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 Mao Tsetung Thought Inspires Us Forward

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Mao Tsetung Thought Inspires Us Forward

—Our understanding and gains in carrying out Chairman Mao's directive "In agriculture, learn from Tachai"

by the Revolutionary Committee of Hsiyang County, Shansi Province

Source: Peking Review, No. 8, February 20, 1970
Transcribed by www.wengewang.org

    HSIYANG County was in the past a barren hilly area with steep slopes and only a thin layer of top soil. Ridden by natural calamities and hit by drought in nine years out of ten, it was one of those counties in Shansi Province known for their poverty and backwardness. Through the great new-democratic and socialist revolutions, we initially changed its poor and backward stale; in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, the county witnessed earth-shaking changes. The spread of Mao Tsetung Thought has reached an unprecedented scale, and Chairman Mao's great strategic thinking "Be prepared against war, be prepared against natural disasters, and do everything for the people'* has taken deep root in the hearts of the people who are giving full play to the revolutionary spirit of "self-reliance," "hard struggle" and "fearing neither hardship nor death." A generation of new-type peasants armed with Mao Tsetung Thought is maturing. The common pledge of the 190,000 people of the whole county is: "Looking towards the city of Peking, our hearts are turned to Chairman Mao. We labour for the revolution."
  The magnificent ideological and political flower naturally yields solid economic fruits. Last year's average per-mu yield of grain in the whole county doubled that of 1966, jumping from 200-odd jin to more than 400 jin; total grain output also doubled the 1966 figure of more than 80 million jin.
     With the sharp upswing in grain output, the amount of surplus grain sold to the state rose year by year, and grain kept in reserve by the collective and the commune members also increased. The commune members' living standard has greatly improved. The situation in revolution and production throughout the county is now excellent. The people have changed, the land has been levelled, and the villages where flocks and herds teem have taken on a new look. Everywhere a vigorous and thriving scene meets the eye.

Arming People With Moo Tsetung Thought

     What accounted for such tremendous success? Was it because of good weather? No. The last few years saw all manner of adversity: drought, flood, hailstorm, windstorm and insect pests. The hailstorm which hit the county in 1968 was the most severe in the past several decades. We did not rely on the elements. The most fundamental reason for our success was that we relied on Mao Tsetung Thought.
     Few people in the old society knew that there was a village called Tachai in Hsiyang County. Those who knew it used to say: "In Tachai, the hills are high and the land is stony. When you go out, you have to climb the slopes and you can't walk on level ground for more than two steps. Natural disasters devastate the area practically every year."
     Then came liberation. Inspired by Chairman Mao's The Foolisk Old Man Who Removed the Mountains and firmly keeping in mind Chairman Mao's teaching "Be resolute, fear no sacrifice and surmount every difficulty to win victory," the peasants of Tachai, led by Chen Yung-kuei, the secretary of the Party branch, resolved to transform their poor and backward village by self-reliance and hard struggle. Though numerous, the poor and lower-middle peasants there had few draught animals and farm implements. They followed Chairman Mao's teaching "Get organized" and took the co-operative road after the land reform. When they formed their elementary co-operative, they did not even have a wheel-barrow. All they could rely on were their hands, shoulders and carrying-poles. Their 700-odd mu of land were divided into more than 4,700 plots, scattered here and there on the slopes and gullies. So they set to level the elevated land and fill up the low-lying parts. They cleared their fields of stones and rocks, and went in for deep ploughing and constant hoeing to loosen the soil in order to combat drought which was a standing threat to them. Relying on invincible Mao Tsetung Thought, the people of Tachai have, after years of arduous struggle, succeeded in turning the small scattered plots into large tracts of land, in terracing the slopes and transforming the dry river-beds into irrigated land. It was in this way that the poor mountain village has been built into the new thriving socialist Tachai.
     The heart-stirring rapid development of Tachai by self-reliance and hard work has been an eye-opener for the people in the whole county that the Tachai road is the revolutionary road to overcome poverty and backwardness and to the building of a new socialist village. Responding to Chairman Mao's great call *1n agriculture, learn from Tachai," the people throughout our county launched a movement to learn from the Tachai peasants and follow the Tachai road. Taking the poor and lower-middle peasants of Tachai as our example, we Hsiyang people learnt from them to adhere to the guiding principle of putting Mao Tsetung Thought in the lead and putting proletarian politics in command, we also learnt from them their revolutionary spirit of self-reliance and hard struggle, and their communist style of cherishing deep love for the state and the collective. In particular, we learnt from them to use Mao Tsetung Thought to arm and remould the people and do a good job in revolutionizing men's thinking. Only when their thinking has been revolutionized can men transform nature, introduce new techniques and raise output.
     In the course of learning from Tachai, we have experienced an intense struggle between the two classes, two roads and two lines. Tachai is a red banner hoisted by the great leader Chairman Mao himself on the agricultural front. Everyone in our county had long cherished the strong desire of learning from it. But the renegade, hidden traitor and scab Liu Shao-chi and his agents did everything they could to obstruct and undermine such efforts. They tried to prevent the peasants from knowing Chairman Mao's directive, distorted it and resorted to every vile means to negate Tachai's achievements in an attempt to pull down this banner. To defend Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line, the poor and lower-middle peasants of Tachai and the whole county waged a resolute struggle against them. During the Great Cultural Revolution, the county's revolutionary masses seized back that portion of power usurped by the handful of capitalist roaders and set up the three-in-one revolutionary committee. This provided a reliable guarantee for the whole county to carry out Chairman Mao's directive "In agriculture, learn from Tachai" and launch a mass movement to learn from Tachai. Since the day the county revolutionary committee was established, we have put the task of learning from Tachai on the agenda, making it an important item in carrying out the struggle-criticism-transformation well. We have adopted decisions for launching a mass movement to learn from Tachai and worked out plans for building Hsiyang into a Tachai-type county within five years.
     Using revolutionary mass criticism to open the way, we have relentlessly criticized the counter-revolutionary revisionist line pushed by Liu Shao-chi and his agents, exposed their monstrous crimes in opposing Chairman Mao's directive "In agriculture, learn from Tachai," thereby sweeping away all obstacles to the movement of learning from Tachai. With class struggle as the key link, every commune and production team has carried out revolutionary mass criticism wherever and whenever necessary. In the light of the struggle between the two classes, two roads and two lines in their respective units, all the members recalled part events and made comparisons: Learn what Chairman Mao taught us, see how Liu Shao-chi spread his poisonous influence and look into the sabotage activities of the class enemies, analyse how the Tachai poor and lower-middle peasants carried out their struggle and examine one's own attitude in the past. We brought all the charges against Liu Shao-chi and traced all the evils to him. This has greatly enhanced the initiative and consciousness of the masses to learn from Tachai. The drive to emulate Tachai has enabled the Wuchiaping Production Brigade to steadily increase its production. Its average per-mu, yield of grain in 1967 was 540 jin; this rose to 640 jin in 1968 and jumped to more than 800 jin in 1969. With a deep understanding gained from their personal experience, the brigade's poor and lower-middle peasants said: "Chairman Mao has pointed out to us a bright road by calling on us to learn front Tachai. We reaped poor harvests in the past when we did not do so. But over the last three years we have done our best to follow the road blazed by Tachai and we have benefited much from it."
     With Mao Tsetung Thought an their powerful weapon, the peasants in our county are energetically ridding themselves of bourgeois self-interests and fostering the proletarian outlook of devotion to the public interest, constantly overcoming all ideological obstacles to the movement of learning from Tachai. Following Chairman Mao's teaching "Running study classes is a good method," we have set up Mao Tsetung Thought study classes of various types throughout the county. The cadres and revolutionary masses make the "three constantly read articles" their maxim, and use them to examine themselves so as to continually criticize all erroneous ideas that prevent them from following Tachai's example. Located on the top of the Changchia Mountain, the Nannao Brigade is not endowed with favourable natural conditions. In the past, its members did not have enough grain, lacked firewood and had to travel far to fetch drinking water. They had little confidence in changing their backward state by learning from Tachai. But after studying the "three constantly read articles," they followed Tachai's example and did hard and solid work.  They succeeded in opening a road that winds its way up the mountain, building a high-tension line and leading water uphill. The upshot was its grain output trebled in the last three years. Arming the commune members with Mao Tsetung Thought has resulted in a new situation in which "everyone emulates the 'Foolish Old Man,' keeps in mind Norman Bethune and Chang Szu-teh, compares himself with the Tachai peasants to see where he still lags behind, follows the examples of these heroes, and becomes more and more energetic in the course of learning from them."


The Masses Are the Real Heroes

  The mass movement for the living study and application of Mao Tsetung Thought has developed in depth, and revolutionary mass criticism has been carried out without lct-up. This has laid the ideological foundation for transforming the natural conditions in Hsiyong County, and guarantees the triumphant advance of the movement to learn from Tachai.
     Our county has five rivers which flow through 14 communes. The Sunghsi River, more than 200 li long, was the most harmful. It overflowed during the flood season, often inundating the villages on both banks. As the soil was continually washed away by water, the urea under cultivation decreased year by year. It was, therefore, of key importance to keep these five rivers under permanent control and turn the land into fields of the Tachai type in order to change the face of Hsi-yang County and achieve stable and high yields. Led by the county revolutionary committee, all the communes and production brigades mapped out plans suited to their local conditions for transforming the barren mountains and harnessing the rivers, giving full play to the superiority of the people's communes and adhering to the principle of unified planning and concentration of forces in executing the plans with the production teams as the main body and every level taking part in the work. The production teams assumed responsibility for what they could do, and what they could not do was undertaken by the communes or by the communes and production brigades jointly. Every project in the entire undertaking combined long-term interests with immediate gains for the current year, integrated the role played by the groups with special skills with that of the mass movement, and rationally solved all problems relating to economic relations between the accounting units in accordance with the Party's policies. Braving the biting cold, the masses all over the county started work in the winter of 1967, battling on the high slopes and the river banks to transform the barren mountains and tame the unruly rivers.
     In this battle to transform nature, all the 20 communes have undertaken some project or other, and all the 413 production brigades have gone in for construction. In accordance with Chairman Mao's teachings on "self-reliance" and "hard struggle," all the communes and production teams have scathingly criticized Liu Shao-chi's counter-revolutionary revisionist trash such as "material incentives," the "slavish comprador philosophy," the "doctrine of trailing behind at a snail's pace," and "relying on experts to tame the rivers." Displaying the revolutionary spirit of fearing neither hardship nor death, they themselves solved the question of the needed funds, made their own tools, and did their own surveying and designing. They did not ask for any money or material from the state. Relying on invincible Mao Tsetung Thought and taking Tachai as their example, they used their own hands to make the mountains and rivers bend to their will. The Hsikupi Brigade, which has only some 600 people, demonstrated tremendous strength in the movement to leam from Tachai. Ail the peasants in the village, men and women, old and young, pooled their efforts to dig a 70-metre-wide and 320-metre-long canal through the Chat-ling Mountain to divert the course of the Sunghsi River. With the 1,200-odd mu of land reclaimed from the old river-bed, the brigade thus more than doubled the area of its cultivated land. The poor and lower-middle peasants of this brigade said with pride: "The Foolish Old Man and his sons removed the big Taihang and Wangwu Mountains, so why can't the people of our village remove this small Chailing Mountain!" In the project jointly undertaken by the county, the communes and production brigades to harness the Sunghsi River, a large stone dam against flood, 8 metres high and 2,700 metres long, was built on the bank at Chiehtu. In the Kuochuang Reservoir's eastern trunk canal project, we dug 27 tunnels, erected 12 viaducts, removed 220,000 cubic metres of rocks and earth and built a channel 15 li long. These two biggest water conservancy projects for the farmland in our county were completed by relying entirely on our own strength and bringing into play the wisdom of the masses.
  After three years of hard struggle, the whole county has dug up more than 8,100,000 cubic metres of rocks and earth and built 197 dams of various kinds and purposes, totalling more than 43,000 metres in length. More than 30,000 mu, or 8 per cent of the county's total cultivated area, were reclaimed from the river-beds and gullies. We have built 220,000 mu of Tachai-type farmland, of which some 40,000 mu were formerly dry land but have now been put under irrigation. In this way, we have initially transformed the stony dry river-beds into a granary, with stable and high yields basically guaranteed, irrespective of drought or waterlogging.
  Chairman Mao has taught us: "The masses have boundless creative power. They can organize themselves and concentrate on places and branches of work where they can give full play to their energy; they can concentrate on production in breadth and depth and create more and more undertakings for their own well-being/' Through practice, we have come to the deep understanding that this teaching of Chairman Mao's is an absolutely correct great truth. So long as we have faith in the masses, rely on them and fully mobilize their socialist initiative, we are able to overcome every difficulty and create wonders.


Firmly Grasp the Ideological Revolutionization of the Leading Groups

  Comrades in the Tachai Brigade have put it well: ''Cadres should be the first to do everything." This is a great enlightenment to us. In the mass movement to learn from Tachai, we have firmly grasped the ideological revolutionization of the leading groups at the three levels — the county, commune and production brigade, pulling Mao Tsetung Thought in command of everything, and using it to transform, promote and lead everything forward. While transforming the objective world, we have done our best to transform our subjective world as well. We have organized cadres at all levels to conscientiously learn from the Tachai cadres' fine qualities of working hard and in a solid way, their diligence, frugality, plain living and unity. We advocate taking the lead in fighting self and criticizing revisionism and being trail-blazers in productive labour, thereby making the leading groups at all levels revolutionized command headquarters that keep close ties with the masses.
     In order to strengthen the ideological revolutionization of members of the county revolutionary committee, we have carried out three open-door rectification campaigns, mobilizing the poor and lower-middle peasants to give their comments and help the leadership improve its working style. Administrative organs at the county level were reduced by three-fourths, and their staff cut by two-thirds. Following the Tachai cadres' style of never divorcing themselves from labour, from the masses or from reality, we have persisted in the following three rules: (1) Comrades working in the offices should devote half a day to manual labour. (2) Two-thirds of the cadres should always go into the midst of work, go to some basic units in the countryside to gain first-hand experience for a certain period, to carry out investigation and study, and cat, live, labour, study and consult with the masses. (3) All the cadres should do stints of work in the production teams in rotation and at fixed periods. Over the last three years, cadres at the county and commune levels have, on the average, lived three-fourths of their time annually among the masses, and taken part in collective productive labour for more than 120 days every year. They always take the lead in doing the grubby and heavy jobs and in planting experimental plots. This has further promoted the revolutionization of the cadres' thinking, strengthened their ties with the masses and stimulated all kinds of work.
     Acting according to Chairman Mao's teaching 'To load means not only to decide general and specific policies but also to devise correct methods of work," we have paid attention to methods of work, grasped typical examples, spotted and fostered model units of the Tachai type in a planned and systematic way, and then popularized their experience throughout the area, giving necessary guidance in accordance with specific conditions and various types of farm work. At present, the county has two model communes and 30 model production brigades. Some are models for increasing grain output by a wide margin, some are models for all-round development in agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry and side-occupations, and some are models for having overcome poverty through hard struggle. In the communes, too, there are model production brigades and model production teams. The emergence of these advanced model units has given a powerful impetus to the movement of learning from Tachai. In taking hold of selected basic units and then popularizing their experience to promote work throughout the area, the leading cadres always personally participate and sec this process through to the end. With improved methods of work, greater results have been obtained with less effort in leading the mass movement to emulate Tachai.
     1970 marks the final year in our plan to build Hsi-yang into a Tachai-type county. We shall always keep firmly in mind Chairman Mao's teaching "Be modest and prudent, guard against arrogance and rashness." On the basis of three successive years of bumper harvests, we shall continue to mobilize the people of the whole county, hold high the great red banner of Mao Tsetung Thought, display the revolutionary spirit of self-reliance and hard struggle, and win still greater victories.
    



  
  
  

 
 
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