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 Be a Vanguard in Continuing the Revolution

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     The current Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution is absolutely necessary and most timely for consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat, preventing capitalist restoration and building socialism.

-MAO TSETUNG



Be a Vanguard in Continuing the Revolution

— How a veteran cadre underwent a change in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution

by OUR CORRESPONDENT

Source: Peking Review, No 45, November 7, 1969
Transcribed by www.wengewang.org

THE Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution personally initiated and led by our great leader Chairman Mao is a momentous revolution that touches the people to their very soul. To the cadres and masses in China, it is a socialist education movement of far-reaching significance. To those leading cadres who had committed mistakes because they were not mentally prepared for the socialist revolution, it is a movement that has saved them, prompting them to get rid of their political dirt and return to Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line.
  A vivid example is Comrade Chen Ching-wen's experience and change in the great cultural revolution. She was the secretary of the former Party committee of the Peking Instrument Plant and now chairman of its revolutionary committee.

I

     Comrade Chen Ching-wen is an old member of the Communist Party of China and a veteran cadre who joined the revolution in the 1930s, at the time when the War of Resistance Against Japan was in its initial stage. In 1957 she became secretary of the Party committee of the Peking Instrument Plant, and remained at the post for nearly ten years. During this period, an acute struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie and between the socialist road and the capitalist road was waged in various forms in the wake of the basic completion of the socialist transformation of the ownership of the means of production in China. Summing up the experience in socialist revolution and socialist construction in China, Chairman Mao put forward the five principles for running socialist enterprises, namely, keep politics firmly in command; strengthen Party leadership; launch vigorous mass movements; institute the system of cadre participation in productive labour and worker participation in management, of reform of irrational and outdated rules and regulations, and of close co-operation among cadres, workers and technicians; and go full steam ahead with the technical revolution. To oppose Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line, the renegade, hidden traitor and scab Liu Shao-chi pushed the modern revisionist line in running enterprises and systematically peddled such trash as "putting profits in command," "material incentives," "relying on experts to run the factory" and "technique first" in an attempt to change the political colour of the socialist enterprises and make them serve his plot to restore capitalism.
  Though she had stood the test of the democratic revolution, Chen Ching-wen was not mentally prepared for the socialist revolution. She lost her bearings in the complex class struggle under the dictatorship of the proletariat, and committed errors of line. She failed to see that there still existed struggles between the two classes and the two roads in socialist society or understand the necessity of continuing the revolution under the conditions of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the danger of a capitalist restoration if things were not properly handled. She relaxed her efforts in studying Mao Tsetung Thought and neglected her own ideological remoulding. Poisoned by the counter-revolutionary revisionist fallacies peddled by Liu Shao-chi such as the theory of "the dying out of class struggle" and the "theory of productive forces," she mistakenly held that as long as she helped keep the plant's production going well, she was adding another brick to the magnificent edifice of socialism. She was not aware that the law of class struggle was independent of man's will and that h* one failed to grasp class struggle and fell into the mire of the "theory of productive forces," one would slide down the road of capitalism.
     The former Party committee of the Peking Instrument Plant headed by Chen Ching-wen carried out Liu Shao-chi's counter-revolutionary revisionist line in the struggle between the two roads on the industrial front.
  The committee members did not give prominence to proletarian politics and arm themselves and the workers with Mao Tsetung Thought so as to promote their ideological revolutionization. Instead of putting revolution in command of production, boldly arousing the masses and relying on them to build the socialist enterprises, they hawked such trash as "putting profits in command" and "material incentives." The workers were led astray, acid some of them were befuddled as to the aim of their labour and forgot about the revolution. In the management of production and technical matters, the leadership was in the bands of the so-called commanding headquarters composed of engineers and technical specialists, and the result was "relying on experts to run the factory." The workers had only the duty to work but no power to make suggestions or participate in making decisions. The commanding headquarters enforced many rules and regulations to control, oppress and restrict the workers who were regarded as mere slaves to these systems. Though many revolutionary workers had long before opposed these rules and regulations, their revolutionary demands were suppressed. Dominated by Liu Shao-chi's counter-revolutionary revisionist tine, the Peking Instrument Plant which was a socialist enterprise was changing its colour and degenerating into a capitalist enterprise.


II

     In May 1966, a clap of spring thunder shook the vast expanse of China. Chairman Mao personally kindled the flames of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. The storm of a revolutionary mass movement was sweeping away all the revisionist filth and sludge.
  Advancing in the direction pointed out by Chairman Mao, the revolutionary workers and staff of the plant made use of the extensive democracy under the dictatorship of the proletariat and, through full airing of views, great debates and big-character posters, exposed and criticized the mi-stakes committed by Chen Ching-wen and other leading cadres in promoting capitalism in the plant. They severely criticized Chen Ching-wen, the person m power who carried out Liu Shao-chi's counter-revolutionary revisionist fine. In their big-character posters and at criticism meetings, the workers directed a barrage of questions at her: For which class are you exercising power?   What kind of flag do you wave and which road are you following? Where are you leading the plant to?
  As she lacked a high consciousness of the struggle between the two lines and a deep understanding of the Great Proletarian Guttural Revolution initiated by Chairman Mao, Chen Ching-wen failed at that crucial point to take a clear-cut stand and side with the masses in waging struggles against Liu Shao-chi and the handful of other capitalist roaders in power. She became a stumbling block to the mass movement, and this made the masses more vehement than ever in criticizing her mistakes.
     The revolutionary mass movement helped Chen Ching-wen to a gradual awakening. It was, however, a fairly long process for her to really recognize her mistakes. It was a process in which she made revolution in her innermost being with the deepening of the movement and through sustained revolutionary mass criticism and being educated and helped by the revolutionary masses. It was a process in which a revolutionary succeeded m ridding herself of all political dirt amidst the great storm of revolution and a process in which a veteran Party member armed herself with Mao Tsetung Thought and regained political youthfulness.

She narrated to me her unusual experience.
     "I thought I was a veteran cadre who had stood the test of war and had never made any big mistakes,” she began. "I didn't have the faintest idea that I could have committed errors of line."
     "The masses," she continued, "have cited numerous facts and made convincing criticisms. These have opened my eyes to the fact that I really lost my political orientation and led the Peking Instrument Plant on to the capitalist road. Much as I realized the seriousness of my mistake, I still tried to forgive myself. That was why when the masses first began to criticize me, I was not convinced at heart and begrudged them for distrusting me."
     As revolutionary mass criticism gathered momentum throughout the country, more and more crimes of the handful of capitalist roaders headed by Liu Shao-chi in plotting to restore capitalism were brought to light. The large amounts of revisionist poison they had spread on various fronts were swept into the dust-bin by the powerful revolutionary mass criticism which helped Chen Ching-wen to see things in their right perspective.
     "The heart-stirring facts of the struggle between the two lines," she said, "awakened me to the danger of our Party and state changing their political colour. If capitalism were restored, millions of people would lose their lives, the working people would be enslaved again and the revolution would be lost. Decades of struggle would have come to thought, and the blood of thousands upon thousands of revolutionary martyrs would have been shed in vain. . . ."
     Victory in the revolution was not won easily. Forgetting the past meant betrayal. These words were full of meaning for Chen Ching-wen who had experienced the test of battle. Scenes of how her revolutionary comrades-in-arms fell heroically in action reappeared in her mind's eye. . . .
  "At the early stage of the War of Resistance Against Japan," she reminisced, "there were more than 1,000 fighters in the army unit I served. We fought the enemy through the decades, and only a few of us are alive today. To think that I, one of the survivors, should have gone in for capitalism and revisionism and rendered service to the enemy of socialism. . . . How can I not feel ashamed of myself when I think of those fallen comrades-in-arms and other revolutionary martyrs?"
     She most eagerly studied Chairman Mao's works and his theory of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat, and as she studied she examined the mistakes she had committed. Thus she took a big step forward in recognizing her mistakes and heightening her political consciousness.
     She continued to recall: "I departed from the Party's revolutionary tradition of maintaining close ties with the masses. I became more and more divorced from the masses as I was promoted to higher posts after entering the cities. Revisionist ideas began creeping upon me."
     She recapitulated those years of war and land reform. The New Fourth Army battled north and south of the Yangtse River, established anti-Japanese democratic base areas behind the enemy lines and built up a relationship with the masses like that of fish to water. She said: "When our unit had to make a strategic shift to other areas, the local inhabitants saw us off with tears. Though white terror was rampant, they risked their lives to provide cover for those of our comrades who stayed behind to do underground work and to take care of our children whom we had left with them in order to facilitate our advance." In those years, she herself had left three babies in the care of the peasants.
  "I was the leader of a work team in the land reform. Resolutely carrying out Chairman Mao's class line of relying on the poor peasants and farm labourers and uniting with the middle peasants, we ate, lived and struggled together with the poor peasants and farm labourers. We were at one with the masses. I worked in that area only for several months, but even today, well over ten years later, the poor peasants and farm labourers there still remember the work team. Not long ago, a poor peasant who joined the Party during the land reform asked someone to give me his regards, adding that the poor and lower-middle peasants in his village often thought of the work team. When I heard this, I was so moved that I could not keep calm for a long time.
     "I have worked in this plant for ten years, yet I am in the dark about what is going on in the workers' miners. They regard me as an official high above them."
     This sharp contrast spurred her to correct her mistakes with resolve. She went to every workshop, shift or team — some of them she had never been to in the last ten years — to collect criticism and receive education from the workers. There she joined the workers in labour and in studying Chairman Mao's works. Wherever she went, she asked the workers to severely criticize her mistakes.
     In line with Chairman Mao's instruction on giving more help through education to those who had made mistakes, the workers helped and educated her patiently. They assisted her to analyse the causes of her mistakes; Some pointed out that she did not know in which direction she should advance because she did not study Chairman Mao's works well and had not really mastered Mao Tsetung Thought; others criticized her for completely ignoring the masses when she was in a high official position, with the result that she relied instead on experts to run the factory. Some workers admonished her that she should have a correct attitude towards the masses, saying "the severer the workers' criticisms are, the deeper the education you will receive." An old worker said to her with sincerity: "Lao Chen, you are a veteran cadre who has been educated by Chairman Mao for a long time. You ought to have followed Chairman Mao more closely than we. But have you ever pondered why you followed Liu Shao-chi's counter-revolutionary revisionist line so docilely?. .”
  Chen Ching-wen told me: "What inspires me most is the workers' ardent love for our great leader Chairman Mao, their loyalty to Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line and their deep hatred for counterrevolutionary revisionism. They had enough of the experience of being controlled, restricted and suppressed by the irrational system of management. Every one of their denunciations and criticisms of the revisionist line was substantiated by facts and touched me to the quick. I am ashamed of what I did to the workers. I hate revisionism and my own mistakes. . .
     Chen Ching-wen made an incisive self-criticism of her mistakes before the whole factory. The workers agreed that she had really made revolution in her innermost being and raised her consciousness. She gained their understanding and towards the end of 1967 she was "liberated."

III

     In February 1968, she was elected into the plant's new-born revolutionary committee as a representative of the revolutionary leading cadres by the revolutionary workers and staff.  She became its chairman as well.
     Chen Ching-wen who is today chairman of the revolutionary committee is entirely different from the Chen Ching-wen of several years ago when she was secretary of the plant's Party committee.
     In the great cultural revolution, she has once again acquired the working style of going deep among the masses and maintaining close links with them, and revived the tradition of being at one with the masses and the vigorous revolutionary vitality which she had in the years of revolutionary wars and land reform.
  At her proposal, the revolutionary committee has set up its office in the simplest one-story building in the plant and given the original office of the former Party committee which was situated in a big building to the plant's clinic. Small as the matter is, it shows that she and the new leading body are firm in carrying forward the revolutionary tradition of hard struggle. One seldom finds her in the office nowadays. With a small bag slung over her shoulder containing Chairman Mao's works and a copy of Quotations From Chairman Mao Tsetung, she constantly makes the rounds of the workshops, shifts and teams. She studies Chairman Mao's works and takes part in manual labour together with the workers, or holds heart-to-heart talks, discusses and solves various problems together. Sometimes when she leaves the workshop late at night, she goes to the kitchen to discuss how to improve the meals with the cooks. One evening when she was in the kitchen helping prepare food for the night shift, it suddenly rained heavily. Braving the downpour, she helped the cooks send the food to the workshops. Deeply moved, the workers raised their arms and shouted: "The revolutionary committee is fine!" "Long live Chairman Mao!"
     She makes it a point that members on the revolutionary committee should take part in productive labour. “The sweat of labour,” she said: “will help us to cleanse the rust of revisionism'" "The frank and sincere words of veteran workers can stimulate our revolutionary enthusiasm!" Carrying a placard inscribed with the words "fight self, criticize revisionism," she and the other members on the revolutionary committee regularly go to the workshops every month to solicit criticisms and opinions. Correct criticisms or rational proposals are immediately accepted or answered after discussion. Under her influence, the revolutionary committee is fostering a working style of never divorcing itself from the masses.
  The great cultural revolution has taught her that in order to keep to a firm and correct political orientation, it is necessary to study and apply Chairman Mao's works in a living way. For the past year and more, she and the revolutionary committee have firmly adhered to this fundamental principle. Studying Chairman Mao's works an hour every day, holding regular forums to swap experience in the living study and application of Mao Tsetung Thought, devoting half a day every week to political activities, running various kinds of Mao Tsetung Thought study classes in every shop — these have become fixed rules in the factory. The mass movement for the living study and application of Mao Tsetung Thought is rolling on with gathering momentum.
     Chairman Mao teaches us: "Once the correct ideas characteristic of the advanced class are grasped by the masses, these ideas turn into a material force which changes society and changes the world." Armed with Mao Tsetung Thought, the workers have greatly enhanced their political consciousness. Taking the brilliant images of Chang Szu-teh, Norman Bethune and the Foolish Old Man as their examples, and displaying the thoroughgoing revolutionary spirit of fearing neither hardship nor death, they are firmly grasping revolution and energetically promoting production. A lively revolutionary atmosphere prevails in the factory. The total output value for the first seven months of 1968 equalled that of the whole year of 1966. September 1968 witnessed the plant's highest ever labour productivity with a full attendance. The total output value for the first three quarters of this year increased by .128 per cent as compared with the same period last year.
     In June 1968, one of the workshops was entrusted with the task of installing, adjusting and testing three 0300 single crystals growing furnaces. This kind of furnace is a big, technically involved complex which has some 1,000 basic mechanical and electronic parts and electric devices. It stands 3.18 metres high and weighs nearly two tons. Many complicated technical problems need to be solved in installing, adjusting and testing. In 1964 when the plant was still under the influence of the revisionist line, it had made an attempt at this. It spent several months on solving technical problems arising from the adjusting and testing of its electric control equipment alone. This time the revolutionary committee decided to complete the installation, adjustment and testing of three 0300 single crystals growing furnaces within a month. This was really tough job, and also a big test to the plant since it began to ..build itself up on a political basis and in accordance with the socialist line of running enterprises.
     When the assignment was made known, some of the cadres and workers lacked confidence and considered the job too heavy for them. Some remarked: "If we work hard, maybe we can install all three. But how can we finish the adjustment and testing?" Others said that one month was barely enough for installing, adjusting and testing even one such furnace.
     Chen Ching-wen went with other members on the revolutionary committee to the workshop. Proceeding from grasping the fundamental thing, they ran a Mao Tsetung Thought study class for two days and guided the masses to study Chairman Mao's works in the light of the current problems in their minds. As a result, the masses raised their consciousness, unified their thinking and were resolved to fulfil the task.
  Braving the difficulties, the workers began to adjust and test the first technical item. More than ten days had passed, but this difficult problem still remained unsolved. Then, some people began to waver, and they became impetuous or discouraged. Chen Ching-wen again led the workers to run a Mao Tsetung Thought study class which again strengthened the cadres' and workers' faith in victory. They unanimously pledged to carry the revolution through to the end and not give up halfway. The battle to conquer difficulties went on. After the adjusting and testing of the electric control equipment had got through, time was pressing for the adjusting and testing of another key technical item. But the more pressing time was, the more necessary it was for the workers to arm themselves with Mao Tsetung Thought. That very evening, they held a mobilization meeting on the spot, which helped everyone overcome the idea of winning quick success and prevent any relaxation in effort and spurred the workers to go all out to fight hard battles.
     Thus, by putting Mao Tsetung Thought in command, they steadily unified their thinking and will. As to the technical problems, they boldly mobilized the masses and practised democracy. Everyone used his brain and made suggestions. The "three-in-one" groups composed of cadres, technicians and workers carried out technical innovations in a big way, solving technical problems one by one. This completely changed the state of affairs prior to the great cultural revolution in which problems were solved by relying only on a few technicians who just stayed in their offices studying and poring over books and consulting technical literature.
     On the afternoon of June 30, the task of installing, adjusting and testing the three 0300 single crystals growing furnaces was completed on schedule. It is a great victory for Chairman Mao's proletarian line in running enterprises, a great victory for invincible Mao Tsetung Thought 1 It is a test from which Chen Ching-wen and the revolutionary committee has emerged with flying colours.

* * *

     The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution has revived Chen Ching-wen's revolutionary vitality. It is not just a simple revival, it is a revolutionary leap forward.
    

Source: Peking Review, No 45, November 7, 1969
Transcribed by www.wengewang.org


  
  
  

 
 
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