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Study Well the Theory of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat

[This article is reprinted from Peking Review, #7, Feb. 14, 1975, pp. 4-5.]

OUR great leader Chairman Mao recently gave an important instruction on the question of theory.

Chairman Mao pointed out: Why did Lenin speak of exercising dictatorship over the bourgeoisie? This question must be thoroughly understood. ”Lack of clarity on this question will lead to revisionism. This should be made known to the whole nation.”

This instruction of Chairman Mao’s is of tremendous current significance and far-reaching historical significance for further grasping and implementing the Party’s basic line, for broadening, deepening and persevering in the movement to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius, for waging an effective struggle to combat and prevent revisionism, and for strengthening the revolutionary unity of the people of all nationalities in the country.

It is a basic principle of Marxism that the proletariat must exercise dictatorship over the bourgeoisie after it has seized power. Lenin profoundly elucidated the necessity and the tasks of the dictatorship of the proletariat in his struggle against the revisionism of the Second International. Basing himself on the Marxist theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat, Chairman Mao has summed up the historical experience of the international communist movement and of our Party, advanced the theory of continuing the revolution under ihe dictatorship of the proletariat, and formulated for our Party a basic line for the entire historical period of socialism. The theory of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought on the dictatorship of the proletariat is the beacon light that guides us to success in socialist revolution and socialist construction. We must make a conscientious effort to study it well so as to understand why dictatorship must be exercised over the bourgeoisie, what are the tasks of the proletarian dictatorship and how we should fight for the consolidation of this dictatorship.

The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution initiated and led by Chairman Mao himself is a great practice in continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. We destroyed the bourgeois headquarters of Liu Shao-chi and of Lin Piao and crushed their plots to restore capitalism. In the movement to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius, we have further criticized Lin Piao’s counter-revolutionary revisionist line and its important ideological source, the doctrines of Confucius and Mencius, and have achieved enormous successes. Our proletarian dictatorship is more consolidated than ever. However, there must not be the least let-up on our part. Our fight against revisionism is a protracted struggle, not one or two trials of strength. Our task is to work ceaselessly to dig up the soil that breeds revisionism, a task, as Lenin put it, of creating conditions in which it will be impossible for the bourgeoisie to exist, or for a new bourgeoisie to arise. Obviously, this is a task of unparalleled magnitude.

Marx referred to socialist society in these words: “…just as it emerges from capitalist society; which is thus in every respect, economically, morally and intellectually, still stamped with the birth marks of the old society from whose womb it emerges.” In order to eliminate these birth marks, it is necessary to undertake socialist revolution and construction over a long period. Bourgeois rights inevitably remain in our society. Chairman Mao pointed out: “China is a socialist country. Before liberation she was much the same as capitalism. Even now she practises an eight-grade wage system, distribution to each according to his work and exchange by means of money, which are scarcely different from those in the old society. What is different is that the system of ownership has changed.” Chairman Mao also pointed out: So far as the bourgeois rights are concerned, “these can only be restricted under the dictatorship of the proletariat.” Thus it would be quite easy for people like Lin Piao to push the capitalist system if they should come to power. Therefore, we should read more of the works by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin and by Chairman Mao. We should realize that the period of socialism is a period of struggle between moribund capitalism and nascent communism, and see clearly what is socialism and what is capitalism in both theory and practice. We should realize that harmony as well as contradiction between the relations of production and the productive forces and between the superstructure and the economic base still exist in a socialist country, and pay attention to solving problems in the relations of production and to grasping effectively the socialist revolution in the superstructure. We should bring into play the socialist initiative of the masses of the people and develop the socialist economy with greater, faster, better and more economical results.

Lenin said: “Small production engenders capitalism and the bourgeoisie continuously, daily, hourly, spontaneously, and on a mass scale.” This also occurs among a section of the workers and a section of the Party members. Both within the ranks of the proletariat and among personnel of state organs, there are those who follow the bourgeois style of life. All these run counter to socialism. In our study, we should acquire a deep understanding of the point that the dictatorship of the proletariat must not only suppress the resistance of the overthrown landlord and capitalist classes and guard against subversion and aggression by imperialism and social-imperialism, but must also struggle against the newly engendered bourgeois elements and overcome the corrosion of and influence on the proletariat by the bourgeoisie and the force of habit of the old society. Thus we will more consciously adhere to the socialist road, criticize capitalist tendencies, criticize the bourgeois world outlook, and promote and strengthen the revolutionary unity of the masses.

The attitude towards the dictatorship of the proletariat is the touchstone that distinguishes genuine Marxism from sham Marxism. All revisionists invariably try by hook or by crook to distort, attack and liquidate the dictatorship of the proletariat. They deny that the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie and between socialism and capitalism is the principal contradiction in a socialist society, that the proletariat must exercise all-round dictatorship over the bourgeoisie in the realm of the superstructure, including all spheres of culture, and that the dictatorship of the proletariat should impose necessary restrictions on that part of the bourgeois rights still existing. On this question, some of our comrades, too, have got muddled ideas of one kind or another, and even regard certain capitalist stuff as socialist. Only by reading and studying conscientiously can we distinguish between genuine Marxism and sham Marxism, be sober-minded, uphold the Party’s basic line and policies and persevere in continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Party committees at all levels must, in accordance with Chairman Mao’s instruction, conscientiously grasp the study of the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Leading cadres should be in the van in this study and organize it effectively among Party members, cadres and the masses, and pay attention to giving play to the role of the theoretical contingents and to correctly distinguishing between and handling the two different types of contradictions. The study of the documents of the Fourth National People’s Congress should also be focused on the key question of the dictatorship of the proletariat. We must carry further our criticism of Lin Piao’s reactionary fallacies directed against the dictatorship of the proletariat and make a further analysis of the social base that gave rise to Lin Piao’s revisionist line. We must continue to criticize the doctrines of Confucius and Mencius, study the history of the struggle between the Confucian and the Legalist schools and of class struggle as a whole and sum up the historical experience so as to deepen our understanding of the dictatorship of the proletariat. It is necessary to study how revisionism came to power in the Soviet Union and how the first socialist state degenerated into a social-imperialist state. We must make social investigations, study the current conditions of the struggle between the two classes, the two roads and the two lines in all domains and do a good job of struggle-criticism-transformation on all fronts, bring into play the leading role of the vanguard of the proletariat and see to it that the task of consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat is fulfilled right through to every grass-roots unit.

(”Renmin Ribao” editorial, February 9)

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