[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.]
[This article is reprinted from Peking Review, #13, March 26, 1976, pp. 6-8, 20.
The individual referred to as “the capitalist-roader in the Party who
refuses to mend his ways” is of course Teng Hsiao-ping (Deng Xiaoping).]
THE great struggle initiated and led by our great leader Chairman Mao to beat back the Right de viationist wind to reverse previous correct verdicts is developing soundly in various spheres of the superstructure, including education, science and technology, and art and literature. The spearhead of the criticism is directed at the capitalist-roader inside the Party who refuses to mend his ways, the one who put forward the revisionist programme of “taking the three directives as the key link.” A continuation and deepening of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, this struggle is yet another major trial of strength on the political and ideological front between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, between socialism and capitalism, and between Marxism and revisionism.
Through this struggle, the cadres and masses will certainly receive a profound lesson in Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and further raise their consciousness of class struggle and the struggle between the two lines. Through it our country’s socialist revolution and construction will certainly take a giant stride forward.
The deepening of the revolutionary mass debate has raised a number of thought-provoking questions: Why is it that some people who were revolutionaries in the period of the new-democratic revolution have become capitalist-roaders in the period of the socialist revolution? Why does the capitalist-reader who refuses to mend his ways deny the existence of classes, class contradictions and class struggle in socialist society, oppose taking class struggle as the key link and run counter to the basic line formulated by Chairman Mao for our Party?
We can find the class and ideological origins of the Right deviationist wind by using the Marxist method of class analysis and draw beneficial lessons accordingly.
At the Eighth Plenary Session of the Party’s Eighth Central Committee in 1959, Chairman Mae penetratingly pointed out that Right opportunist elements in the Party had never been proletarian revolutionaries. They were merely bourgeois or petty-bourgeois democrats who had found their way into the proletarian revolutionary ranks. Nor had they ever been Marxist-Leninists, but were fellow-travellers of the Party. The capitalist-roader in the Party who refuses to mend his ways is also one of this kind. When he and other such people joined the proletarian revolutionary ranks, they brought with them the ideology of bourgeois democracy. When they accepted to varying degrees the Party’s minimum programme, that is, the programme of the new-democratic revolution, they did not associate it with the Party’s maximum programme, that is, the winning of socialism and communism. They do not understand the Party’s maximum programme, nor are they prepared to work for its realization. In other words, their world outlook is not a proletarian communist world outlook but a bourgeois one. Furthermore, this bourgeois stand and world outlook have not been remoulded in the course of protracted revolutionary struggles. When the revolution advanced from the stage of the new-democratic revolution to that of socialist revolution, their ideology failed to keep pace with the revolutionary advance. On the contrary, although they had physically entered socialist society, ideologically they were still in the stage of the democratic revolution. This determined their inevitable conflict with and even opposition to the socialist revolution. The bourgeois democratic stand and world outlook represent the bourgeoisie and are the class and ideological origins of the Right deviationist wind to reverse correct verdicts.
The new-democratic revolution and the socialist revolution led by the Chinese Communist Party are two revolutionary stages whose character, targets and tasks are essentially different. The former took place in the old China of semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. The principal contradiction it aimed to resolve was the contradiction between the masses of the people including, workers, peasants, the petty and national bourgeoise on one side and imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism on the other. Therefore, it was anti-imperialist and anti-feudal bourgeois democratic revolution in character. Its task was to strive under the leadership of the proletariat to overthrow the rule of imperialism, the feudal landlord class and the bureaucrat-comprador bourgeoisie in China, and to lead the revolution to socialism.
With the victory of the new-democratic revolution, the character and principal contradiction of the Chinese society changed. The contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie became the principal contradiction in our country. This contradiction not only exists in society at large but is also reflected in the Party. The socialist revolution we are carrying out is a revolution waged by the proletariat against the bourgeoisie and all other exploiting classes. The spearhead of the revolution is directed mainly against the bourgeoisle and against Party persons in power taking the capitalist road. Its task is to replace the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie with the dictatorship of the proletariat, use socialism to defeat capitalism, and through protracted class struggle gradually create conditions in which it will be impossible for the bourgeoisie to exist, or for a new bourgeoisie to arise, and finally eliminate classes and realize communism. The founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 marked the beginning of the socialist revolutionary stage.
If one’s ideology still remains at the old stage and views and treats the socialist revolution from the stand and world outlook of bourgeois democrats, one will become a representative of the bourgeoisie, a capitalist-roader and a target of the socialist revolution.
After the victory of the new-democratic revolution in China, the ideology of some people in the Party remained at the stage of the democratic revolution and they did not want to continue the revolution along the socialist road. Isn’t this true of the capitalist-roader in the Party who refuses to mend his ways? He and his followers are afraid that the socialist revolution will bring them under fire and will affect private ownership, bourgeois right which they cherish, the traditional ideas they want to uphold and their bourgeois class stand and world outlook. They therefore become representatives of the bourgeoisie. The deeper the socialist revolution goes, the sharper becomes the contradiction between them and the revolution and between them and the workers and poor and lower-middle peasants who persevere in continuing the revolution. As the socialist revolution moves forward, they fall back and oppose revolution.
It is precisely the capitalist-roader refusing to mend his ways who opposed agricultural co-operation and the people’s commune and supported “the fixing of farm output quotas for individual households with each on its own.” Later, he set himself up against the Great Cultural Revolution and suppressed the revolutionary mass movement, and now made every effort to reverse correct verdicts and restore capitalism.
Chairman Mao has pointed out: “Revisionism is one form of bourgeois ideology. The revisionists deny the differences between socialism and capitalism, between the dictatorship of the proletariat and the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. What they advocate is in fact not the socialist line but the capitalist line.” (Speech at the Chinese Communist Party’s National Conference on Propaganda Work.)
In terms of ideology and class origin, the bourgeois class stand and world outlook are in accord with revisionism. Opportunism, or revisionism, is a faction and school of thought in the workers’ movement which represents the interests of the bourgeoisie. Its special feature is betrayal of the fundamental interests of the proletariat and capitulation to the bourgeoisie. Revisionists invariably preach class conciliation, the dying out of class struggle and the theory of productive forces from a bourgeois class stand. They invariably use these revisionist fallacies to oppose the class struggle waged by the proletariat against the bourgeoisie, and oppose the dictatorship of the proletariat. From Bernstein and Kautsky to Trotsky and Bukharin, and from Khrushchov and Brezhnev to Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao, all acted in this way. This is true also of the capitalist-roader who has refused to mend his ways. He put forward the revisionist programme of “taking the three directives as the key link” and advocated the theories of the dying out of class struggle and of productive forces to counter the theories of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought on class struggle and the dictatorship of the proletariat. He also used it to interfere with and undermine the movement to study the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the criticism of the novel Water Margin, both initiated and led by Chairman Mao. He also used it to push the revisionist line in various fields. The absurdities, which appeared last year in the educational, scientific and technological fields, in literature and art and other spheres in opposition to Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line, the Great Cultural Revolution and the socialist new things, all stemmed from this revisionist programme. He whose ideology remains in the stage of the democratic revolution, denying the existence of classes, class contradictions and class struggle in the socialist period, is bound to practise revisionism.
Chairman Mao has said: “What ‘taking the three directives as the key link’! Stability and unity do not mean writing off class struggle; class struggle is the key link and everything else hinges on it.” This is a penetrating criticism of the revisionist programme of “taking the three directives as the key link.” We have won great victories in socialist revolution in the past 20 years and more but class struggle has not died out. Members of the defeated class are still around, this class still exists and is still struggling and dreaming of a comeback; the bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie still exist; large numbers of intellectuals who have not been thoroughly remoulded still exist; the force of habit and conventional influences of the small producers still exist and are still engendering the bourgeoisie and capitalism. Are these not facts known to everyone? Were people not greatly shocked at the subversive activities of the anti-Party cliques of Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao, agents of the bourgeoisie inside the Party who attempted to overthrow the dictatorship of the proletariat and restore capitalism? Isn’t the emergence of new bourgeois elements in the Party such as Lin Piao and his like a profound lesson to us? Under such circumstances, how can it be said that class struggle has died out? In putting forward ideas such as “taking the three directives as the key link” and talking of the dying out of class struggle and the theory of productive forces, people like the capitalist-roader in the Party who has refused to mend his ways do not really want to abolish class struggle. What they are really after is to extinguish the struggle waged by the proletariat against the bourgeoisie and fight the proletariat on behalf of the bourgeoisie. They pretend to want stability and unity and to develop production; what they really want is to reject the dictatorship of the proletariat and restore capitalism. Their revisionist line is in fact detrimental to stability and unity and socialist production.
After the victory of the democratic revolution, the issue is whether to stop the revolution at the old stage and not going forward or to persist in making socialist revolution and strive for the goal of communism, that is, whether or not to persevere in making revolution against the bourgeoisie. Herein lies the fundamental difference between proletarian revolutionaries and bourgeois democrats and between Marxists and revisionists. The struggle between the two lines within the Party during the socialist period precisely centres on this issue.
Why does the capitalist-roader in the Party who refuses to mend his ways so resent the Great Cultural Revolution? Why does he regard the socialist new things which have emerged in the Great Cultural Revolution as a thorn in his flesh and something to be got rid of at all costs? Why is he so reluctant to part with the capitalist and revisionist trash which was repudiated in the Great Cultural Revolution, and is so eager to reinstate it? This is because, as Chairman Mao has said, “the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution is in essence a great political revolution carried out under the conditions of socialism by the proletariat against the bourgeoisie and all other exploiting classes.” This great revolution smashed the two bourgeois headquarters of Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao, criticized their revisionist line, brought the capitalist-roaders in the Party under fire, made the bourgeoisie in the Party the target of the revolution, criticized the ideologies of the bourgeoisie and all other exploiting classes, and transformed education, literature and art and other parts of the superstructure not in conformity with the socialist economic base. All these run counter to the bourgeois interests represented by the capitalist-roader in the Party who has refused to mend his ways and to the capitalist road he is so eager to take. Because of this, people like him have inevitably become opponents of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.
The birthmarks of the old society remain in socialist society as is the case with bourgeois right and the three major differences between worker and peasant, between town and country and between manual and mental labour. These provide the soil and conditions for engendering the bourgeoisie and capitalism. The long-term task in the period of socialism is to restrict bourgeois right and gradually wipe out the vestiges of the old society. The deeper the socialist revolution goes, the more imperative it is for us to put forward this task and set about to accomplish it.
Chairman Mao has pointed out: “Our country at present practises a commodity system, the wage system is unequal, too, as in the eight-grade wage scale, and so forth. Under the dictatorship of the proletariat such things can only be restricted. Therefore, if people like Lin Piao come to power, it will be quite easy for them to rig up the capitalist system. That is why we should do more reading of Marxist-Leninist works.” This instruction of Chairman Mao’s reflects the desire and demands of the proletariat and the revolutionary people to push the socialist revolution forward. At the same time it arouses fear and opposition from people whose ideology still remains at the stage of the democratic revolution. They want to retain these fundamental aspects of bourgeois right. These people come out in opposition when the revolution hits them directly by moving to restrict those aspects of bourgeois right which they wish to uphold. Why does this capitalist-roader who refuses to mend his ways hate the socialist new things which restrict bourgeois right in various fields? Why does he censure in every way the criticism of material incentives and of regarding knowledge as private property and other ideas arising from bourgeois right? Why is he so afraid of raising the question of restricting bourgeois right and why is he dead against it? It is because he represents the bourgeoisie and wants to safeguard and strengthen bourgeois right and safeguard and expand the basis on which the bourgeoisie is engendered and survives.
Resentment of and opposition to the socialist revolution stemming from ideology which remains at the stage of the democratic revolution—this is a historical phenomenon which has repeatedly appeared in the Party over the past 20 years and more. For example, our Party in 1953 decided to carry out the policy of planned purchase and marketing, an important step in undertaking socialist revolution and construction. At that time, there were people in the Party who leapt out in firm opposition. They were Communists in name, but spoke out for the urban and rural capitalist forces against the socialist revolution. In the period when agricultural co-operatives were being developed, Liu Shao-chi and his like disbanded large numbers of co-operatives and attacked the movement. What they planned and did was contrary to the wishes and doings of the peasants numbering hundreds of millions. In 1957, when the bourgeois Rightists took advantage of the Party’s rectification drive to launch a wild attack upon the proletariat, there were also people in the Party, who advocated a bourgeois programme in co-ordination with the bourgeois Rightists of that time. In 1959, Peng Teh-huai’s Right opportunism opposed the Party’s general line, negated the great leap forward and the people’s communes. This once again exposed the true colours of those who remained bourgeois democrats. These people, who tried to push forward a capitalist programme and bourgeois slogans in the period of socialist revolution, could not but be washed away by the current of the socialist revolution.
It is by no means strange that, in the period of the socialist revolution, there are still some in the Party whose ideology remains at the stage of the democratic revolution and who deal with things from the standpoint and world outlook of the bourgeoisie. Ours is a great, glorious and correct Party. Under the guidance of our great leader Chairman Mao’s proletarian revolutionary line, the revolution led by the Party has won great victories. But because the Party over a long period in the past led revolutionary movements which were bourgeois democratic in nature, many bourgeois and petty-bourgeois democrats joined the revolutionary ranks and the vanguard of the proletariat. Many who were educated in Marxism-Leninism and were tempered in protracted revolutionary struggles gradually abandoned their bourgeois world outlook and accepted or fostered the proletarian stand and world outlook. But there are still a few who have been profoundly influenced by bourgeois ideology but have not accepted the Party’s education and remoulding, and their stand and world outlook remain unchanged. In socialist society, the bourgeoisie still exists and its ideology will inevitably influence certain people in the vanguard of the proletariat and turn them into bourgeois democrats and revisionists. Their world outlook is bound to find expression stubbornly on political and ideological questions by every possible means. One cannot expect it to do otherwise. When the socialist revolution is rolling forward, there inevitably are people who obstinately want to stop it and turn it back. Such people appeared in the past, are still around at present and will emerge in the future.
The proletarian Party must wage resolute struggles against such attempts to transform the Party and society in the image of the bourgeoisie. With regard to those comrades who have made mistakes, our Party’s consistent policy is: “Learn from past mistakes to avoid future ones and cure the sickness to save the patient.” In the current struggle, we should continue to adhere to this policy, patiently help those comrades who have made mistakes to mend their ways so as to promote unity and do our work well.
Peking Review Index | Chinese Communism | Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung