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[This unsigned article is reprinted from Peking Review, #8, February 21, 1975, pp. 3-4.]
THE February 9 Renmnin Ribao editorial “Study Well the Theory of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat” (see Peking Review, No. 7, 1975) transmits Chairman Mao’s important instruction on the question of theory: 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 important instruction has received the serious attention of Party members, cadres and the masses. They are conscientiously studying this instruction and enthusiastically discusing it at Party meetings or in study sessions. Some of them are restudying theses on the dictatorship of the proletariat by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin and by Chairman Mao, and some units have drawn up systematic plans for this study. Some places have compiled material on present-day class struggle to facilitate study and discussion.
Everyone realizes that Chairman Mao’s instruction on strengthening the proletarian dictatorship over the bourgeoisie is of great theoretical and practical significance. Workers at Shanghai’s No. 30 Cotton Mill said: Chairman Mao’s latest instruction is his great strategic planning. Its publication is a major event in combating and preventing revisionism, and it calls on us to carry the revolution through to the end. Worker-peasant-soldier students of Peking’s Tsinghua University said that Chairman Mao always keeps in mind the major issue of combating and preventing revisionism. They added that the younger generation must seriously study works by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin and by Chairman Mao, learn from the glorious tradition of the proletarian revolutionaries of the older generation, persevere in carrying the revolution through to the end and live up to the expectations of the Party and the people.
In studying, many comrades said they had fully supported the dictatorship of the proletariat in the past, yet, theoretically, they could not explain very clearly why they should do so. Because of this they sometimes could not distinguish. capitalism from socialism. Some even were deceived and committed errors as a result of the interference of the revisionist line of Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao.
Through the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and the movement to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius, both initiated and led by Chairman Mao, the comrades said that they have reached a deeper understanding of the need for strengthening the dictatorship of the proletariat. Chairman Mao now has issued the call to clarify the question of exercising dictatorship over the bourgeoisie. This means that everyone should have a clear theoretical understanding of this question. This is of great significance to adhering to the Party’s basic line, winning new successes in socialist revolution and socialist construction and continuing the revolution through to the end under the dictatorship of the proletariat. Many comrades have arrived at a profound understanding that there will be no revolutionary action without revolutionary theory. To persist in the Party’s basic line and to continue the revolution, one must have a thorough understanding of the question of proletarian dictatorship over the bourgeoisie.
Many comrades in their study have dwelt on the present excellent situation and the tasks of continuing the revolution. They said that after the basic completion of the socialist transformation of agriculture, handicrafts, industry and commerce, the system of ownership of the means of production has changed in our country. By shattering the two bourgeois headquarters of Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao in the Great Cultural Revolution, great victories have been won. The proletarian dictatorship in our country has been consolidated in an unprecedented manner. But, as Chairman Mao has pointed out, in a socialist country like ours there are still classes and class struggle and there is still the influence of bourgeois ideology. Even now she [China] 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. This provides the soil for the emergence of new bourgeois elements and revisionism, and it would be quite easy for people like Lin Piao to push the capitalist system if they should come to power. During a discussion meeting, Chao Kuan-pin, a veteran worker in the Lanchow Chemical Company, said a condition giving rise to new bourgeois elements is bourgeois rights. If bourgeois rights were not restricted, things like ”material incentives,” ”putting profit in command” and ”free trade” would grow, and that would lead to capitalist restoration. In their study, comrades on the Party committee of Wuhan’s No. 3 State Cotton Mill held that to resist corrosion of the working class by bourgeois ideology, the first thing was for the mill’s Party committee to enhance its consciousness of struggle between the two lines.
People all over the country have initially studied and discussed how to view and how to act towards bourgeois rights and how these rights can be restricted under the dictatorship of the proletariat. They have expressed the desire to make further efforts to study and read well so that they really have a clear understanding of this question, theoretically and ideologically. Only in this way can they enhance their consciousness in carrying out Chairman Mao’s proletarian revolutionary line and various policies.
In the light of their study, some places have begun making investigation and doing research on special subjects so that they can have a rather comprehensive understanding of the situation of the struggle between the two classes, the two roads and the two lines in the economic field and in the superstructure. Many comrades have made up their minds to carry out further investigation and analysis of the question that the overthrown reactionary classes always dream of a come-back, and the major issue that capitalism and the bourgeoisie can be engendered by small production and among a section of workers and Party members, and the phenomenon that the bourgeois way of life will find its way into the ranks of the proletariat and state personnel. They want to do this in order to carry out effectively the struggle against capitalism and the bourgeoisie. Workers at Tientsin’s Water Supply Company held that analysis of the phenomenon of class struggle in conjunction with their study will help increase their ability to resist corrosion by bourgeois ideology, do away with the bourgeois style of work and uphold the new way of the proletariat.
Comrades in various places have stressed the importance of consciously making revolution, the necessity and urgency of studying Marxist theory and taking part in the three great revolutionary movements—class struggle, struggle for production and scientific experiment. Many comrades have expressed their determination to broaden, deepen and persevere in the movement to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius and to carry out socialist revolution well in the superstructure, including all spheres of culture. Party members are setting strict demands on themselves as provided in the Party Constitution. Cadres have pledged to persevere in taking part in collective productive labour and to continually remould their subjective world while transforming the objective world, so as to always maintain their revolutionary vitality.
A nationwide upsurge in studying the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat has emerged.
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