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 Old and New Cadres on Taking Part in Collective Productive Labour

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Source: Peking Review, No. 42, October 18, 1968
Transcribed for www.wengewang.org


    CHAIRMAN MAO has recently pointed out: "Going down to do manual labour gives vast numbers of cadres an excellent opportunity to study once again; this should be done by all cadres except those who are old, weak, ill or disabled. Functioning cadres should also go down in turn to do manual labour."
   Following the publication of this latest instruction of Chairman Mao's, the masses of cadres throughout the country have been discussing and studying it again and again. Those cadres who have gone down to do manual labour are particularly impressed by it. With deep emotion, in the light of their own experience, they have written letters to the press or articles acclaiming its great significance. They say: This is an expression of that deepest concern which Chairman Mao has for the masses of cadres. It once again points out the road for the revolutionization of organizations and of cadres and is a fundamental measure for opposing revisionism and preventing its emergence, consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat and ensuring that our country will never change its political colour. They reaffirm their determination to follow Chairman Mao's teachings, persevere in joining in collective productive labour, become one with the masses of workers and peasants and always maintain the revolutionary qualities of the labouring people.
   In the following, several old and new cadres tell about the experience they have gained in going down to do manual labour.

Wen Jung-hsi, student of the "May 7" Cadre School and former vice-chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Heilungkiang Province:

   I was a shepherd in my childhood. It is Chairman Mao who saved me from untold sufferings. In the past decades, I followed Chairman Mao in making revolution and was never conquered by enemies with Runs in battle. But after I entered the cities, I stayed in offices and had a car for my use. Gradually I forgot Chairman Mao’s teachings and discarded the time-honoured traditions of the revolution. I became divorced from labour and the masses and the process of "peaceful evolution" begun in my head. As a result, I began to slide down a very dangerous road. Again it is Chairman Mao who has saved mo, this time by personally initiating and leading the present great proletarian cultural revolution. Now, the leadership has sent me to study in the "May 7" Cadre School. Though in my fifties, I feel scores of years younger in the school. I feel again the revolutionary vitality and vigour I had back in the days of my youth when I first joined the revolution.
   I have revived and carried forward the revolutionary traditions which I forgot after entering the cities. When I take up the shepherd's whip which I laid down decades ago, deep thoughts and emotions stir me. During those difficult years of the War of Resistance Against Japan and the War of Liberation, the cadres of our Party fought and lived together with the masses and our relations with them were as close as those between fish and water. Finally we defeated our enemies and won the victory. Taking up the whip again today means for me a fresh start in reviving and carrying forward the revolutionary traditions. It encourages me to maintain those traditions and be always a revolutionary. As I drive my flock, climbing mountains and wading rivers, and grazing them from dawn to dusk, I feel I am again following the revolutionary line of Chairman Mao. The further I walk, the closer I feel to Chairman Mao and the deeper are my feelings for the poor and lower-middle peasants.

Lia Chin-fu, head of the Civil Aviation Bureau of Kiangsu Province:

   Early last year, when there was a big increase in the number of passengers and the volume of freight, the Party committee of the bureau put me in charge of the freight transport section. I decided at the time to take part in the actual work of transport so that, on the one hand, I could help the comrades solve certain problems there, and on the other hand, temper myself in the course of labour. At first, the transport workers politely treated me as a bureau "head" and would not let me carry heavy loads. That made me think: Since I came specifically to do manual work why did the workers treat me in this way? Seeking the reasons, I realized that I had not shed my airs. When moving freight, I dressed neatly and did not look like a worker. After that, I made up my mind to follow Chairman Mao's teachings, throw aside my airs and be in fact an ordinary transport worker. Wherever there was hard and heavy work, I went to do it along with my worker comrades.
   In summer last year, the number of passengers and the volume of freight again rose sharply and our airport was very busy. One day at noon, three planes landed on our field. There was a lot of loading and unloading to do. After working the whole morning, I ached all over. After lunch, I had just lain down on my bed for a rest when I heard the noise of the comrades downstairs moving freight. At that moment, a sharp struggle began in my mind. Should I continue to rest or go to work? Having worked all through the morning, I thought, I have every reason to take a rest because of my advanced age and my poor physique compared with the others. But the shouting of the comrades at work and especially their voices reciting quotations from Chairman Mao kept coming to my ears. I could sleep no longer. I immediately got out of bed and hurried downstairs to join the work.
   In tempering myself through labour over a period, I learnt much from the worker comrades. My relations with the masses became closer and my class feeling deeper. When loading or unloading cargo, the transport workers would call to me: "Hi! Take this over there!" or "Bring that over here!" None of us stand on ceremony. All are on intimate terms with each other. When we worked in the cargo holds, I would fan the others when not handling a load, and they would do the same for me when I was working. A small fan cannot lower the temperature much, but we feel happy all the same. Our fanning produces not so much a cool breeze but an interflow of feeling among the labouring people. It is an expression of mutual help and concern among class brothers. It helps us overcome bureaucracy and maintain the fine qualities of the labouring people.
   I came from a poor peasant's family. At 13, I was working as a child-labourer for a capitalist. I joined the army in 194f>. Later on, although I became a cadre, I still lived and fought together with the rank-and-file fighters, so I was able to retain the qualities of a revolutionary fighter. But after entering the cities following the victory of the revolution, when wartime conditions gave way to those of peacetime, my position rose and so did my salary and standard of living. Gradually, in the past decade and more, under the influence of revisionist ideas spread by China's Khrushchov, I became divorced from the labouring masses, and my class feelings for them waned. Then the great proletarian cultural revolution touched me to the soul, and enabled me to return among the rank-and-file fighters. Working together with them much of the time gave me the best opportunity to learn from them again. I am determined to study Mao Tse-tung's thought diligently in the course of doing manual work and try to retain for ever the vigorous revolutionary spirit of -the proletariat
Chen Jung, vice-chairman of the Revolutionary Committee of Huaian County in Hopei Province:
   I used to work among the workers and fight side by side with the broad revolutionary masses. I wore grease-stained overalls. Working, studying and living together with the workers all the time, I had a deep proletarian feeling for them.
   In the great cultural revolution, I became vice-chairman of our county revolutionary committee. With the change in my position, my thinking, too, unconsciously changed.
   For some time, I did mainly desk work and attended many meetings. I took less and less part in manual work and had less contact with the masses. I exchanged my greasy overalls for more expensive clothing. This change caused a great deal of comment among the workers. Some observed: "You're putting on more airs along with your rise in position."
   Then the P.L.A. comrades who had come to help the Left had a talk with me during which they pointed out my fault. At one of the "fight self, repudiate revisionism" meetings, the other members of the standing committee of the county revolutionary committee also criticized me. These criticisms brought the facts home to me. I repeatedly studied Chairman Mao's teaching: "It is necessary to maintain the system of cadre participation in collective productive labour. The cadres of our Party and state are ordinary workers and not overlords sitting on the backs of the people. By taking part in collective productive labour, the cadres maintain extensive, constant and close ties with the working people. This is a major measure of fundamental importance for a socialist system; it helps to overcome bureaucracy and to prevent revisionism and dogmatism."
   This was a big lesson to me. It made me realize keenly that, though there were no more grease stains on my clothes, my mind had become stained with bourgeois ideas. I began to see that living above the masses was the beginning of becoming divorced from them. If it should develop further, I would have become an "official lord" above the heads of the masses. So I again put on my greasy overalls and went to work in the workshop. Seeing this, the workers right away greeted me warmly: "Old Chen, you are back! Fine, let's get to work together like we used to." I said: "I promise always to follow Chairman Mao's teachings and work and make revolution together with you, serve the people wholeheartedly and be a servant of the people all my life."
   All this has made me see clearly that only by constantly taking part in productive labour can our cadres maintain flesh-and-blood ties with the masses, prevent the restoration of capitalism, consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat and ensure that our Party and country never change their political colour.

Tien Ying-feng, vice-chairman of the Revolutionary Committee of Kaiyang County in Kweichow Province:

   As I look back, in the light of Chairman Mao's latest instruction, at the road I have traversed, I feel keenly that the moment we divorce ourselves from manual work, we begin to change our political colour.
   I came from a poor-peasant family. I began to do manual work in my childhood. But after I joined in revolutionary work, over the past decade and more, I did nothing but desk work and took no part in manual work, and my thoughts and sentiments began to change. I gradually forgot the bitter old days when my family used to eat bran and wild vegetables and wear straw sandals. Bourgeois ideas of wanting the best food and clothing grew. Later, I became a standing committee member of the old county Party committee. My "official position" rose, and I put on more airs. I didn't pay attention to what the poor and lower-middle peasants said, and I fell further and further away from them. This led me into committing many mistakes in my work, which caused losses to the revolution.
   As a result of the great proletarian cultural revolution, however, I came to realize that the most important cause of my mistakes was that I had become divorced from manual work and from the masses. One must frequently take part in manual work if one is to make a thoroughgoing change of old ideas and style of work. I therefore applied to move my family to settle in the countryside. The provincial revolutionary committee quickly gave its approval.
   In these past few months of studying Chairman Mao's works together with the poor and lower-middle peasants, and living, working and eating with them, I feel the weakening of the old ideas in my mind, and the strengthening of proletarian feelings for the labouring people.
   In the county revolutionary committee, I am responsible for the group which leads production. So I go back to the county office once every fortnight or so to discuss and arrange matters, and then return to my production team to join in manual work. In this way both my work in the revolutionary committee and manual work in the production team are taken care of. Before, when I seldom left the county town, I often felt unsure of things when we discussed problems of work. Now, the poor and lower-middle peasants often raise suggestions and criticisms to me, and tell me what's on their minds, and so I learn a lot of things and hear of problems that I wouldn't have known about sitting in the office. This first-hand information gives me a sure knowledge of things to use in making decisions in arranging work and solving problems. All this shows that taking part in manual labour is not a handicap but, on the contrary, a great help to my work in the county.
  
  
  
  

 
 
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