[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.]

Carry the Struggle to Criticize Lin Piao
and Confucius Through to the End

[This article is reprinted from Peking Review, Vol. 17, #8, Feb. 8, 1974, pp. 5-6.]

A MASS political struggle to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius, initiated and led by our great leader Chairman Mao, is developing in depth in all spheres of life.

Both at home and abroad, the reactionaries and the ringleaders of various opportunist lines have been worshippers of Confucius. Chairman Mao has repeatedly criticized Confucianism and the reactionary ideas of exalting Confucianism and opposing the Legalist school in the course of half a century in leading the Chinese revolution and struggling against reactionaries at home and abroad and against opportunist lines. The bourgeois careerist, conspirator, double-dealer, renegade and traitor Lin Piao was an out-and-out disciple of Confucius. Like all reactionaries in history on the verge of extinction, he worshipped Confucius and opposed the Legalist school, attacked Chin Shih Huang, the first emperor of the Chin Dynasty, and used the doctrine of Confucius and Mencius as his reactionary ideological weapon in plotting to usurp Party leadership and seize state power and restore capitalism. Therefore, only by criticizing the doctrine of Confucius and Mencius advocated by Lin Piao can we repudiate the ultra-Rightist nature of his counter-revolutionary revisionist line penetratingly and thoroughly. This is of great immediate significance and far-reaching historic importance in strengthening education in ideological and political line, adhering to and carrying out Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line, consolidating and expanding the tremendous achievements of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat and preventing capitalist restoration.

A political swindler who did not read books, did not read the daily press and did not read documents, Lin Piao was a big Party tyrant and warlord who had no learning at all. He feverishly advocated the doctrine of Confucius and Mencius in dark corners behind people’s backs, among his sworn followers and even in public. He hung Confucian canons on his walls and inscribed them in his diary as maxims. Why did he feverishly advocate the doctrine of Confucius and Mencius? Because it is a doctrine for restoring the old order. Lin Piao’s reactionary ideological system was identical with that of Confucius and Mencius. Both wanted to restore the old system and attempted to turn back the wheel of history.

Confucius and Mencius dished up a reactionary programme for restoring the slave system—“restrain oneself and restore the rites.” Confucius said: “Once self-restraint and restoration of the rites are achieved, all under heaven will submit to benevolence,” that is, all under heaven will submit to his rule. On many occasions after the Party’s Ninth National Congress, Lin Piao advertised the notion: “Of all things, this is the most important: to restrain oneself and restore the rites.” This fully shows how anxious he was to subvert the dictatorship of the proletariat and that he regarded the restoration of capitalism as the most important thing of all.

Confucius and Mencius preached that some are “born with knowledge.” Mencius said: “If all under heaven are to have peace and order, who is there but me at the present day to bring it about?” Lin Piao made the reactionary concept of “innate genius” his theoretical programme against the Party. He compared himself to a heavenly horse, regarding himself as the “noblest of men,” a superman. He spoke of “the heavenly horse flying through the skies, free and alone,” plotting to usurp Party leadership and state power and set up a personal dictatorship.

Confucius and Mencius held that “only the highest, who are wise, and the lowest, who are stupid, cannot be changed.” Lin Piao played up the same idealist conception of history and vilified the working people as capable only of wishing each other “good fortune and wealth” and thinking only about “oil, salt, sauce, vinegar and firewood.”

Confucius and Mencius praised “virtue,” “benevolence and righteousness” and “loyalty and forbearance,” and Lin Piao clamoured that “those who rule by virtue will thrive; those who rule by force will perish.” Here he viciously used Confucian language to attack revolutionary violence and the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Confucius and Mencius advocated the “doctrine of the mean,” and Lin Piao blustered that this doctrine was “reasonable” and opposed the Marxist philosophy of struggle. He attacked the anti-revisionist struggle as “going to the extreme” because he wanted to surrender to Soviet revisionism and turn China into a colony of Soviet revisionist social-imperialism.

Confucius and Mencius advocated the philosophy of “recoiling in order to extend.” Lin Piao wrote that he was “constrained to lodge for a time in the tiger’s lair” and “quick to change miraculously according to circumstances.” This is an unintentional confession that he was a bourgeois careerist and conspirator who nestled beside us and that the method he used was counter-revolutionary double-dealing.

Confucius and Mencius advocated the fallacy that “those who labour with their minds govern others; those who labour with their strength are governed by others.” And Lin Piao lashed out at the “May 7” road, slandering cadres’ going to take part in physical labour as a “disguised form of unemployment,” and educated young people settling in the countryside as a “disguised form of reform through forced labour.” His aim was to undermine Chairman Mao’s great strategic plan for opposing and preventing revisionism and bringing up successors to the revolutionary cause of the proletariat.

Disciples of Confucius and Mencius “revere the doctrines of Confucius and ban all other schools.” And Lin Piao taught his son to worship Confucius and read Confucian classics and wrote an inscription for his son in which he enjoined him to learn from the experience of ruling passed on by King Wen of the slave-owning Chou Dynasty before his death to his son, King Wu. Here Lin Piao dreamt of establishing a hereditary Lin dynasty.

All this shows that criticism of Confucius is indeed an important component of the criticism of Lin Piao. It is aimed at destroying the roots of Lin Piao’s revisionist line and doing a better job in criticizing Lin Piao. The criticism of Lin Piao and Confucius is a serious class struggle and a thoroughgoing revolution in the realm of ideology in China today. It is a war declared on feudalism, capitalism and revisionism and a heavy blow to imperialism, revisionism and reaction. It is a matter of prime importance for the whole Party, the whole army and the entire Chinese people.

Whether one is active or inactive towards this cardinal issue of criticizing Lin Piao and Confucius is a test for every leading comrade. The philosophy of the Communist Party is the philosophy of struggle. To continue the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat, we must carry the struggle to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius through to the end. To struggle is to advance. Not to struggle is to retrogress, to collapse, to go revisionist. Those engaged in military affairs should study and learn book knowledge, while those engaged in work in the economic base should learn to understand the superstructure. The vital question is whether to undertake the criticism or not. If you are determined to make criticism, you will be able to emancipate your mind and do away with all fetishes and superstitions, and you will press ahead in the face of difficulties.

Leading comrades at all levels should stand in the forefront of the struggle and discuss and grasp the criticism of Lin Piao and Confucius as a matter of paramount importance. They should earnestly study Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and Chairman Mao’s writings and instructions concerning this matter and take the 1ead in criticizing Lin Piao and Confucius. It is necessary to arouse the masses, compare the reactionary viewpoints of Confucius and Mencius with Lin Piao’s reactionary fallacies and counter-revolutionary crimes, and to refute them item by item. It is necessary to link this criticism with current class struggle and the struggle between the two lines, persist in revolution, oppose retrogression, adopt a correct attitude towards the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and enthusiastically support new emerging socialist things. The ranks of those working in Marxist theory should grow in the course of the criticism of Lin Piao and Confucius. Leading cadres should go to the grass-roots units, test things at selected points, train a backbone force and grasp typical examples well. They should constantly analyse new trends in the struggle to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius, strictly differentiate between the two types of contradictions which are different in nature and, in particular, correctly handle contradictions among the people, and keep firmly to the general orientation of the struggle.

The worker-peasant-soldier masses are the main force in criticizing Lin Piao and Confucius. Armed with Mao Tsetung Thought, they are most resolute in breaking with old, traditional ideas and best know how to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius. “Confucius wanted to restore the rites and Lin Piao wanted to restore capitalism; they were one of a kind.” Well said! With one vivid expression, the workers, peasants and soldiers have hit at the nub of the doctrine of Confucius and Mencius which Lin Piao preached. Only when the workers, peasants and soldiers rise in action can the criticism of Lin Piao and Confucius be carried out in a deep, thoroughgoing way. The revolutionary cadres and revolutionary intellectuals should take an active part in this struggle and make conscientious efforts to transform their world outlook. The workers, peasants and soldiers will welcome the progress made by some intellectuals who were quite deeply affected by the poison of Confucius and Mencius but who are educating themselves in the struggle.

I care not that the wind blows and the waves beat; it is better than idly strolling in a courtyard. We must act in the revolutionary spirit of daring to go against the tide, advance in the teeth of storms and, under the leadership of the Party Central Committee headed by Chairman Mao, carry the struggle to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius through to the end.

(“Renmin Ribao” editorial, February 2)

Peking Review Index   |  Chinese Communism  |  Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung