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To Criticize and Repudiate Revisionism,
It is Essential to Combat Self-Interest

[This article is reprinted from Peking Review, Vol. 10, #43, Oct. 20, 1967, pp. 25-26.]

OUR great leader Chairman Mao’s latest instruction to “combat self-interest, criticize and repudiate revisionism” summarizes on the highest plane the basic content of the great proletarian cultural revolution; it is a great programme for making revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Combatting self-interest and criticizing and repudiating revisionism are two interrelated matters. In order to criticize and repudiate revisionism, it is essential to combat self-interest. Only when we have successfully eliminated self-interest, shall we be able to carry the struggle against revisionism through to the end more effectively.

Combating self-interest means struggling against self-interest as manifested in the concept of private ownership, self-interest as manifested in selfishness. The concepts of private ownership and selfishness grow out of the economic base of the system of private ownership and they in turn serve this same economic base. They are the ideological source for the emergence and development of revisionism.

In our country, the economic base has been changed and the socialist system of public ownership has replaced the system of private ownership. But the concept of private ownership, which is part of the old superstructure, will not vanish of itself; it will continue to survive for a long time. It is having a corrosive and destructive effect on the new, socialist economic base. Our socialist economic base cannot be consolidated and developed and the danger of a capitalist restoration will continue to exist unless we tirelessly sweep away the concept of private ownership.

The handful of Party persons in authority taking the capitalist road and all the ghosts and monsters in society desperately protect the system and concept of private ownership. All of the old things that the great proletarian cultural revolution aims to abolish, whether they be old systems, old ideas, old culture, old customs and habits, can be summed up in one wordó“self-interest.”

The great proletarian cultural revolution advances in the fierce struggle against our class enemies and in the process of eliminating self-interest and promoting devotion to the public interest within our own ranks.

Chairman Mao teaches us: “We must be good at guiding those people in our ranks with petty bourgeois ideas on to the path of the proletarian revolution. This is crucial to the success of the great proletarian cultural revolution.”

This means that we must make vigorous efforts to eliminate self-interest and promote devotion to the public interest. The practice of the great proletarian cultural revolution over more than a year fully testifies to the fact that wherever there has been success in combating self-interest, revisionism has been thoroughly criticized and repudiated, the great proletarian cultural revolution has advanced smoothly and great achievements have been made.

When self-interest is one’s first consideration, it is impossible to criticize and repudiate revisionism seriously. If self-interest is not eradicated, it will be impossible to finish off revisionism.

If, in repudiating revisionism, self-interest comes in, it is not only impossible to refute revisionism, but the possibility arises that one will himself slip down the revisionist path.

Both self-interest and revisionism are egoism; they are both common to the bourgeois world outlook. It is inconceivable that one could repudiate revisionism and be able to refute it in a thoroughgoing manner from the platform of self-interest.

The main target of the great proletarian cultural revolution is a handful of Party persons in authority taking the capitalist road. At the same time, the cultural revolution aims to solve the question of the people’s world outlook, to eliminate bourgeois ideology and to dig out the roots of revisionism. This is a thoroughgoing revolution in world outlook, a revolution which remoulds people’s very souls, a great revolution to eliminate self-interest and foster devotion to the public interest.

In this great and unprecedented revolution, every proletarian revolutionary should regard himself as an integral part of the revolutionary force and, at the same time, as a target of the revolution. He should use Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tse-tung’s thought, to combat self-interest in his own mind and remould his world outlook thoroughly.

Only by replacing self-interest by devotion to the public interest and replacing the bourgeois world outlook by the proletarian world outlook is it possible to hold high the great red banner of Mao Tse-tung’s thought and to stand firm on the side of Chairman Mao’s proletarian revolutionary line. Only in this way is it possible to put the proletarian Party spirit and the people’s interests above everything else, to follow Chairman Mao’s great strategic plan closely, to hold firmly to the general orientation for the revolutionary struggle, to consolidate and develop revolutionary alliances and revolutionary “three-in-one” combinations, to concentrate fire on the target and to overthrow, completely discredit and thoroughly and penetratingly repudiate the handful of Party persons in authority taking the capitalist road headed by China’s Khrushchov, and victoriously accomplish the tasks of struggle-criticism-transformation in each unit.

(Abridged translation of “Jiefangjun Bao” editorial, October 8 [1967].

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