Chang, one would have to eat pork with bristles on it? There is no need to fear for the death of anyone. Whose death would be a great loss? Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin, are they all not dead? The revolution must still go on. How can the death of a single person be such a tremendous loss? There is no such a thing. Man always must die, there are various ways of dying. Some were killed by the enemy, some died in airplane crashes, some drowned while swimming, some died from bacteria, and some died of old age. We must include those who may be killed by an atomic bomb. We must be prepared at all times to leave our work posts and we must be ready with successors at all times. Each person must be ready with successors. One must have three lines of successors. One must have one, two, and three pairs of hands, and one must not be fearful of heavy storms. . .



[1.] Kao-Jao, see note 3 on p. 8 of this volume. Peng-Huang, Chang, Chou, i.e. Peng Te-hui, Huang Kocheng, Chang Wen-tien, Chou Hsiao-chou  —  members of the anti-party group that was purged at the Lushan conference of 1959. The link between this group and that of Kao-Jao group came much more into light during the GPCR

[2.] Chen Tu-hsiu, see note 6 on p 77 of this Volume. Li Li-san, see note 7 on p 78 of this Volume. For Wang Ming and Po Ku see note 7 on p 78 of this Volume. (Lo-Fo) Chang Wan-tien, see note 11 on p 79 of this Volume. Chu Chiu-pai (1899-1935), a member of the CC of the C.P.C. from 1923 until his death, became secretary of the party in August 1927 and was responsible for the ‘first leftist line’ of late 1927 and early 1928. He nevertheless remained influential in the Party, and also made a name for himself as a translator of Gorky and other Russian and Soviet writers. Left behind in Kiangsi at the time of the Long March, he was captured by the Kuomintang, and executed in June 1935. While in prison, he wrote an autobiographical work entitled ‘Superfluous Words’. During the Cultural Revolution he was denounced as a big traitor, and ‘Superfluous Words’ has been quoted to substantiate the charge, especially by the Red Guards.

[3.] Chang Po chun, Minister of Communications and rightist leader of the China Democratic League, criticized the Chinese Communist Party severely in the spring of 1957, and then recanted in July. He was removed as minister in early 1958. He was also the director of Wen hui pao, the organ of the his party.

[4.] Mao Tse’-tan, was comrade Mao’s younger brother. He became a martyr for the cause of revolution in Hunan in 1935.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung