Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung

Talk At The Enlarged Meeting
Of The Political Bureau

March 20, 1966

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


1. On Not Attending the 23rd Congress of the CPSU

We shall not be attending the “23rd Congress” of the Soviet Union. The convening of this congress by the Soviet Union is under a situation of difficulties both at home and abroad. We shall rely on self-reliance. We shall not depend on the Soviet Union. We shall not become befuddled. If we wish people to stand firm, we ourselves must first be unwavering. We shall not go. The leftist faction has stiffened its back, the middle faction is leaning towards us. If we do not attend the “23rd congress,” then the most they can do is to threaten us with their troops. If they don’t, then it would just lead to a battle on paper. We can write a letter to say that we shall not attend. We have said that traitors, scabs, and the Soviet Union oppose China. Once they opposed us, we shall have essays to write. Traitors and scabs have always opposed China. Our banners must be new and fresh in color, they must not be bedraggled. Castro is nothing more than a bad man in an important position. (Someone asked: This time we do not attend, but when the revisionists convene in the future, do we send a congratulatory message?) We will still have to send a congratulatory message, but it will be sent to the Soviet people.


2. An Academic Question, An Educational Question.

We have been hiding inside a drum and there are many things which we do not know about, in reality, the academic and educational circles are in the hands of the bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie. In the past, our policy towards the intellectuals of the national bourgeoisie and the bourgeoisie was to discriminate against comprador bourgeoisie. They should be discriminated against and the discrimination policy is very effective. It is improper to equate them all together. At present, the greater part of the universities, middle schools, and primary schools have been monopolized by intellectuals who have emerged from the ranks of the bourgeoisie, petty bourgeoisie, and the landlord and rich peasant class. We took care of these people after the liberation. At the time, it was the right thing to do. Now when we are conducting academic critiques, we must also protect some of them, such as Old Kuo and Old Fan (Wen-lan) of the emperor-king group. At present, all medium-sized or large cities and towns have established research departments on literature and art, history, philosophy, law, and economics. In the study of history, there are various kinds of histories. Every academic department has a history. There is history and general history. Philosophy, literature, and natural science all have histories, and there is not a single department that does not have a history. With regard to the natural science department, we have not set anything into motion. From now on, we should do a bit of criticizing of the work done in each 5- or 10- year periods, discuss the pros and cons, and train successors. Otherwise, everything will fall into their hands. With regard to natural sciences, the views of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie are not the same. Idealism and materialism are also involved in natural sciences. Old Fan is very fond of emperors, kings, generals, and prime ministers. People like him, including persons of the emperor-king school are very fond of emperors, kings, generals, and prime ministers and they op! posed the 1958 method of studying history. (Lin Piao: This is class struggle.) When criticizing, one must not shoot off clank cannons, one must study historical data. This is a serious class struggle. Otherwise, revisionism shall emerge. It is this group of people who will be the ones to come up with revisionism in the future. For example, Wu Han and Chien Po-tsan were all opposed to Marxism-Leninism. They were members of the Communist Party; Communist Party members who nevertheless opposed the Communist Party, and opposed materialism. (Lin Piao: This is socialist ideological construction.) This is a widespread class struggle. At present, 15 out of 28 provinces and municipalities in the whole country have launched this struggle and there are 13 which have not taken any action.

There are advantages and also disadvantages in our taking care of the intellectuals. Under our care, they earned fixed income, and became teachers and school principals. They were really Kuomintang people. (Lin Piao: We must pay attention to the newspapers, for the newspapers are an important matter. They are the everyday means for transmitting central committee orders.) There is also that Peking periodical Ch’ien-hsien [Frontlines], which is, in reality, the frontlines of Wu Han, Teng T’o and Liao Mo-sha “San-chia-ts’un” (Three-family Village) is their work[1]. Liao had previously given moral support to “Li Hui-niang” and advocated the “theory of devils without harm.” The class struggle is very sharp and very widespread. The various major bureaus and provincial committees must pay a bit of attention to this. For example they must administer academic work, newspapers, publications, literature and art, motion pictures, and the plays.

The essay by X X has been made public. It is well-written. X X is the head of the history office, he is the younger brother of Chao X X. His essay was written in 1964 but was suppressed for one-and-a-half years before it was made public. Essays written by young people must not be suppressed, whether they are good or bad. Do not be afraid of running into matter if it does not deprive them of their bread and butter. One must not be afraid of running into “authority.”

(X X: The literary and art circles and the medical circles have all organized work teams to go into the countryside.)

They have all gone into the countryside, the half-work and half-study students of the middle, vocational, and technical schools have all gone into the countryside. It will not do to study books of classical literature alone; it is necessary to come into contact with reality. X X X was unable to write anything good. One must not begin learning by studying old writings first. This includes the writings of Lu Hsun[2] and myself: One must learn to write. In the department of literature, students must write prose and novels, they must not study the history of literature. How can you accomplish anything if you do not start with writing? It will be fine if one is able to write. Henceforth, with writing the main factor, it will be the same as learning to hear and speak being the main factors in the study of foreign languages. Writing is the equivalent of composing essays. To learn to write essays is to use writing as the main factor. As for learning history, that can wait until the work period. The people in our troop units, those generals and division commanders did not know anything about the kings, Yao and Shun. They had never studied the military tactics of Sun-tzu[3]. Yet, did they not do battle just the same? Not a single person fought any battles in accordance with Sun-tzu on the Art of War. (Lin Piao: There are so many items in the book, when the time came, one was unable to locate the proper item; there is not a single battle, large or small, which is identical, so it was a bit more simpler to do things according to the actual circumstances.)

There are two kinds of methods. One is to initiate criticism. The other is to engage in half-work and half-study and carry on the four clean-ups campaign. The young people must not be suppressed, let them come forward. Lo Erh-kang was criticized by X X X. X was one of the workers in the mail and visitors’ section of the central committee’s General Office. Lo was a professor. Do not be afraid of provoking Lo Erh-kang and Chien Po-tsan. Do not suppress either the bad or the good. On Khrushchev, we issued a complete collection of essays! (Lin Piao: We carried out material construction, they carried out the building of the bourgeois spirit) (P’eng X: Actually, it is their dictatorship. The power of leadership is in their hands. If you oppose them, they would reduce your work points.) Students, lecturers, and a part of the professors were all liberated, it was fine if the remainder of the people were able to reform, if they were unable to reform, they were dragged down. (P’eng X: Promoting a doctrine does not produce co-operation.) (Lin Piao: This is class struggle, they must talk about it.) Nevertheless X X said it properly. X X said that those who were younger and had less education overthrew those who were older and had more education. (Chu X: Overthrow those in authority.) (Ch’en Po-ta: Overthrow the bourgeois authority, bring up newborn strength, establish proletarian authority, and train successors.) Who is the authority at the present time? It is Yao Wen-ynan, X X X, and X X. As to who is able to destroy whom, there is no solution at the present time. (Ch’en Po-ta: The successors must develop naturally. Stalin produced a Malenkov who was not the right man. The former did not wait for him to die. Malenkov met with premature death. Such successors are not wanted.) What is needed are determined people who are young, have little education, a firm attitude, and the political experience to take over the work. This problem is very big.


3. On the Industrial System

There are some questions you do not comprehend. Can you handle so much? (P’eng X: The central and local authorities must be like field armies and territorial armies.) In Nanking, I talked with Chiang X X. When war breaks out; first, the central authorities will not send troops; second, it will not send generals, third, the food it has is not enough, it cannot be delivered; four, there is no clothing, and five, it has some rifles and guns, but not too many. The various administrative areas and provinces must do their own [battles]. The people must fight their own battles. Each province must fight its own battle. The local areas cannot have their own naval and air forces. These forces must be put under the unified control of the central government. When war breaks out, it is best to rely on the local areas. You cannot depend on the central government. The local areas will take charge of the guerrillas and rely on armed struggle.

There are two methods of managing industry in East China. The method practiced in Kiangsu is good. That is, the province has no control in managing industry. This was carried out in Nanking and Soochow; Soochow had 1,00,000 workers with an output value of 800 million yuan. The method practiced in Tsinan is another. The large industries are managed by the province and the small industries by the municipalities, but the breakdown is unclear.

(Liu X X: How can we trial implement the general labor system and the general participation in work and participation in voluntary labor. At present, there are too many people who are not taking part in production work; the number of workers and staff members is 800,000 while the number of dependents is also 800,000.) It is necessary to carry out general propaganda now, break down the old ways, and gradually implement [the new] step by step.

This country of ours is made up of 28 “countries.” There are large “countries” as well as small “countries.” Such “countries” as Tibet and Tsinghai are small “countries,” they do not have many people. (Premier Chou: It is necessary to implement mechanization.) You people of the central bureaus, provinces, regions, and municipalities, carry out blooming and contending when you return to your posts; such places as provinces, regions, and municipalities must all carry out free expression of opinions during the months of April, May, June, and July. The free expression of opinions must be connected with “preparedness against war, preparedness against natural calamities, and everything for the people,” otherwise they will be afraid to express opinions freely. (Premier Chou: I’m afraid to say that they are for decentralization). The local areas must pay attention to wealth accumulation, now everything belongs to the state treasury. Shanghai has some accumulation. First, it has capital; second, it has raw materials; and third, it has equipment. It will not do to have everything concentrated at the central level. It will not do to drain the pond to catch the fish. It is said that the Soviet Union is the one which drains the pond to catch fish. (P’eng X: Shanghai used machinery to support agriculture and changed from unlawful to lawful.) It is unlawful, but it must be recognized as being lawful. In history, everything changed from unlawful to lawful. Sun Yat-sen was unlawful in the beginning and became lawful afterwards. The Communist Party also changed from unlawful to lawful. Yuan Shih-k’ai changed from lawful to unlawful. Being lawful is reactionary. Being unlawful is revolutionary. At present time, being reactionary is not to permit people to have positiveness: it is to limit the people’s role in making revolution. The central government still is in favor of a figure-head republic, the Queen of England and the Em! peror of Japan are all figureheads of republics. The central government is still in favor of a figure-head republic, caring only for major administrative policies. But these policies also came from local blooming and contending. So the central government opened up a processing plant to produce them. The province municipalities, districts, and counties have to release them before the central government can produce them. It is fine to let the central government exercise control in name, but not in fact or only to a slight degree in fact. When the central government takes in too many factories, all those who take over the factories should be told to get out of the central government and go over to the local areas, lock stock, and barrel. (P’eng X: When we operate a trust and have the trust take over the work of the party, we are in fact running an industrial party.) The four clean-ups campaign belongs to you. The central government is only taking care of the Twenty-three Articles. What experience do you of the X X political department have? Troop units still depend on the local military units before they can develop into regular troops. I do not have any experience. The summations of the past three months and the summations for the past half-year were not based on the report below. The operation of arsenals were all dependent on the local areas. The central government provided the spirit. The central government did not even have a single bullet or a single grain of food. They only put forth a bit of spirit. At present, grain is being shipped from the south to the north and coal from the north to the south. This will not do. (Premier Chou: the national defence industry should also be returned to the local areas. In general, this industry should be given to the lower levels and not to the upper levels. The central government should handle only important matters). The aircraft factories still have not been relocated. In time of war, even rifles cannot be supplied. Every province must have a small iron an! d steel plant. There are several hundred thousand people in a province. A hundred thousand tons of steel is not enough. A province must therefore operate several dozen steel plants.

(Yu Ch’iu-li: It is necessary that three veterans take three novices under their wings, that veteran plants lead the way for new plants, and that old bases lead the way for new bases. . . .) (Lin: For the old to lead the new is the Chinese way.) This is similar to the guerrillas during the war of resistance. It is necessary to practice socialism and not individualism. (P’eng X: There are X X small iron and steel plants which have all been controlled by the central government.) Why do you discriminate against what others do? Return them all. (P’eng X: Let’s figure out a method next year.) Why wait until next year? You should hold a meeting upon your return. For those who want to take over other people, tell them to become deputy plant directors. (Premier Chou: At present, to promote agricultural mechanization is still like borrowing the east wind [borrowing without any return]. The Eighth Ministry of Machine Building operated a trust and took over quite a number of plants.) Then tell X X X of the Eighth Ministry of Machine Building to go and become the plant director!

Some of them actually imposed hardship on the peasants. In Kiangsi one tan [50 kgs] of grain was assessed (delivered) three times. I think that they should be punished. A meeting of all civil and military department should be called to punish those who levied excessive taxes and sought excessive contributions.

The plans of the central government must be coordinated with those of the local areas. The central government cannot administer to everything firmly and the provinces cannot embrace everything firmly. (Liu X X: Allocate a part of the plans to the local areas.) You can frighten them with war, at the sound of the explosion of an atom bomb, individualism will no longer be practiced. When war starts, will it be possible to issue Jen-min Jih-pao? It is necessary to pay attention to the division of power. Do not empty the pond to catch fish. At present, there is no one to administer things at the top. At the lower levels there is no one who has the authority to administer things. (T’ao X: The central government also has no authority!) At present, fighting for one’s independence is permitted. There must be independence against bureaucracy. It must be like X X X. The students must also fight, they must bloom and contend on the academic question. There was a manuscript of a lecture delivered by a professor of chemistry which his students failed to understand after studying it for several months. The University students asked him about it but he did not have the answer. The students wanted to uproot his foundations. Wu Han and Chien Po-tsan relied on history for their bread and butter. Yu Po-p’ing is also unlearned. (Lin Piao: He still had to study Chairman Mao’s works.) One must not emulate Chien Po-tsan. One must not emulate me. If one wishes to learn, one must excel in learning. One must not be subjected to limitations, one must not solely interpret and merely compile records. One must not be restricted. Lenin refused to be restricted by Marx. (Lin Piao: Lenin was also excellent. We must now advocate the study of Chairman Mao’s works. We must sow the seeds of Mao Tse-tung thought.) One might also say that, but one must not be superstitious. One must not be restricted. One must have new interpretations, new viewpoints, and creativity.

That is, it is necessary that the professors be overthrown by the students. (Lin Piao: These people only think of dictatorship.) A culture and education secretary in Kirin wrote an essay criticizing conceptional imagery. It was well-written. The Kwang-ming Jih-pao criticized Revelations of Officialdom. This was the clarification of the basic dispute. The Revelations of Officialdom is reformism. In a word, the so-called “reprimanding novels” are reactionary, anti-Sun Yat-sen, monarchist, and bring on landlord dictatorship. They must be revised a bit, improved a bit, they are heading towards perdition.



[1.] See note 1 on p 255 of this volume.

[2.] Lu Hsun (1881-1936) was the father of modem Chinese literature and the greatest and most militant standard-bearer of China’s cultural revolution. Apart from The True Story of Ah Q, A Madman’s Diary and The New Year’s Sacrifice his most famous works  —  he wrote many short stories and essays, in which he vehemently attacked feudalism and imperialism, gave force to the aspirations of the oppressed and exposed the people’s enemy in his true colours. He always identified his work with the Chinese people’s revolution, for which he waged a relentless struggle until his death in October 1936.

[3.] Sun Wu Tzu, or Sun Wu, was a famous Chinese military scientist in the 5th century B.C., who wrote Sun Tzu (Art of war) a treatise on war containing thirteen chapters.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung