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 Cadres Must Be Treated Correctly

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Source: Peking Review, No. 10,March 3, 1967
Transcribed for www.wengewang.org


HOW cadres should be treated is an important and key question in the struggle by the great alliance of the proletarian revolutionaries, under conditions of the dictatorship of the proletariat, to seize power from a handful of persons in the Party who ore in authority and taking the capitalist rond.
   We must treat the cadres correctly in line with Mao Tse-tung's thought and the Party policy on cadres that Chairman Mao has consistently advocated. Only in this way will we be able to establish the core of leadership In the struggle to seize power, bring into being the great alliance of proletarian revolutionaries, form "three-in-one" provisional organs of power truly capable of exercising leadership, and establish or improve the particular bodies to lead the cultural revolution and to lead production and work, so as to grasp all kinds of work and truly take power in our hands.

Basic Assessment of Our Cadre Force

   The test of the vigorous mass movement of the great proletarian cultural revolution for the past six months and more has proved that most of our cadres are good. In accordance with Chairman Mao's teachings, the editorial of Hongqi, No. 12, 1966, [see Peking Review, No. 39, 1966] entitled "Hold Fast to the Main Orientation in the Struggle" pointed out: "Our country is a state of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Fundamentally, those in power are the proletariat. Most of the cadres who are responsible for leadership at various levels in the various departments of the Party, government and armed forces and in industrial, agricultural, trade, educational and military circles, in general, support the Party and Chairman Mao and resolutely take the socialist road." "Only a handful of counterrevolutionary revisionists who are against the Party, against socialism and against Mao Tse-tung's thought have wormed their way into leading posts in the Party and the state." "These are the basic, objective facts of China's political life. Exactly because of this, our state power of the dictatorship of the proletariat is consolidated. Exactly because of this, it is possible in our country to hold high the great red banner of Mao Tse-tung's thought and score extremely brilliant successes on various fronts in the socialist revolution and socialist construction."
   The facts have shown this basic assessment to be correct. The question of how cadres should be treated in the struggle for the seizure of power by the proletarian revolutionaries must be viewed from this basic assessment.
   It must be soberly recognized that a handful of counter-revolutionary revisionists have indeed usurped Party and political power in some places or some departments and have exercised the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. There i6 a social basis for this handful of persons in the Party who are in authority and taking the capitalist road. They are persons of the Khrushchev type and arc at present our main enemy, the enemy of the proletariat. Unless they are overthrown, our country will change colour and return to colonial, semi-colonial and semi-feudal status. The seizure of power from them is the decisive battle waged by the proletariat against the bourgeoisie. Whoever denies this does not distinguish us from the enemy and negates the great proletarian cultural revolution.
   At the same time, it must also be soberly recognized that most of the cadres are good, and that the alien class elements who have wormed their way into the ranks of the cadres arc very few in number. Most of the cadres who have made mistakes, even serious mistakes, can make amends under the education of the Party and the masses. We must never overestimate the number of persons in authority taking the capitalist road and the alien class elements who have wormed their way into the ranks of the cadres. 11 would also mean not distinguishing ourselves from the enemy and would be very dangerous if the scope of attack were erroneously expanded and the spearhead of struggle were directed against broad mass of cadres.
   In the course of the strong counter-offensive launched against the handful of persons in the Party who are in authority and taking the capitalist road during the past half year and more, a misconception has emerged among some people that all these in authority are no good and unreliable and should therefore, without exception, all be overthrown. This viewpoint is completely wrong. It is contrary to Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tse-tung's thought, and is not justified by the facts.
   Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tse-tung's thought, leaches us that we must make a clear analysis of everything in society. As a matter of course, we must also make a class analysis of the people in authority. A clear distinction must be drawn between the persons in authority belonging to the proletariat and the persons in authority taking the capitalist road. All revolutionary people must resolutely overthrow the handful of persons in authority taking the capitalist road, but firmly support the persons in authority who belong to the proletariat. To refuse to make a class analysis of the persons in authority, and instead to suspect, negate, exclude and overthrow them all indiscriminately is an anarchist trend of thought.
   In the 17 years since the founding of the Peoples Republic of China, the proletarian revolutionary line represented by Chan-man Mao has been in the dominant position and the majority of the cadres and members of the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese Communist Youth League have been carrying out this line. Iron-clad proof of this is provided by the great achievements made on various fronts in the past 17 years. The view of indiscriminately overthrowing all cadres negates the basic facts of the past 17 years and denies the great achievements made in those years.
   The handful of persons in the Party who are in authority and taking the capitalist road and landlords, rich peasants, counter-revolutionaries, bad elements and Rightists clinging to their reactionary stand deliberately confuse the line of demarcation between the persons in authority belonging to the proletariat and the persons in authority taking the capitalist road, between revolutionaries and counter-revolutionaries. They incite the masses to switch the target of their struggle, direct the spearhead of the struggle against those cadres who are good or comparatively good, against Party and Youth League members in these two categories, in a vain attempt to reach their goal of opposing socialism, restoring capitalism, opposing the dictatorship of the proletariat and restoring the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. All revolutionary comrades and all revolutionary mass organizations must maintain high vigilance and never allow themselves to be misled.

Integration of Revolutionary Cadres and Revolutionary Masses

   Experience proves that a provisional organ of power of "three-in-one" combination must be established in those provinces and cities where power must be seized. This provisional "three-in-one" organ of power is formed by leading members of the revolutionary matt organizations that truly represent the brood masses, representatives of the P.L.A. units stationed in those areas and revolutionary leading cadres. In those industrial and mining enterprises where power must be seized, provisional organs of power of the "three-in-one" combination must also be established, integrating revolutionary cadres (leading cadres, ordinary cadres and technical personnel), workers' representatives (veteran workers and young workers) and representatives of the militia. In those Party and government organs where power must be seized, the principle of a combination of revolutionary leading cadres, revolutionary middle-ranking cadres and revolutionary masses must be carried out. In this way, a representative and authoritative leading body can be formed to lead the vast revolutionary masses in successfully accomplishing the fighting task of seizing power from the handful of persons in the Party who are in authority and are taking the capitalist road.
   In establishing a provisional organ of power of "three-in-one" combination, it is, at present, imperative to lay stress on solving the problem of the correct treatment of revolutionary cadres.
   Those leading cadres who follow the proletarian revolutionary line represented by Chairman Mao are treasure of the Party and the people. They may and can become the leading force in the struggle to seize power from the handful of prisons in the Party who are in authority and are taking the capitalist road. These leading cadres should keep in close contact with the masses, pool the wisdom of the broad masses, and stand in the van of the mass movement. The revolutionary masses and the revolutionary mass organizations should support them.
   Chairman Mao has said: "The Chinese Communist Party is a Party leading a great revolutionary struggle in a nation several hundred million strong, and it cannot fulfil its historic task without a large number of lending cadre*; who combine ability with political integrity." This is a great truth which has been proved by the historical experience of the Chinese revolution. Today, we must also have a large number of leading cadres, who combine ability with political integrity, to act as the core of the leadership in the great alliance of proletarian revolutionaries so that we can fulfil the new fighting tasks facing us.
   The revolutionary leading cadres are more mature politically. They have greater organizational skill. They are more experienced in struggle. They have the ability to exercise power and administer work for (he state of the proletariat. Experience proves that with these revolutionary leading cadres in the core of leadership and integrated with the broad revolutionary masses, it will be possible to carry out the struggle to seize power more smoothly, put their power into effect more quickly, grasp both revolution and production effectively, and act in accordance with the Party's policy. On the contrary, if the revolutionary leading cadres are excluded, no powerful core of leadership can be formed, the revolutionary masses and revolutionary mass organizations cannot be joined together into well organized and disciplined revolutionary battalions, with centralized leadership and unified command. Instead, there will be "no leader in a host of dragons" and each and every one of them will go his own way. The handful of persons in the Party who are in authority and are taking the capitalist road will seize the opportunity to make trouble. Under these circumstances, the proletarian revolutionaries will not be able to seize power and exercise it.
   The broad masses of cadres in the Party and government organizations are good and they want to make revolution. The proletarian revolutionaries among them are the main force in the seizure of power in their own departments. They know best whether the power in their own departments should be seized, who the persons in authority taking the capitalist road are and from whom the power should be seized. They are familiar with every kind of work and the conditions of the great proletarian cultural revolution in their own departments and with the conditions of the cadres and the masses there. Therefore in those departments where the power must be seized, it is essential to rely on them and, at the same time, to unite with and help those cadres whose consciousness is still not high in order to win over the great majority. Only in this way is it possible to really seize power from the handful of persons who are in authority and are taking the capitalist road and to do the work well. The revolutionary masses and revolutionary mass organizations from other departments should trust them, support them and give them the necessary assistance instead of excluding them and doing everything Tor them which they themselves should do. In the Struggle to seize power in the Party and government organizations, it is utterly wrong and impracticable that the revolutionary cadres of those departments are excluded and that mass organizations from other departments should take things over instead. It is also utterly wrong and impracticable for the revolutionary mass organizations in these departments to exclude all leading cadres indiscriminately.
   In some localities, a few persons have proposed that "all persons who can be classified as 'leading' cadres should step aside." This view is devoid of class analysis. It counterposes the masses to all cadres. It does not direct its spearhead against, the handful of persons in authority who are taking the capitalist road but against the great number of cadres. It therefore runs counter to the basic spirit of the 16-point decision of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party concerning the great proletarian cultural revolution, to the general orientation of the struggle and to Mao Tse-tung's thought. To do things in this way is objectively helping the class enemy. Those comrades who committed such mistakes unconsciously should immediately correct them. It would be very dangerous for them to persist obstinately in their own view. With regard to comrades who committed such mistakes, provided that they correct them, all revolutionary cadres should welcome them and absolutely should not retaliate against them.
   In his famous essay Some Questions Concerning Methods of Leadership, Chairman Mao pointed out that "however active the leading group may be, its activity will amount to fruitless effort by a handful of people unless combined with the activity of the masses. On the other hand, if the masses alone are active without a strong leading group to organize their activity properly, such activity cannot be sustained for long, or carried forward in the right direction, or raised to a high level." This is a universal truth. This principle of integration of revolutionary cadres and revolutionary masses must also be applied during the current struggle to seize power by the proletarian revolutionaries.
The Policy of "Learning From Past Mistakes to Avoid Future Ones" and "Curing the Sickness To Save the Patient" Should Be Applied to Cadres Who Have Committed Errors
   The policy of "learning from past mistakes to avoid future ones" and "curing the sickness to save the patient," set forth by Chairman Mao, should be applied to cadres who have committed errors. This is the only correct policy, and it is an important development by Chairman Mao of the Marxist-Leninist theory of Party building. Knocking down in one fell swoop all cadres who have made errors runs counter to Marxism-Lenin-ism, Mao Tse-tung’s thought.
   In 1942, Chairman Mao pointed out in his brilliant work Rectify the Party's Style of Work:
   In opposing subjectivism, sectarianism and stereotyped Party writing we must have in mind two purposes: first, "learn from past mistakes to avoid future ones", and second, "cure the sickness to save the patient". The mistakes of the past must be exposed without sparing anyone's sensibilities; it is necessary to analyse and criticize what was bad in the past with a scientific attitude so that work in the future will be done more carefully and done better. This is what is meant by "learn from past mistakes to avoid future ones". But our aim in exposing errors and criticizing shortcomings, like that of a doctor curing a sickness, is solely to save the patient and not to doctor him to death. A person with appendicitis is saved when the surgeon removes his appendix. So long as a person who has made mistakes does not hide his sickness for fear of treatment or persist in his mistakes until he is beyond cure, so long as he honestly and sincerely wishes to be cured and to mend his ways, we should welcome him and cure his sickness so that he can become a good comrade. We can never succeed if we just let ourselves go and lash out at him. In treating an ideological or a political malady, one must never be rough and rash but must adopt the approach of "curing the sickness to save the patient", which Is the only correct and effective method.
   Precisely because our Party implements the policy of "learning from past mistakes to avoid future ones" and "curing the sickness to save the patient," it has been able to engage in ideological struggles correctly and achieve the twofold objective of clarity in ideology and unity among comrades. Likewise, it has been able to carry out Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line and lead the entire people to defeat powerful enemies. This constitutes the most valuable historical experience of our Party. We must bear this experience firmly in mind in the decisive battle now being waged between the two classes, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, and in the struggle of the proletarian revolutionaries to seize power from the handful of persons in the Party who are in authority and taking the capitalist road. We should unswervingly implement the policy of "learning from past mistakes to avoid future ones" and "curing the sickness to save the patient" in dealing with cadres who have erred. We should encourage them to "get rid of the baggage," to free their minds of all misgivings, and come forward to rebel against the handful of persons who are in authority and taking the capitalist road. Only by doing so, shall we be able to unite with the majority, isolate the enemy of the proletariat and defeat the bourgeoisie and its agents in the Party. Otherwise, we ourselves shall be isolated and our proletarian revolution will be in danger of failing.
   In dealing with cadres who have erred, we should view them in accordance with the principle of '"one divides into two," taking into account both their errors and their merits, both their behaviour during the great proletarian cultural revolution and how they have consistently acted over a long period of time. We should judge them by the facts. Chairman Mao teaches us: "We must not confine our judgement to a short period or a single incident in a cadre's life, but should consider his life and work as a whole. This is the principal method of judging cadres." It is a metaphysical approach, an approach opposed to dialectics, to attack someone for a single fault without considering the whole, and to seize only on his mistakes, wilfully exaggerate them and carelessly brand him with unwarranted labels. All revolutionary comrades should avoid such errors and correct them when they occur.
   The policy of "learning from past mistakes to avoid future ones" and "curing the sickness to save the patient" must also be applied in dealing with comrades who implemented the bourgeois reactionary line in the course of the great proletarian cultural revolution. In 1944, Chairman Mao pointed out in the article Our Study and the Current Situation which is of great historic significance:
   In the history of our Party there were great struggles against the erroneous lines of Chen Tu-hsiu and of Li Li-san, and they were absolutely necessary. But there were defects in the methods employed. For one thing, the cadres were not brought to a full ideological understanding of the causes of these errors, the circumstances in which they were committed and the detailed ways and means of correcting them, so that errors of a similar nature came to be repeated; and for another, too much stress was placed on the responsibility of individuals, so that we failed to unite as many people as we could have done for our common endeavour. We should take warning from these two defects. This time, in dealing with questions of Party history we should lay the stress not on the responsibility of certain individual comrades but on the analysis of the circumstances in which the errors were committed, on the content of the errors and on their social, historical and ideological roots, and this should be done in the spirit of "learning from past mistakes to avoid future ones" and "curing the sickness to save the patient", in order to achieve the twofold objective of clarity in ideology and unity among comrades. The adoption of a careful attitude in handling cases of individual comrades, neither glossing things over nor doing harm to comrades, is a sign that our Party is vigorous and flourishing.
   These teachings of Chairman Mao are still applicable today for our dealing with the question of cadres in the struggle between the two lines.
   Generally speaking, the contradictions between cadres who have committed mistakes in line on the one hand, and the Party and people on the other are contradictions among the people. This kind of contradiction must be solved in accordance with the formula set forth by Chairman Mao of "starting from the desire for unity, distinguishing between right and wrong through criticism or struggle and arriving at a new unity on a new basis." These cadres must not be regarded as enemies; they must not be dealt with the way contradictions between ourselves and the enemy are handled.
   Cadres who have committed mistakes should be given the opportunity to admit, criticize and correct them. So long as they make a self-criticism, correct their mistakes and come over to the side of Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line, they can still be given appropriate leading posts. Many of them can even be drawn into the provisional organs of power in the joint seizure of power by the proletarian revolutionaries.
   Even cadres who have committed very serious mistakes should be handled leniently after they are criticized and struggled against. According to Chairman Mao's instruction, they should be allowed to correct their errors and he encouraged to make amends for their crimes by good deeds, unless they are anti-Party, anti-socialist elements who persist in their errors and refuse to correct them after repeated education.
   The policy of "learning from past mistakes to avoid future ones" and "curing the sickness to save the patient" is applicable to cadres at all levels and Communist Party and Communist Youth League members who commit errors, It is also applicable to young fighters. We must note that the young revolutionary fighters have made immortal contributions in the great proletarian cultural revolution. To negate this would be to negate the great proletarian cultural revolution. It is not surprising that some young revolutionary fighters have committed certain mistakes and even serious mistakes. Revolutionary cadres should, warm-heartedly and patiently, educate and help them, guide them in correcting their mistakes and carrying forward their good points, cherish their enthusiasm, enable them to mature more rapidly and healthily, and not simply blame them. It is absolutely impermissible for anybody to use our Party's stress on following the policy of "learning from past mistakes to avoid future ones" and "curing the sickness to save the patient" with regard to cadres who commit mistakes as a pretext to seize hold of the mistakes and shortcomings of young revolutionary fighters and attack them. Here we must be vigilant against the counter-attacks and class retaliation undertaken by the handful of persons in the Party who are in authority and taking the capitalist road and who avail themselves of this opportunity. We must protect the young revolutionary fighters, otherwise we will commit monstrous mistakes.
   We must persistently follow the Party's longstanding policy of "learning from past mistakes to avoid future ones" and "curing the sickness to save the patient," so that by the end of the movement we shall achieve the unity of more than 95 per cent of the cadres and more than 95 per cent of the masses and remain invincible.

Thoroughly Remould One's World Outlook in The Furnace of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution

   The great proletarian cultural revolution is a rigorous test for cadres at all levels. In the current sharp struggle between the two classes and the two lines, cadres at all levels must use Mao Tse-tung's thought as a weapon to remould their world outlook consciously, seriously and constantly. The socialist revolution has now entered a new stage. If they fail to eliminate the bourgeois world outlook in their minds, it will be absolutely impossible for them to stand firmly on the side of socialism and the proletarian revolutionary line represented by Chairman Mao, and they will lose their bearings and go astray.
   At present, the most essential difference between the proletarian world outlook and the bourgeois world outlook finds concentrated expression in the altitude towards the great proletarian cultural revolution and the mass movement in this revolution.
   If one observes things from the bourgeois world outlook, one will take a totally negative attitude towards the great proletarian cultural revolution. Some comrades fail to see clearly the need, importance and urgency of carrying out this revolution and its profound and far-reaching significance. They fail to see clearly the essence and main current of the mass movement. They see only certain shortcomings and errors of the up-and-coming young revolutionary fighters and the revolutionary masses, while failing to see that their general revolutionary orientation is correct This kind of mistake must be corrected.
   In our cadres' ranks there is a group of persons whose world outlook remains basically a bourgeois one. An inescapable fundamental question confronts these cadres, that is, they have to pa*s the test of socialism.
   Comrades who have made contributions to the people in the past must not rest on their past achievements, must not live off their past glory, but must take a correct attitude, take part in the great proletarian cultural revolution and temper themselves and remould their world outlook in the torrent of the mass movement. Only by doing so can they pass the test of socialism well and make new contributions to the people.
   Cadres who have made mistakes must not refuse to remould their world outlook, refuse to accept criticism by the masses or even turn around to attack the revolutionary masses just because the Party has adopted the policy of "learning from past mistakes to avoid future ones" and "curing the sickness to save the patient" towards them. If that is so, the nature of their contradiction with the Party and the masses will gradually change. It will develop from a non-antagonistic contradiction to an antagonistic contradiction and they themselves will become people who are "beyond cure."
   Cadres who have made mistakes should raise their vigilance and make a clean break wilh the handful of persons within the Party who are in authority and taking the capitalist road, make a clean break with the bourgeois reactionary line and stand firmly on the side of the proletarian revolutionary line represented by Chairman Mao, stand on the side of the revolutionary masses and firmly support the great proletarian cultural revolution.
   Veteran cadres should recognize the strong points of the young revolutionary fighters and should not make light of the latter. We believe the young generation nurtured by Mao Tse-tung's thought, will grow up. This is the great hope of our great socialist motherland. Of course, the young revolutionary fighters have their shortcomings and mistakes. They lack experience in struggle, are not yet mature politically and at crucial turning points in the course of the revolution, they frequently cannot see the direction clearly. In the final analysis, the tendencies of departmentalism, "small group" mentality, ultra-democracy, individualism, and anarchism, which have appeared among some young people, all come from a bourgeois world outlook. The young revolutionary fighters, too, must seriously remould their world outlook. This is a painful process of protracted ideological struggle. They must persevere in creatively studying and applying the works of Chairman Mao and remould themselves. Only by doing so will they gradually mature and be able to temper themselves into successors to the revolutionary cause of the proletariat and not be cast aside by the development of history.
   At the key moment in the decisive battle between the two classes, these young people are the very people who have raised the question of , getting rid of "self-interest" and the question of seizing power from the "self-interest" in their own minds as they seize power from the handful of persons within the Party who are in authority and taking the capitalist road. This points out a universal question of primary importance which is applicable to young people as well us to veteran cadres.
   All revolutionary cadres, all cadres who have made mistakes and want to correct them and to make revolution, all young revolutionary fighters, Party and Communist Youth League members, revolutionary masses: let us unite under the great red banner of Mao Tse-tung's thought to form a great alliance of the proletarian revolutionaries and fight for the fulfilment of the great historical task of seizing power from the handful of persons within the Party who are in authority and taking the capitalist road!

("Hongqi" editorial, No. 4, 1967.)
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