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 A County Revolutionary Committee Having Close Ties With the Masses

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Source: Peking Review, No. 6, February 7, 1969
Transcribed by www.wengewang.org

    A COMPLETELY new atmosphere prevails in Wen-hsien County of Honan Province after valiant battles in the great proletarian cultural revolution over the past two years and more. The creative study and application of Mao Tse-tung's thought has become the first necessity of the county's cadres and poor and lower-middle peasants and every household has set up a Mao Tse-tung's thought study class. Revolutionary mass criticism and repudiation has gone forward in depth and breadth, and the revolutionary mass movement of struggle-criticism-transformation has advanced wave upon wave in the rural areas. The commune members have raised their consciousness of class struggle and the struggle between the two lines to a new high and their outlook has undergone tremendous changes. Through the creative study and application of Mao Tse-tung's thought, the masses have turned their spiritual force into a powerful material force. Relying on their own efforts and pooling their wisdom and strength, they have fought vigorously against nature. In a period of a year and more, they have set up mechanically- and electrically-operated irrigation and drainage facilities all over the county and obtained very rich harvests in grain and cotton.
   Our great leader Chairman Mao teaches us: "Having close ties with the masses is most fundamental in reforming state organs."
   The successes in the county's revolution and production are attributed mainly to the fact that the Wenhsien County Revolutionary Committee, with the help of the representatives of the People's Liberation Army, has firmly carried out Chairman Mao's teaching of having close ties with the masses, closely relied on the poor and lower-middle peasants and given full play to the socialist initiative of the masses.

Firmly Relying on the Poor and Lower-Middle Peasants

   After the county revolutionary committee was established in the storms of class struggle, its leading members still had differences in their understanding of the question of whom to rely on. The overwhelming majority of committee members held that it was necessary to rely firmly on the broad masses of the poor and lower-middle peasants. However, certain members of its standing committee felt that it was only necessary to rely on a former poor and lower-middle peasant organization. Heated arguments took place between those having divergent views, and no one would give in.
   Faced with this problem, the army representatives suggested to the revolutionary committee that it should organize all its members to seriously study the related teachings of Chairman Mao and use Mao Tse-tung's thought to unify the thinking of its leading members. Through their study, the committee members understood that in the countryside the poor and lower-middle peasants follow Chairman Mao's teachings most closely, and that the task of struggle-criticism-transformation cannot be carried out well by merely relying on a section of the poor and lower-middle peasants and it can be accomplished well only by firmly relying on the masses of poor and lower-middle peasants.
   Citing the experience of how the Changkolang Production Brigade of the Chengkuan People's Commune did a good job in purifying the class ranks by relying on the broad masses of the poor and lower-middle peasants, the county revolutionary committee further raised its members' consciousness of relying on the masses of the poor and lower-middle peasants. When one group in this brigade held power, the lid on class struggle could not be lifted and both the tasks of purifying the class ranks and of revolutionary mass criticism and repudiation could not be promptly carried out In the commune, the brigade became known as a unit with "difficult and long-standing problems." The county revolutionary committee discovered this problem. It immediately sent a Mao Tse-tung's thought propaganda team to the brigade. By directly relying on the masses of the poor and lower-middle peasants, calling discussion meetings of veteran cadres who had taken part in land reform, veteran Party members and elderly poor peasants, and mobilizing the masses, the propaganda team helped ferret out the class enemies who had hid themselves deep among the masses. The poor and lower-middle peasants and other revolutionary people thus got united. As a result, this brigade changed from one with "difficult and long-standing problems" into a red banner unit of the commune in studying Mao Tse-tung's thought and in grasping revolution and promoting production. These living facts enabled the members of the county revolutionary committee to understand deeply that only by firmly carrying out Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line, closely relying on the poor and lower-middle peasants, and uniting with the revolutionary masses can the task of struggle-criticism-transformation be successfully fulfilled and all-round victory won in the great proletarian cultural revolution.

Always Taking Root in the Masses

   Should the leading members of the revolutionary committee remain above the masses or take root in the masses? Should they follow the old path of the old county Party committee, sit in the office and direct work by relying on the telephone and on statistics and reports, or blaze a new trail?   With this important problem of principle in mind, Wenhsien's county revolutionary committee conscientiously studied this teaching of Chairman Mao: "A Communist Party's correct and unswerving tactics of struggle can in no circumstance be created by a few people sitting in an office; they emerge in the course of mass struggle, that is, through actual experience. Therefore, wc must at all times study social conditions and make practical investigations." They all agreed that the new-born revolutionary committee must be guided by Mao Tse-tung's thought, go deep among the masses and always have close ties with them. Therefore, the committee decided that two-thirds of its leading members should go deep into the 13 basic units in the county to analyse the situation there, sum up the masses' experience and thereby give impetus to the work in the whole county. This method of mutual promotion between the work in individual places and that in the entire county has vigorously advanced Wenhsien's mass movement for the creative study and application of Mao Tse-tung's thought and the rapid growth of industrial and farm production.
   The mass movement for the creative study and application of Mao Tse-tung's thought developed universally all over the county last March. Although study classes were run by the people's communes, brigades and teams, there were still some poor and lower-middle peasant members who could not attend because they were old and physically weak or had too many children or too many household chores. With this in mind, a vice-chairman of the county revolutionary committee went among the masses in the Nanhantsun Production Brigade of the Huangchuang People's Commune. By studying together, he and the poor and lower-middle peasants created the good method of households running Mao Tse-tung's thought study classes. Thus, each household became a battlefield for unfolding revolutionary mass criticism and repudiation, and a position for fighting self-interest and repudiating revisionism. The county revolutionary committee made a timely summation of this experience and popularized it, thereby helping create a new upsurge in the county's mass movement to creatively study and apply Mao Tse-tung's thought.
   Working together with the poor and lower-middle peasants in the Yuehtsun brigade of the Yuehtsun commune, a standing committee member of the county revolutionary committee transformed 500 mu of cotton fields into those yielding an average of over 140 jin of ginned cotton per mu, thus setting up a high-yield model for the entire county. In managing the cotton fields, the county revolutionary committee called ten on-the-spot meetings to popularize this brigade's experience in giving prominence to proletarian politics and strengthening the technical management of cotton fields. As a result, the whole county reaped bumper grain and cotton harvests. The joyful poor and lower-middle peasants said: "The old county Party committee used to sit on high issuing blind directives and making irresponsible criticisms. As they always missed the point, the masses were dissatisfied. Now that the revolutionary committee goes among the masses to carry out study and investigations and gets hold of the key links in its work, everyone supports it from the bottom of his heart."

Listening Modestly to Masses' Opinions and Criticisms

   In dealing with correct criticisms from the masses, there is the question of whether to modestly accept them and courageously correct one's shortcomings or just listen to them but not correct the shortcomings and even turn a deaf ear to them. Following Chairman Mao's great teaching to "listen attentively to the voice of the masses," the Wenhsien County Revolutionary Committee always pays attention to listening to criticisms and suggestions from the masses. When the committee does something which does not conform to Mao Tse-tung's thought, it boldly corrects it. Last June when senior and junior middle school graduates were to be assigned jobs, a small number of them for a time had ideological problems and were unwilling to go to the countryside and take part in farm work. Certain leading comrades on the committee made these students temporary workers in the county's machinery plant, printing house and tractor station. The poor and lower-middle peasants seriously criticized this. After studying Chairman Mao's teachings, the committee agreed that the poor and lower-middle peasants' opinion conformed to Mao Tse-tung's thought. They immediately set up Mao Tse-tung's thought study classes and used Mao Tse-tung's thought to arm the minds of the graduates. As a result, the students happily went to the frontline of agricultural production.
   With the help of the army representatives and in the light of the experience of Lingpao County in having "better troops and simpler administration," the Wenhsien County Revolutionary Committee simplified its administrative structure after full discussion by the masses. But shortly afterwards, certain leading members increased the number of offices and personnel without mass discussion. The revolutionary masses raised sharp criticism at a meeting for criticism and self-criticism. The revolutionary committee held its standing committee meeting the same day to concentrate the correct ideas from the masses which conformed to Mao Tse-tung's thought, and decided to dissolve the new offices. It also made self-criticism before the masses and commended those good comrades who dared to criticize the leadership.
   Seeing the fine working style of the leading members who modestly accept criticism and supervision from the masses, the revolutionary masses had greater faith in the committee. They said: "In the past when we criticized the old county Party committee, we were rebuffed, scolded and there was retaliation. Now when we criticize the revolutionary committee, it listens to our criticism, corrects its mistakes and praises us. Our revolutionary committee is really imbued with new ideology and practises a new style of work. We fully trust it!"

Warmly Supporting the Masses' Initiative

   In dealing with revolutionary new-born things, there is the question of whether one should support them actively, enthusiastically and boldly or follow the beaten track and be afraid of this and that for fear that trouble may crop up. There were also ideological struggles in the minds of the leading members of the revolutionary committee. Late last October, several office workers in the committee made the proposal that "state-run middle and primary schools should be placed under the communes and brigades and run by them." On November 2, the poor and lower-middle peasants of the Chaopu commune, who creatively studied and applied Chairman Mao's brilliant thinking on educational revolution, turned the state-run middle and primary schools into brigade-run schools, thus opening up a new phase in the rural educational revolution. Faced with this revolutionary new-born thing, the overwhelming majority of the committee members held that they should support it enthusiastically. A few people, however, said: "Since the higher authorities have not given us any directives and we lack experience, don't think up 'new ways.' It will be difficult to put things in order if we mess things up." In the light of this, the committee members repeatedly studied Chairman Mao's great teaching that "the people, and the people alone, are the motive force in the making of world history" and his great teachings on educational revolution. They realized that the core of Chairman Mao's revolutionary line was having faith in the masses, relying on them and respecting their initiative. To support this new-born thing or not, they held, is a question of one's attitude towards the revolutionary masses, a major question in one's attitude towards Chairman Mao's revolutionary line. On the basis of unified understanding, the revolutionary committee summed up the experience of the Chaopu commune in placing middle and primary schools under the brigades. It also made further efforts to solicit the opinions of the poor and lower-middle peasants and the revolutionary teachers and students about mass-run schools and concentrated their opinions which conformed to Mao Tse-tung's thought. The committee then set forth revolutionary measures for turning all the county's middle and primary schools into commune- or brigade-run schools and popularized this practice throughout the county. Wenhsien County thus became Honan Province's advanced model county in carrying out the revolution in rural education.
   Through its practice in the past year and more, the Wenhsien County Revolutionary Committee fully realized that relying on the poor and lower-middle peasants and the broad revolutionary masses or not relying on them was the dividing line between Chairman Mao's revolutionary line and the bourgeois reactionary line. It is a major problem in deciding whether one is a revolutionary or not. Only if one has faith in and relies on the masses and never becomes divorced from them can the task of struggle-criticism-transformation be carried out well and all-round victory won in the great proletarian cultural revolution.
  

Source: Peking Review, No. 6, February 7, 1969
Transcribed by www.wengewang.org


  
  
  

 
 
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