[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, Vol. 19, #21, May 21, 1976, pp. 6-10.]
TEN years ago, the May 16 Circular of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China was drawn up under the personal guidance of our great leader Chairman Mao. This brilliant Marxist document sounded the clarion call for the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and illuminated the course of its triumphant advance. Today, having won great victories in the struggle to criticize Teng Hsiao-ping and repulse the Right deviationist wind to reverse correct verdicts, we warmly celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Great Cultural Revolution and restudy the Circular, which gives us a deeper understanding of the necessity and far-reaching significance of the revolution and a greater confidence to persevere in continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The Circular was drawn up in the fierce struggle between the proletarian headquarters headed by Chair man Mao and the bourgeois headquarters with Liu Shao-chi as its chieftain. It incisively criticized Liu Shao-chi’s counter-revolutionary revisionist line, exposed the reactionary essence of the “February Outline Report,”* refuted the fallacies against the Great Cultural Revolution spread by those Party persons in power taking the capitalist road, armed the whole Party with the Marxist-Leninist theory of class struggle and proletarian dictatorship, and called on us to expose and criticize the bourgeois representatives in the Party and seize that portion of leadership they had usurped. The formulation of the Circular proclaimed the bankruptcy of the “February Outline Report.” Since then the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution has been forging ahead vigorously.
Chairman Mao has pointed out: “We couldn’t do without the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.” This great revolution, which had been brewing for a long time, was the inevitable outcome of the acute struggle between the two classes, the two roads and the two lines. For years the renegade, hidden traitor and scab Liu Shao-chi and company had made frenzied efforts to push the counter-revolutionary revisionist line and stubbornly stuck to the capitalist road. They did their utmost to oppose Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line on all fronts: clamouring about capitalists “having merits in carrying out exploitation” and about “consolidating the new-democratic order”; drastically slashing the number of co-operatives and practising san zi yi bao**; lauding to the skies the reactionary films Inside Story of the Ching Court and The Life of Wu Hsun; and resisting the criticism of the play Hai Jui Dismissed From Office. For a period of time Liu Shao-chi’s bourgeois headquarters was in control of Party power and the power in the cultural and propaganda fields and in many localities. Capitalism and revisionism were rampant in the ideological and cultural departments under its control. Hordes of ghosts and monsters came out into the open and filled our press, radio, books and works of literature and art. A grave situation in which the bourgeoisie exercised dictatorship over the proletariat developed in certain spheres in the superstructure. Material incentives and “bonuses in command” were widely practised to lure people to the capitalist road. In a fairly large majority of factories and enterprises, leadership was not in the hands of real Marxists and the masses of workers. Our socialist economic base was not solid. If the Great Cultural Revolution had not taken place, it would not have taken long before a counter-revolutionary restoration on a national scale would inevitably occur, our Party would turn into a revisionist party, and the whole of China would change its political colour.
With great Marxist-Leninist insight, Chairman Mao perceived in good time the grave danger that the capitalist-roaders in the Party were subverting the dictatorship of the proletariat. Chairman Mao pointed out in the Circular. “Those representatives of the bourgeoisie who have sneaked into the Party, the government, the army and various spheres of culture are a bunch of counter-revolutionary revisionists. Once conditions are ripe, they will seize political power and turn the dictatorship of the proletariat into a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.” In the course of the present struggle to beat back the Right deviationist attempt to reverse correct verdicts, Chairman Mao has again pointed out: “You are making the socialist revolution, and yet don’t know where the bourgeoisie is. It is right in the Communist Party—those in power taking the capitalist road. The capitalist-roaders are still on the capitalist road.” In these important instructions, Chairman Mao has profoundly analysed the changes in the class relations and the characteristics of class struggle during the period of socialism, advanced the scientific thesis that the bourgeoisie is in the Communist Party, developed Marxism-Leninism and further clarified for us the orientation for continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat.
In the past decade we have waged struggles against Liu Shao-chi, Lin Piao and Teng Hsiao-ping. All these struggles have proved that the bourgeoisie is indeed inside the Communist Party. The capitalist-roaders in the Party are the bourgeoisie’s main force in its trial of strength with the proletariat and in its efforts to restore capitalism. The crux of the matter here lies in the fact that these capitalist-roaders are persons in power who have sneaked into the very structure of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Chieftains of the revisionist line, like Liu Shao-chi, Lin Piao and Teng Hsiao-ping, hold a very large proportion of the Party and state power. They are thus in a position to turn instruments of the dictatorship of the proletariat into instruments for exercising dictatorship over the proletariat, and they are therefore even more ruthless in their efforts to restore capitalism than the bourgeoisie outside the Party. They could use the power in their hands to recruit deserters and renegades, form cliques to pursue their own selfish interests, rig up a bourgeois headquarters, work out a revisionist line and push it from top to bottom. They could consolidate and extend bourgeois right, protect their own interests, namely, the interests of the “high officials” who practise revisionism, embezzle and squander huge amounts of social wealth, energetically engage in capitalist activities, undermine and disrupt the socialist relations of production. Donning the cloak of Marxism-Leninism and flaunting all sorts of ensigns, they are able to mislead for a time a number of people who lack an understanding of the real situation and do not have a high level of consciousness, deceiving them into following their revisionist line. In short, they are political representatives of the bourgeoisie and, in their trial of strength with the proletariat, they are commanders of all social forces and cliques that resist the socialist revolution and oppose and undermine socialist construction.
Teng Hsiao-ping, the arch unrepentant capitalist-roader in the Party, played the commander’s role in vehemently stirring up the Right deviationist wind which culminated in the counter-revolutionary political incident at Tien An Men Square. Before the Great Cultural Revolution he was the No.2 chieftain of Liu Shao-chi’s bourgeois headquarters. The two bourgeois headquarters of Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao were smashed during the Great Cultural Revolution and, when Teng Hsiao-ping was criticized by the masses, his words flowed in a spate of vows, such as “I’ll mend my ways” and “I’ll never reverse the verdict.” But, once he resumed work and was in power, he threw off his disguise and, with hatred grown tenfold and frenzy increased a hundredfold, brought all his experience in counter-revolutionary political struggle into play, cooking up a programme, preparing public opinion and mounting an organized and planned attack on the Party, with the spearhead directed at our great leader Chairman Mao.
“Take the three directives as the key link”—this was Teng Hsiao-ping’s political programme for reversing correct verdicts and restoring capitalism. Preaching the theory of the dying out of class struggle and the theory of productive-forces, this revisionist programme opposes taking class struggle as as the key link and denies the Party’s basic line and the necessity for the Great Cultural Revolution. Teng Hsiao-ping attempted to make it the “general programme for all work” for a long time to come and to impose it on the whole Party and the people throughout the country in order to pave the way for an all-round restoration of capitalism.
“Seize ideological positions”—this was a move Teng Hsiao-ping took to prepare public opinion for his scheme to reverse correct verdicts and restore capitalism. After he came to power, especially during last July, August and September and afterwards, political rumours were afloat and strange tales passed around here, there and everywhere in society. All these rumours and strange tales originated with Teng Hsiao-ping and were fabricated by Teng’s rumour-mongering company. Teng Hsiao-ping and his followers feverishly created counter-revolutionary public opinions by various base means to hoodwink the people and create splits. In doing this, they spearheaded their attack at the Party Central Committee headed by Chairman Mao and raised a hue and cry to clear the way for Teng Hsiao-ping to usurp the Party leadership and seize state power.
“The first and foremost thing is to grasp leading bodies”—this was the organizational measure Teng Hsiao-ping adopted, in his attempt to reverse correct verdicts and restore capitalism. He opposed the setting up of “three-in-one” revolutionary leading bodies, attacked and pushed aside the old, middle-aged and young cadres who upheld Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line, mustered unrepentant capitalist-roaders and put them in important positions, and knocked together “restorationist legions” in his attempt to reverse correct verdicts and restore capitalism. He did his utmost to keep in the Party renegades and special agents, who had been identified as such during the Great Cultural Revolution, so that they could stage a comeback sometime in the future.
“Carry out all-round rectification”—this was the plan of action Teng Hsiao-ping mapped out for his scheme to reverse correct verdicts and restore capitalism. The moment he issued the order for “rectification,” the sinister wind to reverse correct verdicts sprang up. Through “rectification” he aimed at making a clean sweep of Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line and policies, the achievements of the Great Cultural Revolution and the superiority of the socialist system. The so-called rectification was in essence an attack on the proletariat by the bourgeoisie and an attempt at capitalist restoration.
All these acts by Teng Hsiao-ping were a continuation and development of the reactionary “February Outline Report,” which Chairman Mao had already criticized in the Circular. Teng Hsiao-ping’s “taking the three directives as the key link” is a carbon copy of the revisionist line which the Circular describes as “completely denying that the several thousand years of human history are a history of class struggle,” “completely denying the class struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie, the proletarian revolution against the bourgeoisie and the dictatorship of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie.” The Circular exposes Peng Chen for deliberately spreading rumours to divert people from the target of the struggle and scathingly denounces his “rectification campaign” as one aimed at attacking the proletarian Left and shielding the bourgeois Rightists. Teng Hsiao-ping went still further. His line is a continuation of the counter-revolutionary revisionist line pushed by Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao. If this line were followed, not only would the achievements of the Great Cultural Revolution be nullified but those of the Chinese revolution as a whole would also go by the board. The capitalist road taken by Teng Hsiao-ping would lead back to the semi-colonial and semi-feudal old China and reduce China to an appendage of imperialism and social-imperialism. As Chairman Mao pointed out in the Circular when he criticized the representatives of the bourgeoisie: “They are faithful lackeys of the bourgeoisie and the imperialists. Together with the bourgeoisie and the imperialists, they cling to the bourgeois ideology of oppression and exploitation of the proletariat and to the capitalist system, and they oppose Marxist-Leninist ideology and the socialist system”; “their struggle against us is one of life and death, and there is no question of equality. Therefore, our struggle against them, too, can be nothing but a life-and-death struggle.”
The tremendous historic merits of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution personally initiated and led by Chairman Mao lie in the fact that the scheme of the bourgeoisie inside the Party to restore capitalism was smashed resolutely and in good time, its counter-revolutionary revisionist line was criticized and that portion of the Party and state leadership it had usurped was seized back, thereby ensuring that our country continues to advance along Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line. The Great Cultural Revolution’s merits also lie in solving, in both theory and practice, the cardinal question in the contemporary international communist movement, namely, how to consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat and prevent the restoration of capitalism. Hundreds of millions of workers, peasants and soldiers, revolutionary cadres and revolutionary intellectuals have come to realize ever more deeply that the Great Cultural Revolution “is absolutely necessary and most timely.” They warmly hail: “The Great Cultural Revolution is excellent!” Only unrepentant capitalist-roaders like Teng Hsiao-ping harbour bitter hatred for it. Bent on settling old scores and reversing the correct appraisal of the Great Cultural Revolution, he offended the great majority of people. They do not agree with him nor will they allow him to carry on. “Reversing correct verdicts goes against the will of the people.” The will of the people, the Party and the Party members is for continuing the revolution and against restoration and retrogression. It is precisely for this reason that the great struggle personally initiated and led by Chairman Mao to repulse the Right deviationist attempt to reverse correct verdicts has won the wholehearted support of the entire Party, the whole army and the people throughout the country. The struggle has the full approval of the people and is to their great satisfaction. Those who attempted to reverse correct verdicts and settle old scores were extremely isolated and were soon brought to defeat.
We have won great victories, but the struggle has not come to an end. The struggle to criticize Teng Hsiao-ping’s counter-revolutionary revisionist line must be carried on in depth. We must never slacken our fighting will. The handful of class enemies will not be reconciled to their defeat. Drawing lessons from their failure, they are studying tactics and methods of how to deal with us. The revolutionary people must be soberly aware of this.
Chairman Mao has pointed out: “Lenin spoke of building a bourgeois state without capitalists to safeguard bourgeois right. We ourselves have built just such a state, not much different from the old society: there are ranks and grades, eight grades of wages, distribution according to work, and exchange of equal values.” As long as these conditions still exist, as long as classes, class contradictions and class struggle exist and as long as the influences of the bourgeoisie and international imperialism and revisionism exist, the historical phenomenon that “the capitalist-roaders are still on the capitalist road” will remain for a long time to come. On the first anniversary of the Circular, Chairman Mao gave us this admonition: “The present Great Cultural Revolution is only the first; there will inevitably be many more in the future.” During the current struggle to repulse the Right deviationist attempt to reverse correct verdicts, Chairman Mao has again pointed out: “After the democratic revolution the workers and the poor and lower-middle peasants did not stand still, they want revolution. On the other hand, a number of Party members do not want to go forward; some have moved backward and opposed the revolution. Why? Because they have become high officials and want to protect the interests of the high officials.” “Will there be need for revolution a hundred years from now? Will there still be need for revolution a thousand years from now? There is always need for revolution. There are always sections of the people who feel themselves oppressed; junior officials, students, workers, peasants and soldiers don’t like bigshots oppressing them. That’s why they want revolution. Will contradictions no longer be seen ten thousand years from now? Why not? They will still be seen.” Therefore, we must prepare ourselves ideologically for a protracted struggle against the capitalist-roaders and for continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Chairman Mao said at the beginning of this year: “Without struggle, there is no progress.” “Can 800 million people manage without struggle?!” The ten years of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, was a decade in which we advanced through struggle and brought tremendous changes to our country. Studying Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought in the course of struggle, hundreds of millions of people have greatly raised their consciousness in combating and preventing revisionism and continuing the revolution. Chairman Mao’s Proletarian revolutionary line has found its way even deeper into the hearts of the people. By getting rid of the stale and taking in the fresh, our Party has grown in strength and become more vigorous than ever. Our army has grown stronger, after going through new tests and making fresh contributions to the people in “supporting industry, supporting agriculture, supporting the broad masses of the Left, exercising military control, and giving political and military training.” The militia has contributed to the consolidation of proletarian dictatorship through participation in the struggle to defend the motherland and in class struggle in society. The “three-in-one” combination of the old, middle-aged and young has been adopted in the leading bodies at all levels, and millions upon millions of successors to the proletarian revolutionary cause are steeling themselves and maturing in the course of struggle in accordance with this five requirements put forward by Chairman Mao. The socialist revolution in education, literature and art, medical and health work, science and technology has advanced in giant strides in the course of the acute struggle between the two lines. Vast numbers of educated youth have gone eagerly to settle in the countryside, and cadres at all levels have persevered in taking the May 7 road. The mass movements to learn from Tachai in agriculture and to learn from Taching in industry have surged ahead. Agriculture, industry and the entire national economy are thriving. Our great motherland is a flourishing scene of prosperity. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution has further released the energies of the people in their hundreds of millions. The tremendous impact of this revolution, which is just beginning to show itself, will make itself felt with greater force with the deepening of the revolution.
We must continue our triumphant advance and carry forward the excellent situation. The broad masses of Party members, cadres and other people must conscientiously study Chairman Mao’s important instructions concerning the Great Cultural Revolution and the struggle to repulse the Right deviationist attempt, study the theory of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat, get a clear understanding of the questions of where the bourgeoisie is to be found and enforcing all-round dictatorship over the bourgeoisie, and persist in combating and preventing revisionism and continuing the revolution. We must acquire a profound understanding of the brilliant victories and tremendous significance of the Great Cultural Revolution, wholeheartedly support the socialist new things, and consolidate and develop the achievements of the Great Cultural Revolution. We must deepen the criticism of Teng Hsiao-ping, beat back the Right deviationist attempt to reverse correct verdicts and deal resolute blows at all counter-revolutionary disruptive activities. We must unite over 95 per cent of the cadres and of the masses under the general objective of criticizing Teng Hsiao-ping, and continue to do a good job in the revolution in the superstructure and the economic base. We must “grasp revolution, promote production and other work and preparedness against war” and continuously advance socialist construction in all fields.
The proletariat is full of revolutionary optimism. We have faith in dialectics. We firmly believe that “the supersession of the old by the new is a general, eternal and inviolable law of the universe.” (Mao Tse-tung: On Contradiction.) However many twists and turns there are on the road of revolution and however many ups and downs it encounters, the truth of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought is irresistible and the masses of the people who account for over 95 per cent of the population invariably want revolution. Revolution will inevitably triumph over reaction and the newborn over the decadent—this is a law of history. It is just over a century since the founding of Marxism, and the old world has been shattered to pieces. Today, capitalism and revisionism are declining like “a setting sun in the west wind.” The clowns who go against the tide of history may have their own way for a time but will eventually be swept on to the garbage heap of history by the people. As Marx and Engels stated, “Its [the bourgeoisie’s] fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.” (Manifesto of the Communist Party.) While commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Circular, we are full of revolutionary pride as we look back on the course of struggle of the Great Cultural Revolution, view the excellent situation in which “orioles sing, swallows dart,” and look forward to the bright future when “the world is being turned upside down.” Under the leadership of the Party Central Committee headed by Chairman Mao, we are determined to persevere in taking class struggle as the key link and carry the continued revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat through to the end.
Chairman Mao’s proletarian revolutionary line is invincible, and our advance cannot be stopped!
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution will shine for ever!
(May 16, 1976)
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