[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.]

An Important Way to Train Proletarian Cadres

by Miao Pao-tai, Principal of the Liaoning
Provincial May 7 Cadre School

[This article is reprinted from Peking Review, Vol. 19, #21, May 21, 1976, pp. 14-16.]

THE May 7 cadre school is a new-type school and a good form to educate and train proletarian cadres under the guidance of Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line.

A Strategic Measure to Combat and Prevent Revisionism

Chairman Mao has pointed out: “Cadres are a decisive factor, once the political fine is determined.” (The Role of the Chinese Communist Party in the National War.) Proletarian cadres are of great importance to fulfilling the historical mission of the proletariat. This is true both before and after the proletariat has seized political power. After the proletariat has overthrown the bourgeoisie and seized political power, the leadership of the Party and the state must remain in the hands of proletarian revolutionaries, if socialism is to triumph over capitalism and the final goal of communism is to be realized. Otherwise, the revolution will go by the board halfway and political power will again be usurped by the bourgeoisie.

Chairman Mao has time and again admonished us that the principal contradiction in the entire historical period of socialism is the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, the target of the revolution is the bourgeoisie, the main danger is revisionism and the main target of the revolution is those Party persons in power taking the capitalist road. Chairman Mao has pointed out recently: “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.”

The fact that the Soviet Union has degenerated into a social-imperialist country is a bitter historical lesson. In that country, group after group of new bourgeois elements have emerged in Party and government organizations, state-owned enterprises and collective farms. And the Khrushchov-Brezhnev renegade clique is their political representative. These new bourgeois elements engendered in the old soil of capitalism have usurped Party and state power, restored capitalism and turned a socialist country into a social-imperialist one.

Both the Marxist-Leninist theory and historical experience tell us that it is necessary to be always on guard against the danger of capitalist restoration. An important measure is to see to it that personnel of state organizations of the dictatorship of the proletariat do not “transform themselves from the servants of society into the masters of society.” (Introduction by Frederick Engels to Karl Marx’s The Civil War in France.) This is because after the proletariat has seized political power, the Communist Party becomes the ruling Party, and the question of whether our cadres, especially leading cadres who are Party members, are able to correctly look upon the positions, power and benefits the Party and the people have given them is a question of principle concerning whether they will continue the revolution and work for the interests of the vast majority of people. If they regard joining the revolution as an investment and think they are entitled to privileges because of the leading position they hold, or if they try to seek personal gains by hook and by crook, then the higher their positions and the greater their power, the greedier they will become. Such persons will sooner or later become capitalist-roaders.

To ensure that our cadres always retain the fine qualities of ordinary labourers, it is necessary to continuously educate them in Marxism-Leninism and help them remould their world outlook and rid themselves of the influence of old traditions. Chairman Mao has always attached great importance to the education of cadres. He has time and again raised the question of re-educating cadres since the founding of New China. If this question is handled well, our revolutionary cause will have a bright future. But what is the most effective method? Bourgeois “scholastic education” which was criticized by Engels, of course, cannot serve the purpose. A different form must be found. Hence the coming into being of May 7 cadre schools which meet the needs of re-educating cadres in the period of socialism. When China’s first May 7 cadre school was set up in Liuho in 1968, Chairman Mao highly appraised it and gave it warm support. Practical experience over the past eight years has proved that cadres going to the countryside to receive re-education is indeed conducive to raising their consciousness of continuing the revolution, to restricting bourgeois right and to eliminating the soil and conditions for engendering new bourgeois elements among cadres. This is a strategic measure for combating and preventing revisionism.

School for Studying Marxism-Leninism

For many years I have been in charge of the work of educating cadres, serving at one time as the principal of the provincial Party school and holding other posts too. However, prior to the Great Cultural Revolution, I was not very clear about the two-line struggle in this work and did not know how to help the students really grasp Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and not merely learn some Marxist-Leninist phrases by rote. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution posed a sharp question before us: Why is it that some people who have studied Marxist-Leninist works in the Party-led cadre schools turn out to be fervent adherents of the revisionist line and embark on the capitalist road?

During the years of protracted revolutionary struggle in China, Chairman Mao consistently taught us that the study of the universal truth of Marxism should be integrated with the concrete practice of the Chinese revolution, that in the course of studying Marxism and society we should shift our stand and gradually move our feet over to the side of the proletariat, and that we should combine education with productive labour. But, as a result of the interference and sabotage by Liu Shao-chi’s revisionist line after the founding of New China, many of our cadre schools threw to the winds the fine tradition fostered by Chairman Mao and copied everything from the Soviet revisionists. Students at the cadre schools were led astray; they separated themselves from the masses, from practice and from manual labour, studied behind closed doors and shut themselves within four walls for self-cultivation. The result was disgusting in the case of some students: The more books they read the stronger their desire for fame and position became. So, instead of receiving training at the cadre schools in order to serve the people better, they became bourgeois overlords.

Liu Shao-chi’s revisionist line in educating cadres was repudiated in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and Chairman Mao’s line has since been implemented in a better way. Our May 7 cadre school now adheres to the principle that education must serve proletarian politics, and in educational work we take class struggle as the key link and put the emphasis on transforming the students’ ideology. That is to say the primary task of the school is to educate the students in the ideological and political line. To this end, we have organized them to study Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought in the light of class struggle and the two-line struggle in China and in our province today. The students are required to integrate their study of theories with the criticism of revisionism, with the summing up of historical experience and with the remoulding of their own world outlook, so that they can really learn and master Marxism-leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought by combining theory with practice. The criterion for judging the standard of a student is not their ability to memorize and quote phrases from books but their ability to distinguish the Marxist line from the revisionist line in actual struggle and to use Marxist stand, viewpoint and method to solve practical problems.

At present we are criticizing the counter-revolutionary revisionist line of the arch unrepentant capitalist-roader in the Party Teng Hsiao-ping and repudiating his crimes of trying to subvert the dictatorship of the proletariat and restore capitalism. During these criticisms, the students are guided to conscientiously study the Marxist-Leninist theory on proletarian dictatorship and sum up their own experience, both positive and negative, in the two-line struggle. In this way, they have deepened their understanding of the nature, target, tasks and prospects of socialist revolution and enhanced their consciousness of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Combining Education With Material Production

A salient feature and merit of our May 7 cadre school is that the cadres receive re-education through manual labour in accordance with the teaching of Marx and Engels on the combination of education with material production.

The attitude towards manual labour and the labouring people is an important criterion for distinguishing proletarian cadres from bourgeois bureaucrats. The exploiting classes in Chinese history invariably considered that the Confucian and Mencian concept that “those who work with their minds govern, those who work with their hands are governed” was a “universal principle.” They regarded “working with the mind” as the “work of great men” who were born to be nobles and they slandered “working with the hands” as the “work of inferior men” who were born to be lowly. They tried to prove that “it is right to exploit” and “it is right to oppress,” and that exploiters were great men who should rule.

Revolutionary cadres of the proletariat, whatever their rank, are servants of the people and ordinary labourers. Proletarian cadres, however, may degenerate into bureaucrats of the exploiting classes if they should lose the fine qualities of the labouring people, divorce themselves from the masses or ride roughshod over them. It is a matter of cardinal importance that measures are taken to prevent this from happening. In the early years following the establishment of Soviet political power, Lenin praised the communist subbotniks participated [in] by the Communist Party members as something which “has thrown a remarkably strong light on the class character of the state apparatus under the dictatorship of the proletariat.” (A Great Beginning.) Chairman Mao has on many occasions stressed the importance of cadres participating in collective productive labour, pointing out that this is a major measure of fundamental importance for a socialist system.

Through participation in productive labour, students of our May 7 cadre school maintain close ties with the people; this helps to gradually reduce the difference between managerial personnel and producers. No matter what post he held before, a cadre becomes an ordinary labourer once he enters the school. Apart from working in the school, the students go for a period of time to the factories or countryside where they eat, live and work together with the workers or poor and lower-middle peasants, and at the same time make social investigations and receive re-education from the labouring people.

After taking part in manual labour and coming into contact with the workers and peasants, many students have come to the deep understanding that only in this way can they become close friends of the labouring masses. More often than not, some cadres who have more book knowledge think they are wiser than the workers and peasants simply because they have knowledge. This is of course wrong. After tempering themselves in manual labour, their hands have calluses and their feet blisters, and only then do they really understand the great truth that “the masses are the real heroes.” Although some cadres came from the families of labouring people, they are more or less influenced by bourgeois ideas because of long separation from manual labour. Doing manual labour again, they have come to appreciate Marx’s famous remark that manual labour is an effective antiseptic against any social infection.

Restricting Bourgeois Right

Educating cadres in May 7 cadre schools is an effective measure for restricting bourgeois right under the conditions of proletarian dictatorship. It not only meets the needs of the socialist revolution in China at its present stage of development, but conforms to the requirements for realizing the lofty ideal of communism. In his important instruction on the question of the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat, 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.” In socialist China today, bourgeois right has not been completely eliminated with respect to the system of ownership; it still exists to a serious extent in the relations between people and holds the dominant position in distribution. This is the important economic base giving rise to new bourgeois elements. In the distribution of products and in the relations between people, bourgeois right still keeps the people, to varying degrees, within the bourgeois limits of nominal equality but actual inequality. Marxists must take a critical attitude towards bourgeois right which unavoidably exists in the entire historical period of socialism. Only through protracted struggle to restrict bourgeois right in every respect and completely eliminate it can we finally create conditions in which it will be impossible for the bourgeoisie to exist or for a new bourgeoisie to arise and realize communism.

Chairman Mao has always paid great attention to restricting bourgeois right and expanding communist factors. Since the start of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, many outstanding workers and peasants have been promoted to leading positions at various levels; they take a direct part in managing state affairs without divorcing themselves from production. By persistently taking part in collective productive labour, the cadres, though holding leading posts, remain one of the common people. All these are conducive to restricting bourgeois right in the relations between cadres and the masses, to gradually reducing the difference between managerial personnel and producers and to gradually realizing the combination of management with physical labour, as Lenin said.

The reason why May 7 cadre schools are new-type schools for educating and training cadres is that they have, by comparison, more communist factors which restrict bourgeois right in certain respects. A series of changes take place the moment cadres come to a cadre school: Instead of the comparatively easy city life, they live a simple rural life; leading cadres are now ordinary students just like the others; and instead of doing mainly mental work, they now spend part of their time in study and part of their time in physical labour. In these schools, all live in dormitories and eat in mess halls, regardless of their posts or seniority, and they lead a life of “equality between officers and men” as was the case during the years of revolutionary wars. Everyone voluntarily does his level best in productive labour. All this constitutes a telling blow to traditional concepts such as “officials are superior, and commoners are inferior” and ideas of “ranks, grades, fame and gain.” Having tempered themselves in the cadre schools, the students say that they have learnt to work in the communist style, have fewer bourgeois ideas and have enhanced their consciousness in restricting bourgeois right.

It is now eight years since the May 7 cadre schools were set up. Like other socialist new things, they are to be improved and consolidated. Practice has proved that they are full of vitality. The fact that they have been attacked from the day of their birth by the Soviet revisionist renegade clique, Lin Piao and other revisionists like him precisely shows that they are most revolutionary and progressive and they are an important way to train proletarian cadres. We are confident that under the guidance of Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line, these schools will mature steadily and play an ever bigger role in the great struggle to consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat and prevent capitalist restoration.

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