Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Chairman Mao's advice to Colombian revolutionaries

 (Translator's Preface: This is taken from Vol 46 of Chairman Mao's Collected Works on the bannedthought website: Adobe Photoshop PDF ( )

Some Experiences of Armed Struggle[1]

5 December 1963


Revolution is always about creating your own experience. In the past, none of us knew how to fight and we were not prepared to go to the mountains to fight as guerrillas. I was in the workers' and peasants' movement, and I was a primary school teacher by profession. But the enemy wanted to capture us and kill us, so we were forced to go to the mountains to fight. No matter how we fought or how we didn't, we never studied. We learned from Chiang Kai-shek and from the enemy and fought for ten years. Later, when the Japanese came in, we learned to fight with them again. I have fought in wars all my life, for 22 years in total. From not having the will to fight to having the will to fight, from not knowing how to fight to learning how to fight.

In armed struggle, we must learn to destroy the enemy. If you can't destroy a hundred of them, you have to destroy fifty of them. As long as their guns and bullets are surrendered, you will not lose money. If you just drive them away, and not destroy them, then it won't work. If we can cut off one finger, we will only have nine fingers left, and if we cut off one more finger, we will only have eight fingers left, and if we cut off one more finger, we will only have seven fingers left. In this way, the enemy will be afraid of us. It is possible to wipe out the enemy one by one and cut off the fingers one by one. This is basically the way to fight a war. To fight a war of annihilation, we have to choose the time and place.

Another point is that armed struggle requires base areas. Without a base area, you cannot even cut off a finger. First of all, we should fight the most loathsome ones, starting with the worst ones, that is, those in power. Those who do not have deep hatred for the peasants can be left untouched for the time being. We can also not distribute land immediately, but first reduce rents and interest rates. Once the base areas are established, we can establish power, peasant associations, youth and women's organisations, production co-operatives and militias. For quite some time, some comrades did not understand this issue and left after the fight, which is called rogueism. They ran around, ate all the pigs and chickens and then left.


Because cities are the strongholds of imperialist aggression, they are not easy to take over at once. Small towns might have been possible, but often the enemy forced us to withdraw even after we had arrived, and this was repeated many times. The main thing is to destroy the enemy's power, without which the place cannot be defended.

In addition, there must be a separate political and economic programme for the countryside, because it is impossible to be very specific in the general programme. Once a base area is established, rents and interest rates can be reduced, but land is not confiscated immediately. If the enemy was too strong to be destroyed at once, or if the guerrillas left, the enemy would kill people and the peasants would not dare to ask for the land. In Cuba, before the victory of the revolution, there was no land distribution in the base areas because they had only been fighting for three years. Our country was so big and the war was so long that we fought for 20 years, so during the war we carried out land reform. This was also after we had won some big battles and had a base of millions of people. You have to do it on a case-by-case basis, combining Marxism-Leninism with your situation.

You must mingle with the people, speak the same language and dress like them, so that they feel that you are a trusted friend. One shortcoming of urban intellectuals, and I myself am no different, is that I am not familiar with the situation in the countryside. At first the peasants did not trust us because they were oppressed by those who were rich. If we did not win the war, they did not trust us either. After we had won the war and treated them as equals, they trusted us.


 There is also the rule of self-reliance, supplemented by international aid. With international aid or without, we have to rely on ourselves. Like in ancient times, they had no foreign support for their armed struggle, and where did they get their weapons? They took them from the enemy. We fought the war with the enemy, we got our guns from the enemy, and we captured many of them and added them to our troops. The enemy's soldiers were trained to fight. Our soldiers were untrained, and if we took some captives, they would have fought. The base area was a school for training cadres. Many of our leaders, such as Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping and many other marshals and generals, did not know how to fight at first, but learnt during the war.

In the past, there were no marshals, generals, colonels or lieutenants, but only commanders, military commanders, divisional commanders, regimental commanders, battalion commanders, company commanders, platoon commanders and squad commanders. Officers were the same as soldiers. But then there were many titles and better clothes than soldiers. I don't think that's good. It's better to be the same as a soldier. I don't live by the title of marshal or general. I am not a marshal or a general, but the Chairman of the Central Committee of the Party, and I should not live on that title. The masses do not care what kind of wealth you have, nor what clothes you wear, but only what policies you have. They don't care what party you are, whether it is the Communist Party or the Guomindang, but if the Communist Party's policies are wrong, they will still scold you. Where does knowledge come from? We are all very stupid. Knowledge comes from the masses. If we don't do research, we don't know anything. This is some of our experience.




[1] Sections 1 to 3 are part of Mao Zedong's conversation with a study delegation from the Colombian "Workers, Students and Peasants Movement".

Thursday, October 06, 2022

Mao Zedong: Xinjiang must do well in economic work and strengthen national unity


(The caption above reads: In 1963, Mao Zedong met with Baoer Khan, Chairman of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and Vice-Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.)

(Translator's preface: Mao Zedong's policy on national minorities consistently held to two central features: [1] that there should be preferential treatment for national minorities; and [2] that in the relations between the majority Han Chinese and Chinese belonging to national minorities, the responsibility lay with the Han Chinese to overcome Han chauvinism and to treat the national minorities with respect. These two aspects can be clearly seen in these excerpts from discussions on the Xinjiang issue. From Vol 46 of the Collected Works of Mao Zedong.)

Xinjiang must do well in economic work and strengthen national unity[1]

 (28 September 1963)

Agriculture, animal husbandry and industry must develop more and more every year, the economy must prosper more and more every year, and the people's lives must improve more and more every year. The development of our economy and the improvement of people's lives must be better than not only during the period of Guomindang rule, but also than in the present Soviet Union. The development of socialist construction requires accumulation, but not too much accumulation; food must be requisitioned, but the task must not be too heavy and the requisition must not be excessive. The people's burden must be eased and their lives improved. The supply of goods to the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, such as cloth, tea, sugar and other daily necessities, should be more adequate than in other regions. The Premier[2] should tell Xiannian[3] to inform him.

To strengthen ideological and political education, Han cadres must learn the language and script of ethnic minorities. We must educate Han cadres and people to strictly abide by the Party's ethnic policy. We must believe in the vast majority of the ministries and people of all nationalities, no matter which nationality they are, as long as they are working people. The Han Chinese working people who have entered Xinjiang must be well settled. The relationship between the working people of the Han Chinese and the working people of the ethnic minorities in Xinjiang must be resolved. Because of the differences in ethnicity, language and living habits, it is necessary to educate Han Chinese working people on ethnic policies, to teach them to respect the customs and habits of ethnic minorities, to mobilise them to learn the languages of ethnic minorities, and to improve relations and solidarity with ethnic minority working people. We need to help solve the marital and other problems of Han Chinese working people who have gone to Xinjiang.


[1] This is part of what Mao Zedong said in September 1963 when he summoned some of his comrades in charge of the Central Committee, including Zhou Enlai and Zhu De, and Wang Enmao, First Secretary of the CPC Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Committee, to discuss the work in Xinjiang.

[2] This refers to Zhou Enlai.

[3] This refers to Li Xiannian.

Sunday, October 02, 2022

Mao Zedong: Depend on ourselves in revolution and construction


(Above: Mao Zedong meets Chairman Aidit of the Indonesian Communist Party on September 3, 1963)

(Translator's preface: This comes from the Collected Works of Chairman Mao, Vol 46.  The Chinese original can be found on

Depend on ourselves in revolution and construction[1]

(September 3, 1963)

We had difficulties for only two and a half years, in 1960, 1961 and the first half of 1962, and things got better in the second half of 1962. Last year we produced more than 10 million tons of grain more than the year before. This year the situation is a little better. Although there have been floods in northern China this year, particularly in Hebei and Henan, the country is likely to produce around 10 million tonnes more grain than last year. Now we are concentrating on cotton, oilseeds, tobacco and sugar. We have found a way. We have had two kinds of experience, the wrong experience and the right experience. The right experience encouraged us, the wrong experience taught us. The Soviet Union withdrew its experts and broke the contracts, which was good for us. We had no choice but to rely on ourselves, on our own two hands. Then the Soviet Union regretted it and wanted to send experts again, to do business with us, but we refused. If they send us more experts, one day they will withdraw them and break the contract. They had lost our trust. It was at this time in 1960 that the Soviets withdrew their experts and now, three years on, we have developed a lot of our own experience in industrial construction. When you leave the master, the student learns on his own. There are advantages and disadvantages to having a teacher. You don't need a teacher. Read, write and think for yourself. This is a truth. From the founding of the Party in 1921 to 1934, we suffered the consequences of having a teacher, who drafted the programme and the resolutions of the Central Committee plenum, especially in 1934, which caused us great losses. Since then, we have learned to think for ourselves. It took us a few years to get to know China. How can Chinese people not understand the situation in China? The real understanding of independence began at the Zunyi Conference, which criticised dogmatism. The dogmatists said that everything was right in the Soviet Union and did not combine the Soviet experience with the Chinese reality. The slogan of combining the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism with Chinese practice was put forward during the Yan'an Rectification. This slogan was included in the Moscow Declaration of 1957, which said that the universal truths of Marxism-Leninism should be combined with the concrete practice of each country. Foreign experience, no matter which country it is, can only be used for reference.

[1] This was part of a conversation between Mao Zedong and a delegation from the Indonesian Communist Party, led by N.D.Adit.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Book review: Mao Zedong: The Stormy Road of his Last Seven Years


A great man in his twilight years: Does a true hero have to be heartless? Surely a real man may love his young son.[1]

(Translator’s note: This book review was posted on the leftist Chinese website, Utopia, on August 30, 2022. It is an appreciation of Mao’s personal character and love for his people.)

At first glance, the title of gives you a sense of its distinctiveness. The so-called "last seven years" refers to the period from Mao Zedong: The Stormy Road of his Last Seven Years 1970 to 1976. It has an extraordinary significance for Chairman Mao personally and for the history of the People's Republic of China as a whole.

From reading the ancient book "old tears and weeping"[2], to watching movies "couldn't hold back the old tears, and the film had to be interrupted", and even "howling and crying" when he heard the great shock[3]. The broad sentiments of the common people are beyond words, and the descendants will surely mourn him even thousands of years later.

Wang Xinde, a member of Chairman Mao's medical team and a specialist in neurology and geriatrics, recalled: "The reports sent in on the earthquake were all personally looked into by the Chairman, despite his personal illness.

“The earthquake killed more than 240,000 people, and the other damage was incalculable. When the secretary reported the extremely heavy damage caused by the earthquake, the Chairman wept - the first time I had seen him bawling in person." It was a really emotional read, tossing and turning.

Does a true hero have to be heartless? Surely a real man may love his young son. Chairman Mao believed in the masses all his life, relied on the masses, emphasized organizing and educating the masses, and maintained a deep and natural affection for the masses. What is more, what about such a rare earthquake? The earth moved, the people suffered, people's livelihoods were difficult, the country's fortunes were up and down, and it was a national tragedy to cry out.

Judging from the author's records, Chairman Mao has a strong affection for Lin Biao, who betrayed the country, for Liu Shaoqi, who did not support the Cultural Revolution, and for Deng Xiaoping, who was removed from office as a capitalist-roader[4]. "Rain will fall, and women will marry. Let him go."[5] This is the helplessness and sadness towards Lin who was repeatedly given opportunities to correct his mistakes. At that time, Chairman Mao was more heartbroken than anyone else.

After reading this book, the vivid image of Chairman Mao's last seven years remains before my eyes and in my heart. Undoubtedly, Chairman Mao was a great man among great men, a man of family and country, with a heart that was endowed with ideals from his youth, and who never wavered in his determination; Chairman Mao was also a warm figure, all poetic, and in his later years he was so emotionally turbulent that a single lyric could make him lose his voice and cry.

Many people are evaluating the merits and faults of Chairman Mao. After reading the book, I feel that the Foolish Old Man[6] Chairman Mao is worthy of the people, he is a party leader who adheres to the party spirit and strictly adheres to the party discipline, at all times and in all places, he is devoted to the people's blood.

In private, from the three 28-year journeys of his life, it is clear that he never thought of himself, and his children were not given special care because of their special status. In his later years, Chairman Mao was alone, but with the building and future of a new China in his heart.

It can be said that the Lin Biao incident dealt a heavy blow to Chairman Mao's expectations of a successor and destroyed his health. The relentless contradictions of ideal and reality, time and space plagued this ageing giant.

Even in his twilight years, even though he was suffering from the loneliness of countless people who did not understand or approve of him, and even though he faced the constant pain of his illness, he was still able to look at his illness with the same determination as a mountain and carry out his heavy and tiring work.

Even with a serious eye disease and a serious decline in physical functions, he still kept on pursuing progress and made time to swim in the sea of learning. This book made me feel deeply the greatness and fearlessness of a soul with its head held high, an unreachable beacon in the history of the human spirit!

I am not so politically savvy, but I am convinced: the study and summing up of his later years will require many generations of calm and serious contemplation.

The greatest feeling one gets from this book is that the reason why Chairman Mao is worshipped by the people like a god is because he had the people in his heart and the suffering people all over the world; that Chairman Mao was loved by the people because he was clothed, fed and housed like the ordinary people, and that he was truly the people's son; that Chairman Mao is loved by the brotherly friendship of the Third World, including Asia, Africa and Latin America, because he understands that true friendship is seen in times of trouble; that Chairman Mao was held in awe by the heads of world powers because of his wisdom and foresight, having seen the world so clearly that, in the words of Nixon's memoirs, "I dared not speak much before him; his eyes seemed to have seen straight through me " and "I was like an erring student. He was like a stern gentleman who did not dare to say much".

This book was written by writer Gu Baozi, whose vision of the red years was always full of passion and dreams. In special times, the leader's attempt is only for a "better life" for the country; "dreams are essentially the predecessor of ideals. It does take a lot to realise that ideal."

This historically rich documentary work objectively portrays Chairman Mao's last seven years of his life, and truly recreates a series of major historical events and state affairs of the Republic from 1970 to 1976.

Based on available historical materials and first-hand materials, the work is written with the same rigour as the creation of historical subjects. "The book is a vivid restoration of the great and ordinary deeds of historical figures such as Chairman Mao and Zhou Enlai, and the death of the first generation of leaders and the crushing of the "Gang of Four".

The book contains nearly 200 rare historical photographs, all taken exclusively by Zhongnanhai photographer Mr Du Xiuxian. Many of these photographs are being published for the first time, and many are restored to colour for the first time. They tell the story of the fate of many political figures, reflecting their flesh-and-blood realities as well as recording the ups and downs of their political careers and journeys. Undoubtedly, "Mao Zedong: The Stormy Road of his Last Seven Years " is a rare documentary with rich illustrations, informative materials, authentic content, vivid and interesting, readable and collectible at the same time.

This is the first book to focus on the last seven years of the great man's life, recalling the stormy years of the Republic and recreating the life of Chairman Mao in his twilight years.

The twilight of a martyr is a magnificent time. The twilight of a great man is also the most glorious and magnificent of all.

Translated from: 伟人迟暮:无情未必真豪杰,怜民如何不丈夫-乌有之乡 (

[1] These are lines from Lu Xun’s poem Riposte to a friend, reflecting his love for the younger generation.

[2] This is a line from the Tang Dynasty poet Du Fu's "Three Songs of Qiang Village". It captures Mao’s response to reading a lament from the past. In mid-1975, Chairman Mao suffered from cataracts and was nearly blind in both eyes. Later, after ophthalmic surgery, he could only see with one eye. One day, the attending physician Tang Youzhi went to visit Chairman Mao and found Chairman Mao holding a book in his hand, and the old man was weeping, but there were no tears because of his eye problems. Chairman Mao was reading the Southern Song Dynasty poet Chen Liang's "Nian Nu Jiao Dengduojing Lou" which expressed sadness at the failure to unify the north and south of China.

[3] This refers to the Tangshan Earthquake.

[4] The author disguises these references to escape detection by algorithmic searches. The three persons are only referred to by their surnames, and the pinyin words “ge” (revolution) and “zi” (capitalist) are used in place of characters: “对于叛国的林,到不支持文ge的刘,包括被作为走zi派罢免职务的邓”.

[5] This fatalistic expression was used by Mao when told of Lin Biao’s flight and attempted escape from China.

[6] If you are unsure of this reference, please see: THE FOOLISH OLD MAN WHO REMOVED THE MOUNTAINS (

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Zhang Jiao: The Theoretical Origins of "Continuing Revolution under the Dictatorship of the Proletariat”

(Translator’s preface: Contemporary Chinese Marxist-Leninist-Maoists are generating a deeper understanding of ideological issues relating to the working class’s loss of power with the restoration of capitalism, and the challenges facing Communists who aim to restore power to the proletariat. This 2021 article is representative of their views.)

I. Stalin's transitional role in the development of theory and his contribution

In the whole history of the development of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, Stalin played a transitional role, which is a major issue and involves the continuity of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. This article will only give a brief overview of Stalin's transitional role in the development of the theory of "continuing revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat" and his contribution to it. The failings of Stalin's theory also reveal the originality of Maoism.

Allow me to quote in full from Stalin's famous essay "On the Danger of the Right Deviation in the Communist Party of the United States":

Under capitalist conditions the Right deviation in communism signifies a tendency, an inclination that has not yet taken shape, it is true, and is perhaps not yet consciously realised, but nevertheless a tendency of a section of the Communists to depart from the revolutionary line of Marxism in the direction of Social-Democracy. When certain groups of Communists deny the expediency of the slogan "Class against class" in election campaigns (France), or are opposed to the Communist Party nominating its own candidates (Britain), or are disinclined to make a sharp issue of the fight against "Left" Social-Democracy (Germany), etc., etc., it means that there are people in the Communist Parties who are striving to adapt communism to Social-Democratism.

A victory of the Right deviation in the Communist Parties of the capitalist countries would mean the ideological rout of the Communist Parties and an enormous strengthening of Social-Democratism. And what does an enormous strengthening of Social-Democratism mean? It means the strengthening and consolidation of capitalism, for Social-Democracy is the main support of capitalism in the working class.

Consequently, a victory of the Right deviation in the Communist Parties of the capitalist countries would lead to a development of the conditions necessary for the preservation of capitalism.

Under the conditions of Soviet development, when capitalism has already been overthrown, but its roots have not yet been torn out, the Right deviation in communism signifies a tendency, an inclination that has not yet taken shape, it is true, and is perhaps not yet consciously realised, but nevertheless a tendency of a section of the Communists to depart from the general line of our Party in the direction of bourgeois ideology. When certain circles of our Communists strive to drag the Party back from the decisions of the Fifteenth Congress, by denying the need for an offensive against the capitalist elements in the countryside; or demand a contraction of our industry, in the belief that its present rapid rate of development is fatal for the country; or deny the expediency of subsidies to the collective farms and state farms, in the belief that such subsidies are money thrown to the winds; or deny the expediency of fighting against bureaucracy by methods of self-criticism, in the belief that self-criticism undermines our apparatus; or demand that the monopoly of foreign trade be relaxed, etc., etc., it means that there are people in the ranks of our Party who are striving, perhaps without themselves realising it, to adapt our socialist construction to the tastes and requirements of the "Soviet" bourgeoisie.

A victory of the Right deviation in our Party would mean an enormous strengthening of the capitalist elements in our country. And what does the strengthening of the capitalist elements in our country mean? It means weakening the proletarian dictatorship and increasing the chances of the restoration of capitalism.

Consequently, a victory of the Right deviation in our Party would mean a development of the conditions necessary for the restoration of capitalism in our country.

Have we in our Soviet country any of the conditions that would make the restoration of capitalism possible? Yes, we have. That, comrades, may appear strange, but it is a fact. We have overthrown capitalism, we have established the dictatorship of the proletariat, we are developing our socialist industry at a rapid pace and are linking peasant economy with it. But we have not yet torn out the roots of capitalism. Where are these roots imbedded? They are imbedded in commodity production, in small production in the towns and, especially, the countryside.

As Lenin says, the strength of capitalism lies "in the strength of small production. For, unfortunately, small production is still very, very widespread in the world, and small production engenders capitalism and the bourgeoisie continuously, daily, hourly, spontaneously, and on a mass scale" (see Vol. XXV, p. 173).

It is clear that, since small production bears a mass, and even a predominant character in our country, and since it engenders capitalism and the bourgeoisie continuously and on a mass scale, particularly under the conditions of NEP, we have in our country conditions which make the restoration of capitalism possible.

Have we in our Soviet country the necessary means and forces to abolish, to eliminate the possibility of the restoration of capitalism? Yes, we have. And it is this fact that proves the correctness of Lenin's thesis on the possibility of building a complete socialist society in the U.S.S.R. For this purpose it is necessary to consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat strengthen the alliance between the working class and peasantry, develop our key positions from the standpoint of industrialising the country, develop industry at a rapid rate, electrify the country, place the whole of our national economy on a new technical basis, organise the peasantry into co-operatives on a mass scale and increase the yield of its farms, gradually unite the individual peasant farms into socially conducted, collective farms, develop state farms, restrict and overcome the capitalist elements in town and country, etc., etc. Here is what Lenin says on this subject:

"As long as we live in a small-peasant country, there is a surer economic basis for capitalism in Russia than for communism. This must be borne in mind. Anyone who has carefully observed life in the countryside, as compared with life in the towns, knows that we have not torn out the roots of capitalism and have not undermined the foundation, the basis of the internal enemy. The latter depends on small-scale production, and there is only one way of undermining it, namely, to place the economy of the country, including agriculture, on a new technical basis, the technical basis of modern large-scale production. And it is only electricity that is such a basis. Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country. Otherwise, the country will remain a small-peasant country, and we have got to understand that clearly. We are weaker than capitalism, not only on a world scale, but also within the country. Everybody knows this. We are conscious of it, and we shall see to it that our economic base is transformed from a small-peasant base into a large-scale industrial base. Only when the country has been electrified, only when our industry, our agriculture, our transport system have been placed upon the technical basis of modern large-scale industry shall we achieve final victory" (Vol. XXVI, pp. 46-47).

It follows, firstly, that as long as we live in a small-peasant country, as long as we have not torn out the roots of capitalism, there is a surer economic basis for capitalism than for communism. It may happen that you cut down a tree but fail to tear out the roots; your strength does not suffice for this. Hence the possibility of the restoration of capitalism in our country.

Secondly, it follows that besides the possibility of the restoration of capitalism there is also the possibility of the victory of socialism in our country, because we can destroy the possibility of the restoration of capitalism, we can tear out the roots of capitalism and achieve final victory over capitalism in our country, if we intensify the work of electrifying the country, if we place our industry, agriculture and transport on the technical basis of modern, large-scale industry. Hence the possibility of the victory of socialism in our country.

Lastly, it follows that we cannot build socialism in industry alone and leave agriculture to the mercy of spontaneous development on the assumption that the countryside will "move by itself" following the lead of the towns. The existence of socialist industry in the towns is the principal factor in the socialist transformation of the countryside. But it does not mean that that factor is quite sufficient. If the socialist towns are to take the lead of the peasant countryside all the way, it is essential, as Lenin says, "to place the economy of the country, including agriculture, on a new technical basis, the technical basis of modern large-scale production."

The right deviation within the party discussed by Stalin is actually the issue of revisionism within the Communist Party. This problem has been around for a long time, starting with the Second International, even though Lenin had renamed the Social Democratic Labour Party the "Communist Party", or if the right-leaning opportunist faction within the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist adopted the guise of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, the problem has always existed. It was the first problem in the development of the communist movement.

Related to this, we would also like to cite two recent achievements of contemporary Marxist-Leninist-Maoists: Chen Bin's "Two Dark Clouds" in the History of the Theory of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, and the first section of "Mao Zedong and Stalin's Views on Class Struggle in Socialist Society" in Zhang Zheng's Some Thoughts on the Theory of Continued Revolution of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.

When Stalin made his report on the new constitution of the USSR at the Supreme Soviet in 1936, after the basic establishment of socialism in the USSR, he openly declared to the world that class contradictions and class struggles no longer existed in the USSR. His main point was as follows: since a socialist social system had been established in the USSR and private ownership of the means of production had been eliminated, only workers, peasants and working intellectuals remained in the USSR, and there were no class contradictions between them. In other words, he believed that class contradictions and class struggles could not arise within a socialist society. The main task of a socialist society was therefore to develop production. This was a view he held throughout his life. But he never denied the existence of class struggles in socialist society, except that he believed that these class struggles were due to the remnants of the old exploiting class or the spies sent by imperialism to cause mischief. That is why he relied mainly on the secret dictatorship to carry out the class struggle and the "great purge".

His claim that "with the triumph of socialism the class struggle will become more and more acute" (in fact his original statement was "the remnants of the class struggle will then take on increasingly acute forms", the preceding sentence being a distortion by Khrushchev. Nor did he ever say that "in a socialist society the class struggle will become more and more violent and widen.") It is in this sense that the more desperate the remnants of the old exploiting classes and imperialism become as a result of the triumph of socialism, the more desperate their destructive actions become.

In fact, Stalin's ideas were the germ of the later "party of the whole people" and "state of the whole people". Moreover, from Hoxha to Kim Jong-il and up to the present Communist Party of China, Stalin's views were actually acknowledged (the Party constitution still says that "class struggle exists within certain limits"!)

And Chairman Mao's view was completely different from Stalin's. Chairman Mao believed that there were class contradictions and class struggles within socialist society. The bourgeoisie was within the Party. It was entirely possible for a new bourgeoisie to arise in a socialist society. The proletariat must take the class struggle as its platform, defeat the capitalists, restrict, reform and eliminate bourgeois right, and continue the revolution in the field of the superstructure and economic base; only in this way can the transition from socialism to communism be completed.

It must be pointed out that the two phenomena of "the party changing its practice" and "the state changing its colour" are different aspects of the same contradiction, and when one side of the contradiction is dominant, it determines the other side of the contradiction. There is no mechanical causality between the two, nor can they be simply classified as mechanical determinism. The broad-left in China often thinks confusedly and goes astray on this issue - in constant despair and in constant emptiness.

Stalin had already recognised the inevitable link between the rightward shift in the party and the restoration of capitalism as his contribution. This has been demonstrated many times in our quotations. But the explanation he gives is one-sided: small production is constantly, daily, spontaneously and in large numbers producing capitalism and the bourgeoisie.

Because his explanation is one-sided, all the prescriptions given are for small production. That is, to use socialist large-scale production to defeat "small production". History has proved that Stalin fell into productivity theory, into mechanical determinism and causality.

At the same time, Stalin's idea of citing "small production" to demonstrate restoration, was also inherited by the Marxist-Leninist-Maoists and carried forward.

For a more comprehensive explanation by the Marxist-Leninist-Maoists, see Comrade Chunqiao's "On Exercising All-Round Dictatorship Over the Bourgeoisie"[1] for details. On the one hand, Comrade Chunqiao also quoted Lenin's exposition on "small production", but what is more original is that he profoundly expounded some of Chairman Mao's thesis:

Comrades may recall how we turned any enterprise owned by bureaucrat capital or national capital into a socialist enterprise. Didn't we do the job by sending a military-control representative or a state representative there to transform it according to the Party's line and policies? Historically, every major change in the system of ownership, be it the replacement of slavery by the feudal system or of feudalism by capitalism, was invariably preceded by the seizure of political power, which was then used to effect large-scale change in the system of ownership and consolidate and develop the new system. Even more is this the case with socialist public ownership which cannot be born under the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Bureaucrat capital, which controlled 80 per cent of the industry in old China, could be transformed and placed under ownership by the whole people only after the People's Liberation Army had defeated Chiang Kai-shek. Similarly, a capitalist restoration is inevitably preceded by the seizure of leadership and a change in the line and policies of the Party. Wasn't this the way Khrushchov and Brezhnev changed the system of ownership in the Soviet Union? Wasn't this the way Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao changed the nature of a number of our factories and other enterprises to varying degrees?[2]

This is a major innovation of Maoism, which allows us to analyse "mass production" from the perspective of class. Is it socialist mass production? Or is it capitalist mass production (i.e. bureaucratic monopoly)? This is a big question of right and wrong. This is where Stalin's theory falls short.

Comrade Chunqiao's incisive analysis was equally endorsed by Chairman Mao:

After the democratic revolution, the workers and poor peasants did not stop, they wanted a revolution. A section of the Party members, on the other hand, did not want to move forward; some of them retreated and opposed the revolution. Why? Having become big officials, they wanted to protect the interests of the big officials. They have good houses, cars, high salaries and waiters, and they are even better than the capitalists. With the socialist revolution they themselves [i.e. the capitalist roaders—Ed.] come under fire. At the time of the cooperative transformation of agriculture there were people in the Party opposed, and when it came to criticizing bourgeois right, they were resentful. You are making the socialist revolution, and yet you don’t know where the bourgeoisie is. It is right inside the Communist Party -those in power taking the capitalist road. The capitalist roaders are still on the capitalist road.[3]

From the restoration process of Chinese revisionism, we can see that "small production" only gave birth to the general bourgeoisie, while the "authorities" formed the bureaucratic monopoly bourgeoisie. ZTE is making waves[4]. And the culprits are definitely those in power who take the capitalist road.

Therefore, Stalin's use of "small production" to explain restoration and prevent restoration is completely putting the cart before the horse. The capitalist roaders can absolutely take "ruthless strikes" against "small production" and destroy "small production" without mercy. But when it comes to "breaking down bourgeois right", they are going to peel off their skins and reveal their hideousness.

II. The originality of Maoist theory

To sum up, we can get a clear insight: "It is a major innovation of Maoism to deal with the emergence of revisionism from the perspective of leadership".

In "A Brief Discussion of Political Parties" we said: "Political parties are as much a product of private ownership as the state, and tautologically, they are a product of class struggle. A study of political parties without an analysis of the class struggle is bound to lead to absurd political conclusions. Political parties, in class society, always manifest themselves as political organisations formed by a certain class or stratum in the class struggle to gain, dominate and retain power (By the Power, Of the Power, For the Power)." In "On Class Struggle, Productive Forces and Relations of Production, Technology" it is mentioned that " Class struggle directly determines history. But the class struggle itself is a product of the contradiction between the productive forces and the relations of production."

These few points above will serve as a laying out of our account of originality.

We believe that it was Chairman Mao who, in a strict and scientific application of the materialist conception of history, drew the only correct conclusion from the experience of his predecessors, both positive and negative: that the restoration of capitalism was the result of the loss of leadership of the proletariat, which was in the hands of those in power on the capitalist road, and that these powers had to be taken back. The change of power, on the other hand, is due to the existence of bourgeois right; nevertheless, we have to keep a country without a bourgeoisie but with a great deal of bourgeois right (an insurmountable historical stage), for which the dictatorship of the proletariat is necessarily consolidated by the repeated struggle for leadership.

Is the word leadership abrupt? Is it not rooted in the general treasury of Marxism? It is not. The essence of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is about leadership. Leadership is the "acquisition, domination and retention of power", and the class struggle is the struggle of different classes for leadership, so the whole process of history is the repeated change of leadership. If we forget who has the leadership, we are forgetting the fundamentals of political struggle.

Therefore, the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat is not a one-off, and the vanguard of the proletariat will continue to lead the people in the "struggle for leadership". In the early years of the dictatorship of the proletariat, a great deal of bourgeois right was retained, so the core of the "struggle for leadership" was to limit or eliminate "bourgeois right". Restoration is not inevitable, but anti-restoration is inevitable, this is the dialectic of history.

Bourgeois right is inevitable at a certain stage in history, but it is also a product of history and will go the other way. In this sense, it is inevitable that mankind will continue its revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat until its ultimate victory. Chairman Mao has scientifically pointed out the actual path of mankind towards communism: the future is bright, the road is tortuous.

Some broad-leftists ignorantly claim that "continuing the revolution" is only something that happens after the proletariat has seized power. This is in fact very wrong. The theory of "continuing revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat" is the latest and most comprehensive exposition of the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat, covering the entire essence of the theory from Marx to Lenin and Stalin. The theory of "continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat" can perfectly guide the proletariat to seize power and consolidate it until its final victory.

Why is this so? Because the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat from Marx to Lenin and Stalin was not complete and could not perfectly explain the phenomenon of the restoration, so in contemporary China it would be impossible to effectively mobilise the people to take up arms in their hands. When the people do not understand much about the restoration, revolutionary mobilisation is not going to convince them, and certainly other opportunist whims are even more difficult to convince. The fundamental reason for the revolutionary downturn in China today is that the people do not have a scientific understanding of the capitalist restoration. The people do not have the ideological weapons to fight against the arbitrary expropriation and mental oppression of the reactionaries for more than 40 years. Therefore, we must instil in them the theory of "continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat" so that they can grasp this theory. Once this spiritual atomic bomb is in their hands, the reactionary faction will be destroyed. This process of enlightenment is also the initiation and launching of the revolution.

On the other hand, the deepest oppression felt by the people in China today is not "hunger", but a state of "powerlessness": because they have no power, they have no rights. For example, they call themselves "fart people"[5], they speak like a fart[6] and live like a fart. Compared to the terms "grass people"[7] and "grassroots", "fart people" is the biggest mockery of the River Crab empire[8]. The bourgeoisie in general, the "broad-right", explains this slightly more accurately than the "broad-left".

If we started our own companies, we'd know the importance of property rights protection. If we were journalists ourselves, we'd know how important freedom of expression is. If we were booksellers, we would know how important freedom of publication is. If we were lawyers, we would know the importance of judicial independence. If we invent, we know the importance of the privatisation of intellectual property. If we work in NGOs, we know the importance of democratic popular self-government. If we live among peasants, we know how much they want ownership of rural land and other natural resources for themselves. If we work in state-owned enterprises, we know how corrupt and inefficient they are. If we work in the import-export trade, we know how precious the right to free trade is. --Yang Peng: "The leftists themselves have to fight for their rights - a response to our friends in Utopia”.[9]

(Note: the general bourgeoisie of the "broad-right" are making superficial statements to conceal their real intention to share "power" with the monopoly bourgeoisie).

The broad-right's judgement of social contradictions is that:

After more than 30 years of market reforms and sustained economic growth, lack of food and clothing is no longer the main source of social conflict. Although the phenomenon of scarcity of private goods still exists in some regions or groups of people, we can say that the time when extreme scarcity of private goods became a major social conflict is over. The end of one major contradiction, however, has given rise to a new major contradiction. 10 years ago, the major contradiction was diluted by "picking up the bowl and eating the meat", while today's major contradiction has been highlighted by "putting down the chopsticks and scolding the mother".[10] Why do people curse when they have had enough? Maybe they hate corrupt officials, maybe they hate judicial corruption, maybe they hate land expropriation, maybe they hate not being able to find a job, maybe they hate having nowhere to complain about their grievances, maybe they hate high fees for education and health care, maybe they hate social insecurity. ...... All these complaints are about the shortage of public goods. What is a public good? Public goods are goods or services that cost taxpayers' tax money and are provided by public authorities to serve the public interest of society. Tangible goods such as national parks, state-owned roads and nature reserves are public goods; so are intangible services such as impartial law, policy and order. Efficient and fair supply of public goods is the basic condition for ensuring harmonious social development. --Yang Peng: "What is the current major contradiction in Chinese society?”

The broad-left's descriptions of the social problems are totally incoherent, always trying to make a nationalist point: China was colonised by the US, China was led down an evil path by the capitalist reformists, there was a traitorous group of compradors in China, etc. We will not go into this again.

Marxist-Leninist-Maoists believe that all the problems in China now are due to the restoration of capitalism. The most striking feature is that the people have been deprived of their "right to lead", because they have no power and therefore no rights. The only way to solve this problem is to take back the leadership. That is to say, to compete with the bourgeoisie for leadership, that is to say, to re-establish the dictatorship of the proletariat, that is to say, to achieve a total dictatorship over the bourgeoisie. Two simple words: " take back the power".

There are many different kinds of "rights": the right to speak, the right to own, the right to live, and so on, but in the end, it is "power". How did the people lose these rights? How can the people regain these rights? Only the theory of "continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat" can explain and answer this.

This is the most significant difference between the contemporary Marxist-Leninist-Maoists and the international and domestic broad-leftists, and is also a vivid manifestation of the originality of the theory of "continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat".

[2] Mao made these comments in early 1976.

[3] Mao also made these remarks in early 1976.

[4] ZTE Corporation is a Chinese partially state-owned but privately-run technology company that specializes in telecommunication. Founded in 1985, ZTE is listed on both the Hong Kong and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges. It operates globally.

[5] “Fart people”, is a new word on the Internet, the same as the English “shitizen”. It refers to ordinary people who have no influence and no importance. "Fart people" gradually replaced "grass people" and became synonymous with ordinary people.

[6] To “fangpi” is both to fart and to speak nonsense.

[7] A self-deprecatory term originating in Confucian times. It meant that the "little people" are like grass, and when the "wind" of the "virtue of a gentleman" blows, they will surely fall down and cannot stand up straight.

[8] The word 河蟹 (héxiè) means “river crab”, and is a homonym for 和谐 (héxié) meaning “harmony”. The capitalist-roaders have imposed a policy of the “harmonious society” on the Chinese people so as to repress any political sensitivities that challenge their rule. In some discussion forums in China, the word harmony itself has become a banned keyword. To circumvent this blockade, netizens replaced it with "river crab" or other homonyms.

[9] The Utopia website was originally established as a website supporting Mao’s policies, but after being closed down several times, it now has a broad-left orientation and survives by falling into line with Xi Jinping’s views.

[10] "Lifting the bowl to eat meat, putting down chopsticks and scolding the mother" is a special phenomenon that appeared after the reform and opening up. It is a phrase used by the right-wing to criticise people who live well but are socially dissatisfied.  They are accused of being ungrateful and of not having a conscience. 

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Zhang Jiao: On leadership and bourgeois right - the theoretical basis for restoration and counter-restoration


(Translator’s preface: This article appeared on the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Masses website on April 21, 2021    张角:论领导权与资产阶级法权——复辟与反复辟的理论依据 - 学习导引 - 马列毛群众 ( . It is a website of the Marxist-Leninist-Maoists, who operate under conditions of repression inside today’s capitalist and social-imperialist China. This article explains Marx’ concept of “bourgeois right” in the context of the struggle between adherents of the socialist and capitalist roads in China.  I have added a couple of footnotes where I though they might be useful.)

I. Introduction

What are the causes of the restoration of capitalism under the dictatorship of the proletariat?

Let us begin with a passage from Comrade Chunqiao, who speaks of both bourgeois right and "leadership".

… it is incorrect to give no weight to whether the issue of ownership has been resolved merely in form or in actual fact, to the reaction upon the system of ownership exerted by the two other aspects of the relations of production — the relations among people and the form of distribution — and to the reaction upon the economic base exerted by the superstructure; these two aspects and the superstructure may play a decisive role under given conditions. Politics is the concentrated expression of economics. Whether the ideological and political line is correct or incorrect, and which class holds the leadership, decides which class owns those factories in actual fact. Comrades may recall how we turned any enterprise owned by bureaucrat capital or national capital into a socialist enterprise. Didn't we do the job by sending a military-control representative or a state representative there to transform it according to the Party's line and policies? Historically, every major change in the system of ownership, be it the replacement of slavery by the feudal system or of feudalism by capitalism, was invariably preceded by the seizure of political power, which was then used to effect large-scale change in the system of ownership and consolidate and develop the new system. Even more is this the case with socialist public ownership which cannot be born under the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Bureaucrat capital, which controlled 80 per cent of the industry in old China, could be transformed and placed under ownership by the whole people only after the People's Liberation Army had defeated Chiang Kai-shek. Similarly, a capitalist restoration is inevitably preceded by the seizure of leadership and a change in the line and policies of the Party. Wasn't this the way Khrushchov and Brezhnev changed the system of ownership in the Soviet Union? Wasn't this the way Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao changed the nature of a number of our factories and other enterprises to varying degrees?--On Exercising All-round Dictatorship Over the Bourgeoisie", in Red Flag, No. 4, 1975.[1]

Chairman Mao's On Contradiction states:  Some people think that this is not true of certain contradictions. For instance, in the contradiction between the productive forces and the relations of production, the productive forces are the principal aspect; in the contradiction between theory and practice, practice is the principal aspect; in the contradiction between the economic base and the superstructure, the economic base is the principal aspect; and there is no change in their respective positions. This is the mechanical materialist conception, not the dialectical materialist conception. True, the productive forces, practice and the economic base generally play the principal and decisive role; whoever denies this is not a materialist. But it must also be admitted that in certain conditions, such aspects as the relations of production, theory and the superstructure in turn manifest themselves in the principal and decisive role. When it is impossible for the productive forces to develop without a change in the relations of production, then the change in the relations of production plays the principal and decisive role. 

Therefore, generally speaking, in socialist societies, power changes hands and the dictatorship of the proletariat becomes the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie because socialist societies have to retain a great deal of bourgeois right, which is reflected in the repeated struggle for leadership in the superstructure. On the other hand, however, only if the proletariat always retains leadership can it gradually limit and even eliminate bourgeois right. Should bourgeois right be extended? Or limit it until it is eliminated? This is the true meaning of the repeated struggle for leadership. The struggle between Chairman Mao and the anti-party groups of Peng Dehuai, Liu Shaoqi, Lin Biao and Deng Xiaoping is a clear manifestation of this struggle. In this sense, leadership determines the historical direction of bourgeois right. For related historical material, see Sun Ling: Prelude to the Continuing Revolution - A Sketch of the Struggle over Political Lines in New China 1949-1965

Therefore, in a socialist society, the basic contradiction between the productive forces and the relations of production is reflected in the contradiction between "bourgeois right" and "leadership". On the one hand, we cannot hope that the development of the productive forces will automatically eliminate bourgeois right; on the other hand, we should not follow the opportunist's leftist but rightist approach and try to abolish bourgeois right in one day. As an aspect of the contradiction, "bourgeois right" contains within it the contradiction of whether to "limit it until it dies" or to "expand it until it is restored". The "leadership", as an aspect of the contradiction, contains within it the contradiction of "who wins or loses between the proletarian command and the bourgeois command". This picture of the class struggle is thus expressed in the five fundamental judgements of contemporary Marxist-Leninists-Maoists as follows:

Socialism is the transitional stage from capitalism to communism. Socialism is a fairly long historical stage in which there are always classes, class contradictions and class struggles, always the struggle between the two paths of socialism and capitalism, always the danger of capitalist restoration, always the threat of subversion and aggression by imperialism. The socialist system (from the economic base to the superstructure) is bound to retain the remnants of capitalism (bourgeois right) for a considerable period of time, and this is bound to give rise to a new bourgeoisie and to political forces that want to restore capitalism, the core of which is the bourgeoisie within the Party (including bureaucratic groups and capitalist groups). The proletariat must therefore continue its revolution, must wage class struggle against the new bourgeoisie, and must do so through a bottom-up revolutionary struggle led by the correct line of the proletarian revolutionary party in order to gradually eliminate the remnants of capitalism (bourgeois right) and eventually transition to communism.

II. "The concept of "bourgeois right”

The concept of "bourgeois right" was unearthed by the great leader Chairman Mao. The grain of truth is found in the writings of the old fathers, Marx and Lenin.

In his Critique of the Gotha Programme, Marx, analysing the principle of the socialist distribution of labour, states: "The same principle prevails as in the exchange of commodity equivalents: a given amount of labour in one form is exchanged for an equal amount of labour in another form." "Hence, equal right here is still in principle – bourgeois right," and " This equal right is an unequal right for unequal labour. It recognizes no class differences, because everyone is only a worker like everyone else; but it tacitly recognizes unequal individual endowment, and thus productive capacity, as a natural privilege. It is, therefore, a right of inequality, in its content, like every right."

In The State and Revolution Lenin says: "…in the first phase of communist society (usually called socialism) "bourgeois law" is not abolished in its entirety, but only in part, only in proportion to the economic revolution so far attained, i.e., only in respect of the means of production. "Bourgeois law" recognizes them as the private property of individuals. Socialism converts them into common property. To that extent--and to that extent alone--"bourgeois law" disappears." "However, it persists as far as its other part is concerned; it persists in the capacity of regulator (determining factor) in the distribution of products and the allotment of labour among the members of society." "In so far as the products are distributed 'according to labour', 'bourgeois right' still reigns." From this Lenin also drew an important conclusion: “Of course, bourgeois law in regard to the distribution of consumer goods inevitably presupposes the existence of the bourgeois state, for law is nothing without an apparatus capable of enforcing the observance of the rules of law. It follows that under communism there remains for a time not only bourgeois law, but even the bourgeois state, without the bourgeoisie!”

In other words, Marx and Lenin were keen to identify "bourgeois right" in the field of distribution, but they had to be sorted out for posterity, because the practice of socialist society was not yet sufficient.

The theoretical contribution of Comrade Zhang Chunqiao lies in the fact that he began to study this subject. It is interesting to note that in his "Do Away With the Ideology of Bourgeois Right"[2] he also started with the "field of distribution", when he analysed the contradiction between the "free supply system" and the "wage system". This is even more vivid than Marx's and Lenin's theses, because the old ancestors did not experience the Chinese New Democratic Revolution, nor did they know that the "free supply system" had long been practised in the ranks of the Red Army and in the revolutionary bases. " After the liberation of the whole country, this kind of use of the "supply system," which served as the distinguishing feature of a military communist life, was still very popular. Referring to the "supply system" is like speaking about the old revolution, the same as speaking about the difficult struggles that people consider glorious. When some young revolutionaries now take part in work, they expect a "supply system," to indicate their similarity to the old comrades, and that they genuinely and sincerely come to the revolution. When comrades used to live under the supply system they did not envy wage labour, and people liked this kind of expression of a living institution of relations of equality. Before long, however, this kind of system was attacked by the ideology of bourgeois right."

Assuming that our ancestors had access to the first-hand materials of the Chinese Revolution, they would have been inundated with treasure. But such time travel could not happen, so Comrade Chunqiao's exploration was particularly valuable. But Chairman Mao, with an even sharper theoretical eye, found great value in this concept, and he criticised Comrade Chunqiao's thesis for "incompletely explaining the historical process", which means that further research is needed on the formation and development of bourgeois right, and on the evolution and direction of bourgeois right.

In November 1958, Chairman Mao organised a number of people to study and discuss Stalin's book The Economic Problems of Socialism in the Soviet Union. In the light of the problems in socialist construction. Stalin discussed three prerequisites for the transition to communism.

1. it is not the mythical "rational organisation" of the productive forces that must be effectively ensured, but the constant growth of social production as a whole, with the growth of the production of the means of production taking priority. The growth of production of the means of production must take priority not only because this production should ensure the equipment needed by its own enterprises and those of all other sectors of the national economy, but also because without this production it would be impossible to achieve expanded reproduction.

2. Collective farm ownership must be raised to the level of universal ownership by means of a gradual transition that benefits the collective farm and therefore society as a whole, and a gradual transition that replaces the circulation of commodities by a system of exchange of products, so that the central power or some other socio-economic centre can take control of all the products of social production for the benefit of society.

3. The culture of society must be developed to the extent that it is sufficient to ensure the full development of all its members, both physically and intellectually, so that all members of society can acquire an education sufficient to become active agents in the development of society, and all are free to choose their occupation and are not tied to one occupation for life because of the existing division of labour.

Chairman Mao's criticism of these three prerequisites was.

"The shortcoming is that a political condition has not been stated and a set of methods has not been used to realize these three conditions. Without political hang-ups, without regular rectification campaigns, without the struggle to gradually break down bourgeois right, without mass movements to run industry, agriculture and culture, without several simultaneous actions, Stalin's three preconditions would not have been easy to achieve." From this, Chairman Mao further clarified, "According to Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, the relations of production include three aspects: ownership, the interrelationship between people in labour production, and the form of distribution. After the socialist transformation, which basically solved the problem of ownership, equal relations between people in labour production would not naturally arise. The existence of bourgeois right must hinder the formation and development of such relations of equality in every way." With regard to this aspect of bourgeois right, Chairman Mao analyzed, "For example, the strict hierarchy, the condescension, the detachment from the masses, the failure to treat people as equals, the reliance on qualifications and power rather than on the ability to work for a living, the cat-and-mouse relationship and the father-son relationship between the cadres and the subordinates, all these things must be broken down, completely broken down." Summing up these analyses, Chairman Mao pointed out that Stalin's book "only talks about economic relations, not about political hang-ups, not about mass movements. ...... does not talk about bourgeois right, does not analyse bourgeois right, what should be broken and how to break it, what should be restricted and how to restrict it."

Chairman Mao's criticism went beyond the "realm of distribution" to talk about bourgeois right, giving us a sense of historical perspective that was of great help to Comrade Chunqiao in writing On Exercising the All-roundl Dictatorship Over the Bourgeoisie.

This was followed by several major theoretical instructions from Chairman Mao during the Cultural Revolution:

Lenin said to build a bourgeois state without capitalists, in order to safeguard bourgeois legal power. We ourselves are building such a state, much like the old society, with hierarchies, with eight grades of wages, distribution according to labour and exchange of equal value. You had to get money to buy rice, coal, oil and vegetables. Eight levels of wages, no matter how few or how many people you have.

Why can't some people see the problem of contradictions in a socialist society clearly anymore? Doesn't the old bourgeoisie still exist? Isn't there a large petty bourgeoisie that everyone can see? Aren't large numbers of unreconstructed intellectuals present? Is not the influence of small production, corruption and speculation everywhere? Aren't Liu, Lin and other anti-Party groups alarming? The problem is that one belongs to the petty bourgeoisie and is prone to right thinking. One represents the bourgeoisie, but says that class contradictions are not clearly seen anymore.

After the democratic revolution, the workers and poor peasants did not stop; they wanted a revolution. And a section of the party members did not want to move forward, some of them backed off and opposed the revolution. Why? Having become big officials, they wanted to protect the interests of the big officials. They have good houses, cars, high salaries and waiters, and they are even better than the capitalists. Some people in the Party had opposed the socialist revolution when it came to their own heads, and they had resented the criticism of bourgeois right. The socialist revolution was carried out without knowing where the bourgeoisie was, it was in the Communist Party, the party in power who were following the capitalist road. The capitalists are still going.

Comrade Chunqiao's "On Exercising All-Round Dictatorship Over the Bourgeoisie" was therefore the most comprehensive of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist theories at the time, a milestone in the development of theory. In this essay, Comrade Chunqiao spoke of both bourgeois right and the "right to leadership", which is an important recapitulation for our detailed discussion of bourgeois right and the "right to leadership" today. We are, so to speak, standing on the shoulders of giants. We will be drawing directly on the lessons learned from the blood of that generation of revolutionaries.

Our enemies have done everything possible to discredit the scientific concept of "bourgeois right". After the Restoration, the "Bureau for the Compilation of the Works of Marx and Lenin", which was revised in mid-1977, concluded that the word "juridical rights" in bourgeois juridical rights, Recht in German and npaBo in Russian, can mean "law" or "rights" respectively; translating it as "legal rights" does not precisely convey its meaning and can easily be misunderstood as "legal rights", or "rights". This is not in line with Marx and Lenin's original meaning, thus causing theoretical confusion and errors. So it was decided to translate it as "bourgeois rights". This ludicrous retranslation is only an attempt to cover up the mistake.

Even if our ancestors did not talk about the concept of bourgeois right, our descendants could have invented it, not to mention the extensive evidence in our previous article. For the sake of the victory of the revolution, our descendants should be "better than blue"[3], and Comrade Chunqiao is a good example of this. With these two famous essays he can be ranked among the classical writers, whereas Kautsky and Plekhanov, who wrote a lot of generalist left-wing works, do not deserve to be called classical writers.

III. Bourgeois Legal Power and the Three Great Differences

On Contradiction states that in every difference in the world there is already a contradiction; the difference is a contradiction. ...... There are differences between workers and peasants, even in Soviet social conditions, and their differences are contradictions, which merely do not intensify into confrontation and do not take the form of class struggle. This passage leads to the basic point that differences are contradictions.

We have already argued that bourgeois right, as an aspect of the fundamental contradiction of socialist society, contains two completely different directions of bourgeois right. If we look at socialist society through the "social microscope" of historical materialism, we first see three sets of contradictions, the "three great differences". In the Soviet Union (1918-1953) and in China (1957-1976), these two specimens of social history show: the difference between workers and peasants, the difference between urban and rural areas, and the difference between manual and mental labour. The latter specimen undertook the great experiment of narrowing the three main differences.

The first set of contradictions: the difference between workers and peasants

The realpolitik strategy for facing the "industrial-agricultural divide" is to make agriculture the foundation and industry the mainstay. This has remained the same in the twenty-first century. In the Soviet Union (1918-1953), the strategy was to develop collective farms and to give priority to heavy industry. In China (1957-1976), the strategy was: agriculture on the basis of food and industry on the basis of steel, dealing with the relationship between the weight of agriculture, light industry and heavy industry.

The rationale for this strategy was that food was the first thing to be taken care of, whether in armed struggle or in production and construction. Some of the raw materials needed by industry also come from agriculture, which in a sense means that industry needs "food". Secondly, agriculture provides an extensive domestic market for industrial goods and meets the basic conditions for expanding production. Finally, the peasantry is a reserve of workers, and as agricultural productivity increases, more labour can be drawn into industry.

The above is a discussion of the interconnectedness of the two opposing sides of the contradiction between the "workers and peasants", i.e. "sameness". The next point is about the "struggle".

The bourgeoisie understands the ratio and balance between "agriculture, light industry and heavy industry" and the importance of "heavy industry". In the Soviet Union (1918-1953), the capitalist-roaders advocated the development of heavy industry at the expense of people's livelihoods, focusing unilaterally on heavy industry at the expense of agriculture and light industry, resulting in insufficient goods on the market and an unstable currency. In China (1957-1976) the capitalist-roaders advocated a formula of "agriculture, light industry and heavy industry" determined by profits. See the material:

Liu Shaoqi’s gang of renegades, hidden traitors and scabs has always opposed the collectivization and mechanization of agriculture in China for the evil purpose of restoring capitalism. First they raised the banner of the reactionary productivity-only theory of the old and new revisionists, advocated "mechanization first, then cooperatisation" and cut down co-operatives in a bid to obstruct and destroy agricultural collectivization; after agricultural cooperatisation had been achieved nationwide, they then spread the rhetoric that "the more people and more land, the less need for mechanisation" and that "intensive farming cannot be mechanized". When the mass movement to reform agricultural tools was on the rise, they appeared as extreme "leftists" again, shouting that the reform of agricultural tools would require "several revolutions a day", in a conspiracy to stifle the agricultural implement reform movement. They took advantage of three years of temporary economic difficulties to kill and slash the agricultural machinery industry and local industries. They also pushed around such black goods as "dictatorship by the state and farming by the peasants", "dictatorship by regulations" and "high degree of monopoly"[4], and were madly opposed to Chairman Mao's revolutionary proletarian line.


It is necessary to criticize the erroneous tendency of focusing on manufacturing while neglecting maintenance, focusing on the main engine while neglecting supporting accessories, focusing on quantity but not focusing on quality, and focusing on use, but not focusing on management, and establish the view of serving the people wholeheartedly. A large number of agricultural machines cannot function because of disrepair or lack of matching sets. In order to repair a piece of agricultural machinery, some poor and lower-middle peasants traveled to many cities and could not buy a spare part. They said angrily: "The yellow ox can be cured, but the iron ox can't be cured." I have to worry about repairing the machine." "Four heavies and four lights"[5] is a manifestation of irresponsibility to the party, the country, and the people; it is a reflection of bourgeois ideas such as "profits in command" and "the theory of supporting agriculture at a disadvantage", and must be thoroughly criticized. (December 3, 1971 "Report of the State Council on Accelerating the Realization of Agricultural Mechanization")

Both the "state pays and the peasants cultivate" and the "four heavies and four lights" reflect the views of the Chinese revisionist reactionaries on agriculture in its infancy (i.e. the capitalist-roaders). They wanted to make profits from agriculture, and "maintenance, spare parts, quality of farm machinery, and management of farm machinery" were all obstacles to profits, which they had to cut out. They wanted to turn peasants into hired labour (including agricultural workers), to turn them into workers (temporary and contract workers) in batches, to sow discord between workers and peasants, to sow discord between new workers and old workers, to sow discord between the masses and to fight the masses, and to achieve modern capitalist mass production.

The proletarian revolutionaries, on the other hand, advocate that agriculture should be the starting point, that agriculture should be given priority, that national economic plans should be arranged in the order of agriculture, light and heavy, that industry should be developed around the needs of agriculture, and that industry should obtain the conditions for its own development by promoting the development of agricultural production. We should combine the development of industry with the development of agriculture, the modernisation of industry with the modernisation of agriculture, and the strengthening of the leading role of the working class with the full play of the role of the peasants as allies, so that the alliance between workers and peasants can be further consolidated and strengthened on the basis of modern socialist mass production.

To sum up, the question is not whether to attach importance to "agriculture, light industry and heavy industry" or to the "four modernizations", but whether to take the socialist road to narrow the "difference between workers and peasants" or to take the capitalist road to widen the contradiction between "workers and peasants". So the "difference between workers and peasants" and the "leadership" themselves interact with each other. This, in turn, proves our "Introduction".

The second set of contradictions: the urban-rural divide

This group of contradictions is linked to the first group of contradictions. Here it refers to the huge differences in the distribution of resources between urban and rural areas, in areas such as education, health care, public facilities and values orientation.

The difference between Marxist-Leninist-Maoists and Pol Pot is that the former believe that the urban-rural divide should be gradually reduced, while the latter formally abolished it by mechanically transferring the urban population. The former believed that both urban and rural areas could be a breeding ground for capitalism, while the latter believed that the city was the only ground for breeding capitalism.

The realistic political strategy to face the "urban-rural divide" was: the May 7th Road, which was modelled on the base areas of the revolutionary war years, where the social division of labour and functions of the workers, peasants, soldiers, academics and businessmen had to interpenetrate each other. The people's communes were to be industrialised and the countryside factoryised. The cities were to provide assistance to the countryside. This included transferring small factories to the countryside, sending intellectuals from the cities to the countryside, providing books and teachers to spread scientific and technological knowledge, training people for the countryside in the factories and schools in the cities, and sending intellectual youth to work in the vast countryside.

Guided by this strategy, China (1957-1976) created a vivid experience that the Soviet Union (1918-1953) did not have:

Firstly, the construction of a rural health care system. The new rural health care system was mainly financed by local funds from communes, brigades and production teams, but support from the central government was also essential for its establishment and functioning. Since 1969, the training programme for rural barefoot doctors has accelerated considerably and by the mid-1970s such barefoot doctors had become the backbone of the rural health care system.

Secondly, half of China's fertilisers were produced by rural factories, and a significant proportion of the rapidly growing agricultural machinery products were also produced by local rural factories. Many small factories in the countryside also produce cement, pig iron, construction materials, electricity, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and a wide range of small consumer goods; more importantly, they had transformed nearly 20 million peasants into full-time or part-time industrial workers in the countryside, according to information.

Both of these were great creations of the Marxist-Leninist-Maoists of the last century.

Yet the above is only one side of the contradiction: the tendency for the urban-rural divide to narrow and the tendency for the socialist factor to increase. The other side of the contradiction lies in the tendency for the urban-rural divide to widen and for the capitalist factor to increase.

Both the capitalist-roaders in the Soviet Union (1918-1953) and the capitalist-roaders in China (1957-1976) sought to exploit the urban-rural divide so that cultural knowledge, literary creation, medical technology, etc. were seen as commodities that demanded high prices from the people. Pursuing "three famouses" and "three highs"[6] they sought the titles of "expert" and "authority", competing for fame in the court and profit in the market. The rural masses were shut out of the doors of cultural and educational positions. The field of literature and art became a place where the poisonous weeds of revisionism grew, schools became the "cradle" for the cultivation of bourgeois spiritual aristocracy, and the health sector served only a few people in the cities.

In response to this trend, Marxist-Leninists-Maoists in China have worked tirelessly to gradually reduce and even abolish the distinction between urban and rural areas. The Shanghai "July 21" Workers' University, the Chaoyang Agricultural College in Liaoning, the Jiangxi Communist Labour University and the Dazhai School are all examples of this. The Chaoyang Agricultural College, for example, not only tilted its resources towards the countryside, but also broke with old traditions and customs ("looking down on peasants and the countryside") in terms of values.

The Chaoyang Agricultural College went against the revisionist educational line of the 17 years and trained more than 16,000 peasants in the form of scientific experimental teams, amateur universities for peasants, short courses, mobile teaching courses, etc. More than 340 graduates from three long-term classes "from the society to the society" went back to the countryside to work as peasants. This new breed of peasants played a great role in breaking the monopoly of knowledge of the bourgeoisie. In the past, in order to improve the production of fruit trees, some communities invited people from all around the country and paid them very well, and they were also treated well with good food and drink. Now that there are graduates, these people can no longer take advantage of the difference between urban and rural areas to create a monopoly.

In other words: the capitalist-roaders advocate exploiting the urban-rural divide to reap excessive profits, while the proletarian revolutionaries advocate tilting resources towards the countryside. The capitalist-roaders advocate using the difference between urban and rural areas to "trap the peasants" and "trade high for high" in a vain attempt to exploit them, while the proletarian revolutionaries advocate gradually making reasonable adjustments to the prices of industrial and agricultural goods and narrowing the "scissors difference". This enabled the peasants to increase their collective accumulation and personal income year by year through increased production and commodity exchange in a normal year, thus further consolidating the workers' and peasants' alliance.

To sum up, the question is not about such empty ideas as "the city feeding the countryside" and "urban-rural integration", but about whether to take the socialist road to narrow the "urban-rural gap" or the capitalist road. The result is the so-called "Three Rural Problems"[7] under the present Chinese government. So, the "urban-rural divide" and the "leadership" themselves interact with each other. This, in turn, proves our "introduction".

The third set of contradictions: the difference between manual and mental work

This set of contradictions is linked to the second set of contradictions. The capitalist-roaders are able to exploit the urban-rural divide to gain a monopoly on knowledge because education, health care, public facilities (including management) and values are the hereditary domain of the bourgeoisie. Marxism-Leninism-Maoism teaches us that the proletariat must not only "expropriate the expropriators" of the possession of material wealth, (Marx: The Civil War in France) but must also "completely deprive the bourgeoisie of its intellectual superiority". (Lenin: "The Present Tasks of Soviet Power") Without this latter "dispossession", the former "dispossession" will not be consolidated either. Chairman Mao pointed out: "Traditionally in China only the landlords have been cultured, the peasants have not. But the culture of the landlords is created by the peasants, because what creates the culture of the landlords is nothing else but the blood and sweat taken from the peasants." (Report on the Study of the Peasant Movement in Hunan) The upside-down history of the spiritual wealth created by the working people but seized by the ruling class must be turned upside down. "The working people must be intellectualised", this is the unstoppable revolutionary torrent.

In a socialist society, the difference between manual and mental labour is reflected in the hierarchy between the leaders and the masses, between the technical managers and the direct producers, and also among the direct producers. In addition, the influence and corruption of the ideology of the bourgeoisie and other exploiting classes. This causes the former (leaders and technical managers) to treat the masses of workers and peasants with arrogance and to despise manual labour; it causes them to breed the idea of hierarchy and privilege, not to treat the masses as equals, to act as lords and to turn comradeship into a relationship of domination and subordination. That is, as Chairman Mao pointed out, "hierarchical, condescending, detached from the masses, not treating people as equals, not living on their ability to work but on qualifications and power, cat-and-mouse and father-and-son relations between cadres and the masses and between superiors and subordinates." For more details, see Chapter 2 of this article (II. The concept of "bourgeois right").

The political strategy to face the "difference between manual and mental labour" was to implement two participations, one reform and three combinations, insisting on the participation of cadres in collective production work, workers in enterprise management, reforming unreasonable rules and regulations, and implementing the combination of workers, cadres and technicians.

Let us take the case of the "Beijing Printing and Dyeing Factory" in China (1957-1976) as an example.

Before the Cultural Revolution, the leading cadres and section cadres of this factory worked on an eight-hour day shift, and no one was on duty at night. When night shift workers encountered urgent problems, they had to knock on the cadres' doors in the middle of the night. Some cadres were not happy when they were woken up and complained that the workers were "making a fuss". In response, the masses were very critical and felt that "cadres and workers are different". After the Cultural Revolution, the factory implemented a system whereby leading cadres and section cadres took turns to follow the three shifts, whether it was the morning shift, the middle shift or the night shift, there were cadres working in the workshop while working, so that many problems could be solved in time. What's more, the majority of cadres have increased their consciousness of "no privilege in politics and no special in life". In the process of working, the majority of cadres constantly criticised and overcame the "superiority theory of leadership", further saw the power of the masses and avoided subjectivism and bureaucracy.

Before the Cultural Revolution, there were few workers among the cadres at all levels in this factory; after the Cultural Revolution, a group of outstanding workers, including mass representatives who did not take off work, joined the factory leadership team and participated directly in the leadership of the enterprise, so that the workers among the leading cadres of the factory and workshops increased to 70 per cent. Before the Cultural Revolution, workers had no right to interfere in the management of the factory; after the Cultural Revolution, a three-tier mass management network was established from the factory, workshops to the work groups, which was combined with professional management, and there were more than 1,000 worker administrators. Before the Cultural Revolution, decisions on important matters in the factory could only be made by a few leading cadres, such as the secretary and the factory manager; after the Cultural Revolution, the workers took various forms, such as investigation groups, "Three Combination" groups, large-character posters and seminars, to exercise revolutionary supervision over the leaders and the factory's major events.

The plant implemented the "Anshan Iron and Steel Constitution", striving to narrow the gap between manual and mental labour, consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat and promoting the flourishing of production. In 1975, the total industrial output value of the plant was more than six times that of 1965, and the funds accumulated for the state in ten years could have been used to build eight factories of the same size.

It is clear from the above cases that the distinction between manual and mental labour cannot be automatically abolished, but can only be restricted by certain institutions until it is extinguished. The capitalist-roaders in China (1957-1976) took advantage of this difference to establish the prejudice that only bourgeois "experts" and "authorities" could manage enterprises, and used "control, cards, pressure and punishment". This sharp confrontation between manual labour and mental labour was the most suitable political ground for them to promote the "profit-oriented" approach. This soil gave birth to a "class of bureaucrats" who rode on the heads of the people and were the vast reserve army of the capitalist-roaders.

In conclusion, the question is not whether the social division of labour between mental and manual work is reasonable at a certain stage in history, but whether the important question is the contradiction between taking the socialist road to reduce the "mental-manual difference" or the capitalist road to widen the "mental-manual difference". What is important is the contradiction between advancing the intellectualisation of the working people (not just intellectual and cultural literacy, but the learning of the working people to run the country) or the perpetuation of the intellectual superiority of the bourgeoisie (including all kinds of management experience). So the "mental-manual difference" and the "leadership" themselves interact with each other. This, in turn, proves our "introduction".

The identity of the three sets of contradictions

In this section we provide an overview of the three sets of contradictions mentioned above.

The three differences are homogeneous, i.e. they affect each other and interpenetrate under certain conditions. Take the example of the oil workers in the Dagang oilfield.

Learning from the fundamental experience of Daqing, the Dagang oilfield firstly strongly advocated that the leading cadres and the workers shared the hardships. At the beginning of the mass campaign, the leading organs at all levels did not live in the towns, did not have buildings, halls, pavilions, or places, but worked in cubicles and huts, and held meetings in straw huts or in the open air. The cadres and workers ate from the same stove, slept in a hut, and studied and talked around a campfire. Where the workers were fighting, the leaders were in command, and what the workers were asked to do, the leaders did first. These measures played a great role in improving relations between the cadres and the group and in revolutionising the thinking of the cadres. Through in-depth criticism of the revisionist programme of building "oil cities" to serve a few people, and in accordance with the principles of integrating workers and peasants, urban and rural areas, and facilitating production and living, conditions were created for family members to participate in agricultural and sideline production work. In doing so, not only did they adhere to the "May Seventh" path guided by Chairman Mao and narrow the differences between cadres and workers within the enterprises, but they also sought to combine agriculture and industry and to gradually eliminate the confrontation between urban and rural areas.

The above examples roughly depict the roadmap that the Great Leader, Chairman Mao, has mapped out for us to narrow the three major differences and make the transition to a communist society. It is foreseeable that the day when the historical phenomenon of the three major differences will disappear is the day when mankind will enter a communist society. Communist society is not unattainable, but highly realistic and operational.


[2] For the full text of Zhang’s article, see: BourgeoisRightWeb (

[3] This is a saying derived from the ancient philosopher Xunzi’s Persuasion. It is often used as a metaphor for students surpassing teachers or descendants surpassing predecessors.

[4] A complaint against the state’s monopoly on grain purchases by those wanting to speculate in the market.

[5] This is a reference to the erroneous tendencies mentioned in this paragraph’s opening sentence.

[6] This is a collective name for famous writers, famous actors, famous professors, and high wages, high remuneration, and high bonuses.

[7] This refers to the issues of agriculture, rural areas and peasants. These had been successfully addressed by the Party prior to the seizure of power by the capitalist-roaders who claim that they are an “inevitable product of the transition from agricultural civilization to industrial civilization”. They say that the three rural problems are “not unique to China, both developed and developing countries have had similar experiences, but developed countries have better solved the "three rural problems". The issue of "three rural areas" was proposed as a concept in China in the mid-1990s and has since been increasingly cited by the media and officials. The problems are seen in the fact that the number of Chinese farmers is large, and the solution is large; that China's industrialization process has advanced unilaterally, and the "three rural" problems have accumulated for a long time and are difficult to solve; and that the negative impact and comparatively few benefits brought about by China's urban policy design have been highlighted in a short period of time, and the solution is said to be very complicated.