[This issue of Peking Review is from massline.org. Massline.org has kindly given us permission to to place these documents on the MIA. We made only some formatting changes to make them congruent with our style sheets. Note from massline.org: This article is reprinted from Peking Review, Volume 9, #32, Aug. 5, 1966, pp. 8-10. Thanks are due to the www.wengewang.org web site for some of the work done for this posting.]

Make Our Army a Great School of Mao Tse-tung’s Thought

In Commemoration of the 39th Anniversary of the Founding of Our Army

OUR great leader Chairman Mao Tse-tung recently gave us an extremely important directive on army building.

Chairman Mao said: The People’s Liberation Army should be a great school. In this great school, our armymen should learn politics, military affairs and culture. They can also engage in agricultural production and side occupations, run some medium-sized or small factories and manufacture a number of products to meet their own needs or for exchange with the state at equal values. They can also do mass work and take part in the socialist education movement in the factories and villages. After the socialist education movement is over, they can always find mass work to do, so that the army will for ever be at one with the masses. They should also participate in the struggles of the cultural revolution to criticize the bourgeoisie whenever they occur. In this way, the army can concurrently study, engage in agriculture, run factories and do mass work. Of course, these tasks should be properly co-ordinated, and a distinction should be made between the primary and secondary tasks. Each army unit should engage in one or two of the three fields of activity agriculture, industry and mass work, but not in all three at the same time.

Chairman Mao said: In this way, our army of several million will be able to play a very great role indeed.

This directive of Chairman Mao is a great call to our army made under the circumstances that the great proletarian cultural revolution is developing vigorously in China and the class struggle is becoming more acute and complicated both at home and abroad, and it is a great call issued under the circumstances that our army is carrying out the instructions of the Military Commission of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and Comrade Lin Piao and is creatively studying and applying Chairman Mao’s works, energetically giving prominence to politics and making great progress in all fields of work. It is a great call which demands that our army should go forward to a still higher stage along the road to becoming an extremely proletarianized and extremely militant army.

Chairman Mao wants us to run our army as a great school. Working mainly as a fighting force, it concurrently studies, engages in agriculture, runs factories and does mass work; it carries on and further develops the fine traditions of our Party and our army, and trains and tempers millions of successors to the proletarian revolutionary cause, so that our people’s army of several million can play a still greater role in the cause of socialist revolution and socialist construction. It is a great school for the study, implementation, dissemination and safeguarding of Mao Tse-tung’s thought.

It is now 39 years since Chairman Mao himself created this army of ours. It is a worker and peasant army under the absolute leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and built in accordance with the principles of Marxism-Leninism, a people’s army of a totally new type, completely different from the feudal warlord or bourgeois armies.

At an early stage in the creation of our army. Chairman Mao clearly pointed out that it should certainly not confine itself to fighting, but should be an armed body for carrying out the political tasks of the revolution. In the famous resolution at the Kutien Congress, Chairman Mao wrote: “The Red Army fights not merely for the sake of fighting but in order to conduct propaganda among the masses, organize them, arm them, and help them to establish revolutionary political power. Without these objectives, fighting loses its meaning and the Red Army loses the reason for its existence.”

Chairman Mao set our army three great tasks, namely, fighting, mass work and production. He pointed out that our army was always a fighting force, and at the same time it was a working force and a production force.

On the eve of nationwide victory. Chairman Mao said: “The army is a school.” And “we must look upon the field armies with their 2,100,000 men as a gigantic school for cadres.”

In the past decades, our army has done precisely what Chairman Mao has taught us to.

The directive recently given by Chairman Mao constitutes the most recent summing up of our army’s experience in previous decades and represents a development of Chairman Mao’s consistent thinking on army building in the new historical conditions. This directive is of great historic and strategic significance for enabling our army to preserve for ever its distinctive character as a people’s army, for consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat, for pushing forward China’s socialist revolution and socialist construction, strengthening national defence, bringing the mighty force of people’s war into full play and countering possible attacks by U.S. imperialism and its accomplices.

Chairman Mao’s thinking on army building constitutes the most thorough, correct and comprehensive body of proletarian ideas on army building.

Chairman Mao’s thinking on army building is diametrically opposed to the purely military viewpoint in which consideration is given solely to military affairs in complete disregard of politics, reducing the army’s task merely to fighting; it is diametrically opposed to all bourgeois military ideas.

Throughout the 39 years’ history of our army, the struggle between Chairman Mao’s thinking and line on army building and bourgeois military ideas of various kinds has never ceased. This was true of the entire period of the democratic revolution, and is equally true of the period of the socialist revolution.

In the 16 years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, we have waged three big struggles against representatives of the bourgeois military line who wormed their way into the Party and the army.

The first big struggle started after the conclusion of the war to resist U.S. aggression and aid Korea. Under the pretext of “regularization” and “modernization,” a handful of representatives of the bourgeois military line, making a complete carbon copy of foreign practice, vainly attempted to negate our army’s historical experience and fine traditions and to lead our army on to the road followed by bourgeois armies. The bourgeois military dogmatism which they tried to push through was strongly resisted and opposed by the broad masses of cadres and fighters in our army. Responding to Chairman Mao’s call of “Down with the slave mentality! Bury dogmatism!”, the 1958 Enlarged Session of the Military Commission of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party smashed their frantic attack and defended Chairman Mao’s thinking and line on army building.

The second big struggle took place at the same time as our Party’s struggle against the Right opportunist anti-Party clique in 1959. Taking advantage of the important posts they had usurped in the army, the principal members of the anti-Party clique who were exposed at the Party’s Lushan Conference made a great effort to do away with the Party’s absolute leadership over the army, to abrogate political work, to reject the army’s tasks of participating in socialist construction and doing mass work, and to abolish the local armed forces and the militia; in this way, they tried to completely negate Chairman Mao’s thinking on the people’s army and people’s war. They vainly hoped to refashion cur army according to the bourgeois, revisionist military line so that it would become an instrument for their usurping leadership of the Party and the Government, and for realizing their personal ambitions. The Enlarged Session of the Military Commission held after the Party’s Lushan Conference thoroughly settled accounts with them in regard to their crimes and dismissed them from office. This was a great victory for Mao Tse-tung’s thought!

Since he took charge of the work of the Military Commission of the Party’s Central Committee, Comrade Lin Piao has most resolutely and thoroughly implemented Chairman Mao’s thinking and line concerning army building. In 1960, with the attention and guidance of the Party’s Central Committee and Chairman Mao, the Enlarged Session of the Military Commission presided over by Comrade Lin Piao went further in eradicating the influence of the bourgeois military line, corrected the orientation in political work, adopted the “Resolution Concerning the Strengthening of Political and Ideological Work in the Armed Forces,” and carried on and developed the spirit of the Kutien Congress, and thus established a new milestone in our army’s road of advance. In the last few years, under the leadership of the Military Commission of the Party’s Central Committee and Comrade Lin Piao, the whole army has held high the great red banner of Mao Tse-tung’s thought and creatively studied and applied Chairman Mao’s works, given prominence to politics, upheld the “four firsts,”1 vigorously fostered the “three-eight” working style,2 given full scope to democracy in the three main fields of work,3 launched the “four-good” companies campaign,4 and taken part in the socialist education movement and the great proletarian cultural revolution, took part in and supported socialist construction, so that an excellent, flourishing situation has emerged in the revolutionization of our army and in all other fields of work.

The third big struggle took place not long ago. Exposed in this struggle were representatives of the bourgeoisie who had usurped important posts in the army and were important members of the counter-revolutionary anti-Party, anti-socialist clique recently uncovered by our Party. They had opposed the Party’s Central Committee and Mao Tse-tung’s thought, had overtly agreed to but covertly opposed Comrade Lin Piao’s directives on giving prominence to politics, had talked about putting politics in command but in practice had put military affairs first, technique first and work first. They had waved “red flags” to oppose the red flag and vigorously spread eclecticism, i.e., opportunism, in the vain attempt to substitute a bourgeois military line for Chairman Mao Tse-tung’s proletarian military line. Our Party’s thorough exposure and repudiation of the handful of anti-Party careerists is a great new victory for Mao Tse-tung’s thought!

The representatives of the bourgeoisie, who were exposed in these big struggles of our army since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, opposed Chairman Mao’s principle of building our army into a powerful, revolutionary army of the proletariat, opposed absolute leadership by the Party over the army, opposed political work and opposed the mass line. What they wanted was bourgeois regularization and not proletarian revolutionization. They discarded our army’s glorious traditions, reduced its three great tasks to the single task of training in combat skill in peacetime and fighting in times of war. In short, everything they did was the diametrical opposite of Chairman Mao’s thinking on army building and on turning our army into a great school. Their criminal aim was to turn our army into a bourgeois army serving a few careerists, an army divorced from Mao Tse-tung’s thought, from proletarian politics, from the masses of the people and from productive labour.

The struggle between the two sets of ideas, the two different lines, on army building is a reflection within the army of the struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, between the road of socialism and the road of capitalism. So long as classes and class struggle still exist, this struggle will never end. At home and abroad, the class enemy who is hoping, in vain, to cause our country to change colour, will first of all try to make our army change colour. The tiny handful of representatives of the bourgeoisie who worm their way into our army will always step forward and try to stir up trouble whenever the class struggle becomes very intense. However, under the brilliant light of the great thought of Mao Tse-tung, the broad masses of cadres and fighters in our army, including some who have been temporarily misled, will invariably be able to detect their ugly features, expose them to the light of day and frustrate their conspiracies.

The history of our army over the decades has proved to the hilt that Chairman Mao’s thinking and line on army building represent irrefutable truth and are our army’s lifeline. At no time and in no circumstances is it permissible for us to depart in the slightest from the orbit of Chairman Mao’s thinking and line on army building.

We must respond with enthusiasm to the great call of Chairman Mao Tse-tung, take over and develop the fine traditions of our army and run it as a great school.

We shall resolutely learn politics, military affairs and culture in accordance with Chairman Mao’s directive. We shall play an active part in the socialist education movement and the great proletarian cultural revolution. Everyone should take up the sharpest weapon, Mao Tse-tung’s thought, to criticize the bourgeoisie. We should at all times hold ourselves ready to crush any possible attack by U.S. imperialism and its accomplices.

We shall resolutely adhere to Chairman Mao’s directive that the army should concurrently study, engage in agriculture, run factories and do mass work. Everyone should take part in productive labour and for ever maintain the distinctive character of working people. Everyone should do mass work, abide by the three main rules of discipline and the eight points for attention,5 so that the army will always be at one with the masses. Militia work should be done well and the idea of people’s war should be implanted among the masses of the people. We must enthusiastically take part and help in socialist construction, actively help with local work, learn modestly from the local districts and strengthen the unity between the army and the local districts.

To run this great army school well, the most important and fundamental thing is to study and apply Chairman Mao Tse-tung’s works creatively. It is necessary to study and to apply in the course of struggle. This great school must for ever hold high the great red banner of Mao Tse-tung’s thought and always give prominence to proletarian politics, use Mao Tse-tung’s thought as the guide for all work and arm everyone with Mao Tse-tung’s thought.

This great school of ours is a great school of Mao Tse-tung’s thought!

We must run this great school of Mao Tse-tung’s thought well!

Let us march forward valiantly under the great banner of Mao Tse-tung’s thought!


1. The “four firsts” are: First place must be given to man in handling the relationship between man and weapons; to political work in handling the relationship between political and other work; to ideological work in relation to other aspects of political work; and, in ideological work, to the ideas currently in a person’s mind as distinguished from ideas in books.

2. The “three-eight” working style (which in Chinese is written in three phrases and eight additional characters) means firm, correct political orientation; a plain, hardworking style; flexibility in strategy and tactics; and unity, alertness, earnestness and liveliness.

3. “Democracy in the three main fields of work” means democracy in the political, the economic and the military fields.

4. The “four-good” title of honour is given to companies which are good in political and ideological work, in the “three-eight” working style, in military training and in arranging their everyday life.

5. The three main rules of discipline are a) Obey orders in all your actions; b) Don’t take a single needle or piece of thread from the masses; c) Turn in everything captured. The eight points for attention are: a) Speak politely; b) Pay fairly for what you buy; c) Return everything you borrow; d) Pay for anything you damage; e) Don’t hit or swear at people; f) Don’t damage crops; g) Don’t take liberties with women; h) Don’t ill-treat captives.

(“Jiefangjun Bao” [Liberation Army Daily] editorial, August 1.)