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 A Red Banner in Learning From Tachai In Agriculture


Source: Peking Review, No. 11, March 13, 1970
Transcribed by www.wengewang.org

A Red Banner in Learning From Tachai In Agriculture

—Tremendous changes made by Kuochuang Brigade, Hsiaohsien County, Anhwei Province, in last five years

    THE Kuochuang Brigade is an advanced collective which, guided by Mao Tsetung Thought, has witnessed tremendous changes in the appearance of its agricultural production. The brigade is situated in Hsiaohsien County on Huaipei Plain in Anhwei Province.
   In accordance with the great leader Chairman Mao's teaching "In agriculture, learn from Tachai." the brigade has stuck to the principle of "self-reliance" and "hard struggle" and battled with the natural elements and the class enemies. In a short period of five years, it has undergone tremendous changes. Mao Tsetung Thought has taken deep root in the minds of the people, their mental outlook has taken on a completely new look and agricultural production has developed by leaps and bounds. The brigade was long known for its recurrent natural disasters, low output, poor soil and impoverished people. In 19G8, for the first time, its cotton and grain yields surpassed the per-mu targets set forth for the area in the National Programme for Agricultural Development, and they continued to increase by a wide margin in 1969. Compared with 1964, the peak year prior to the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, its per-mu grain yield rose from 126 jin to 630 in 1969 and its per-mu cotton yield from 31 jin to 120. Since 1966, the whole brigade has not only been self-sufficient in grain, reversing entirely the situation of long reliance on state relief, but has also delivered to the state a large quantity of marketable grain and cotton each year. At the same time, on the basis of the further development of the collective economy, the brigade has increased its collective accumulation and bought a number of farm machines including tractors. Now a flourishing atmosphere in revolution and production prevails everywhere in the brigade.
Persisting in Taking the Broad Socialist Road

   Five years ago the Kuochuang Brigade was entirely different from what it is now. It then consisted of some 200 households comprising more than 700 people. More than 90 per cent of its 1,700-mtt arable land was saline and alkaline. Neither crop nor thatch grew on the worst of the saline-alkaline soil. Even under normal conditions the brigade's best land gave less than 100 jin of grain and less than 20 jin of cotton per mu. Due to the low yield, the peasants for a long period experienced a comparatively arduous life. From 1950 to 1964, the state supplied the brigade 1,070,000 jin of grain and more than 100,000 yuan for relief.
   Why was it that the backward features of Kuochuang were not fundamentally changed during the ten-odd years after liberation? The main reason is traceable to the counter-revolutionary revisionist line pushed by the renegade, hidden traitor and scab Liu Shao-chi and his agents in Anhwei in desperate opposition to Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line. The capitalist roaders in the old Party committees at the special region and county level faithfully implemented this revisionist line. As a result, the masses' revolutionary enthusiasm was severely dampened and a swift development of production was hindered.
   After Chairman Mao issued the great call: "In agriculture, learn from Tachai," Kuochuang's poor and lower-middle peasants, who had resolutely wanted to take the socialist road, strongly insisted that they follow the orientation pointed out by Chairman Mao They wanted to rely on their own efforts and work hard, that is, to take the Tachai road in building the new socialist countryside. However, the group then leading the brigade was seriously impure and could not direct the poor and lower-middle peasants forward. On the contrary, this group took the lead in embarking on capitalist activities at the crucial moment of a fierce struggle between the two classes, the two roads and the two lines. The whole brigade was thrown into confusion and the collective economy was gravely undermined.
   In October 1964, Comrade Kuo Hung-chieh was transferred from another brigade back to the Kuochuang Brigade to serve as secretary of its Party branch. Bringing with him the four volumes of Selected Works of Mao Tsetung, determined to act in accordance with Chairman Mao's great directive "In agriculture, learn from Tachai" and filled with a strong desire to change the outlook of his home village, Kuo visited some 70 households of the poor and lower-middle peasants and listened to their views and demands. He came to know that the brigade's leadership was not really in the hands of the poor and lower-middle peasants. Kuo Hung-chieh realized that in order to lead the masses to follow Chairman Mao closely in making revolution and to take the Tachai road, the first thing he had to do was to solve the question of the brigade's leading group.
   With the firm backing of the poor and lower-middle peasants, the Party branch grasped the struggle between the socialist road and capitalist road as the key link, and applying Chairman Mao's teaching that "the rectification movement is 'a widespread movement of Marxist education,’” unfolded an Inner-Marty rectification. First of all, the Party branch organized Party members to study Chairman Mao's brilliant "three constantly read articles" and compare their past suffering with today's happiness. With the enhancement of their consciousness of class struggle and of the struggle between the two lines, they took off the lid of inner-Party class struggle. They re-elected the lending members of the brigade's Party branch. By that lime a leading group with a high revolutionary enthusiasm and one which is closely linked with I he masses was set up in the brigade.
   After the problem of cadres had been fundamentally solved, the brigade's Party branch, seeking to raise the masses' level of socialist consciousness, organized the peasants to hold a big debate on "whither Kuochuang." that is, whether to lake the socialist road or the capitalist road. In the course of the debate, a few advocated forsaking agricultural production and embarking on trade; still others proposed leaving the village, adopting an attitude of evading difficulties. But guided by the brilliant "three constantly read articles" and following Tachai's poor and lower-middle peasants who had performed heroic deeds in battling nature, Kuochuang's poor and lower-middle peasants conducted class education on an extensive scale. Citing their own experiences, they criticized those ideas of forsaking agricultural production and embarking on trade and of leaving the village. They said: To be traders is certainly not taking the socialist road, but the capitalist road; it will never bring common prosperity lo the masses of the poor and lower-middle peasants. To leave the village is a reflection of the desire to evade difficulties: this goes fundamentally against Chairman Mao's teachings. Firmly, they stated: "Hills are opened by man and roads are opened by human traverse. Kuochuang's soil and other conditions are indeed poor, but this is only a superficial phenomenon. Of most importance is that there be people armed with Mao Tsetung Thought So long as we follow Chairman Mao's teachings, rely on our own efforts and work hard, we are sure to build a new socialist Kuochuang." Through 15 days of hot debate, unity in thinking was attained. They came lo the conclusion that the road of "In agriculture, learn from Tachai" was the only correct road by which Kuochuang's backward features could be changed.

"Tachai People Can Terrace Slopes, We Can Transform Poor Soil"

   For a long time, the development of Kuochuang's production had been hindered by an element of nature, mainly the saline-alkaline soil. Of the 1,580 mu of such poor soil, some 220 mu were seriously affected; the top soil was blackish grey, and no crops or thatch could grow. An additional 600 mu were somewhat less seriously affected; the top soil was while, but only thatch could grow.   Another 700 mu were affected in spots; some crops might grow on plots only lightly affected, but not on all. In order to solve this principal contradiction in struggling for production and to grope for a method to transform saline-alkaline soil on a wide scale, the brigade's Party branch organized personnel to examine all the affected land plot by plot. Simultaneously, the Party branch members went deep among the masses and visited veteran poor peasants who had experience in transforming the poor soil. After the completion of investigations and visits, a plan was drawn up lo transform the land, its announcement soon evoked a variety of reactions. Elated and encouraged, the poor and lower-middle peasants firmly supported it, exclaiming: "The Foolish Old Man pan remove mountains, the Tachai people can terrace slopes, and we can transform the poor soil!" "Several years' hard work will bring prosperity lo all the coining generations. Why not do it!" However, a handful of class enemies, due to their reactionary class nature, came out to feverishly oppose the plan. One rich peasant belittled the poor and lower-middle peasants’ determination to transform the land with the derision: "Just like a toad wants to eat a swan — an ambition which is not feasible." Enraged, the poor and lower-middle peasants struggled fiercely against this rascal. The attempt of the class enemy to sabotage their efforts served as an eye-opener to those who still had doubts about transforming the soil and strengthened their resolution.
   Early in 1965, the poor and lower-middle peasants of the Kuochuang Brigade, in response to Chairman Mao's great teaching "Poverty gives rise to the desire for change, the desire for action and the desire for revolution," began the battle to transform the soil, in which they displayed the revolutionary spirit of "fearing neither hardship nor death." Their fighting slogans were: "We'll not slop working during rain and snow; we'll work as usual despite severe cold and frozen land: we'll advance in big strides along the Tachai road and pledge to bring a new look to the Kuochuang Brigade!" These peasants, men -and women, young and old, all pitched into the battle and worked the whole day in the fields. They swept off the snow, broke up the frozen soil and ploughed deep into the land. Though the hands of many cracked and faces ached from the cold, no one uttered a complaint.
   With the removal, layer after layer, of the top soil, the level of the land sank and ploughing revealed its unfertile soil. What should be done next? Chairman Mao leaches: "The masses are the real heroes." To solve this problem, the poor and lower-middle peasants had a discussion and thought up two methods: One was to dispatch a group to the north canal some five li away to transport back silt: the other was to assign a group to fetch by shoulder poles ditch-soil from its own village. Upon adoption of these methods, the peasants set out immediately. Carts and shoulder poles were put to service. Through concerted efforts, a layer of rich soil was added lo the newly ploughed poor land.
   In this manner, the devoted and diligent poor and lower-middle peasants of the Kuochuang Brigade overcame many troubles and acts of sabotage committed by the class enemies. By displaying the spirit of self-reliance and hard struggle while working arduously in three winter-spring periods, they won victory after victory in transforming the poor soil.
   In the course of learning from Tachai and transforming their land, the Kuochuang Brigade members have depended on their own efforts to surmount difficulties. For instance, in 1965 when the cotton plants then growing on the newly transformed land were hit by waterlogging and wind-storm, the commune members withstood the effect by propping up the dislodged plants. However, they badly needed additional fertilizer. Without asking for state relief, the peasants invested over 1,300 yuan from their own reserves for the purchase of chemical fertilizer. Its timely top-dressing won them a good cotton harvest
   The launching of the momentous Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution has further enhanced the consciousness of class struggle and the struggle between the two lines of the Kuochuang Brigade's poor and lower-middle peasants. Applying Chairman Mao's great principle "Grasp revolution, promote production." and imbued with soaring revolutionary enthusiasm, they plunged themselves into a struggle to transform nature on a bigger scale. Over the past few years, they have conscientiously implemented the Eight-Point Charter for Agriculture * and, according to the special characteristics of the brigade's production, given emphasis to soil improvement, water conservancy, fertilizer and use of good strains.
   An aggregate of more than 70,000 work days were devoted to transforming the saline-alkaline land with the result that the bulk of the 1,500-odd mu of such poor soil have been turned into fertile fields. Nineteen ditches of various kinds have been dug. 8 pits and low-lying land covering an area of 500 mu filled in, the earthwork totalling 180,000 cubic metres. In addition, again through self-reliance, they sank 8 power-operated wells and thus initially solved problems arising from drought and waterlogging. To improve the low-yielding soil, they paid great attention to fertilizer by organizing a special team comprising more than 50 members to collect and accumulate manure and compost on a large scale.
   Going in for scientific farming in a big way, they formed scientific experimental groups and persisted in making experiments. They have in the main succeeded in using good strains for cotton, wheat, sorghum and other crops. As they started to change their system of farming, land was utilized to a greater extent and the index of multiple cropping increased from 120 per cent prior to the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution to 170 per cent in 1969. Guided by the principle of "taking grain as the key link to bring about an all-round development," they have developed diversified economy and planted fruit trees on more than 150 mu.
   All these have created even better conditions for a big development in agricultural production by the Kuochuang Brigade, Since 1966, the brigade's grain and cotton output has climbed higher year by year. In 1968, despite serious drought, the brigade registered a per-mu yield of grain of more than 500 jin and of cotton above 100 jin, both surpassing the targets set in the National Programme for Agricultural Development. Compared with 1968, 1969 witnessed an increase of output exceeding 20 per cent.

Let Mao Tsetung Thought Command Every Peasant Household

   "Sailing the seas depends on the helmsman, making revolution depends on Mao Tsetung Thought." In learning from Tachai to transform its backward state, the Kuochuang Brigade has scored achievements through the inspiration of Chairman Mao's brilliant "three constantly read articles." During the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, the mass movement for the living study and application of Mao Tsetung Thought in the Kuochuang Brigade has advanced to a completely new stage.
   Filled with profound proletarian feelings for the great leader Chairman Mao, Kuochuang's poor and lower-middle peasants consciously put the living study and application of Mao Tsetung Thought before all work. They regard the study of Chairman Mao's writings as the first need in life, the following of his teachings as the highest guiding principle for action, the execution of his instructions as the sacred duty to the revolution and being his good fighters as the goal they will strive to attain all their lives.
   Taking Mao Tsetung Thought as their guide, they have persisted in making a comparison between the old and new social systems. In this manner they have educated themselves while engaging in various activities of recalling their past sufferings and contrasting them with today's happiness. They mobilized the masses to review the class suffering, and oppression inflicted on them by foreign aggressors, to recall the history of the struggle between the two lines after liberation and to appreciate the concern shown to them by Chairman Mao and the Communist Party. They held exhibitions on class education and on the eve of every major festival prepared a meal consisting of food eaten by the poor before liberation. Through such activities, the masses have learnt to cherish deeper love for the new society, become firmer in their determination to follow Chairman Mao in making revolution and acquired an even higher level of consciousness in carrying out the living study and application of Mao Tsetung Thought.
   With Mao Tsetung Thought as the weapon, they have persisted in revolutionary mass criticism. Proceeding from reality and in the light of the new trends of class struggle, they have scathingly criticized Liu Shao-chi's counter-revolutionary revisionist rubbish such as the theory of "the dying out of class struggle," san zi yi bao (the extension of plots for private use and of free markets, the increase in the number of small enterprises with sole responsibility for their own profits and losses, the fixing of output quotas on the basis of household), the "four freedoms,'' (freedom of usury, of hiring labour, land sale and private enterprises) and "putting work points in command." In (he course of mass criticism, they select a pertinent quotation from Chairman Mao for study and criticize a reactionary view spread by Liu Shao-chi. In this way, the remaining poison which influenced the handling of a given issue is eliminated, and a revolutionary viewpoint Is fostered. The masses have thus raised their consciousness of the struggle between the two lines.
   To meet the requirements of given situations, various types of Mao Tsetung Thought study classes are organized from time to lime. On each occasion, upon the publication of Chairman Mao's latest instruction, they set up a study class to discuss measures for its implementation; whenever any phenomenon of disunity appears, they form a study class with a view to strengthening unity; if they discover a family member holding selfish ideas, they organize a family study class in which its members engage in fighting self and criticizing revisionism. The participants in such study classes include grey-haired oldsters and children. The universal setting up of family study classes has resulted in Mao Tsetung Thought further commanding every household. These study classes have greatly promoted the ideological revolutionization of the masses and the cadres in the brigade, further broadened their outlook so that they can understand and handle matters, taking into consideration the Chinese revolution and the world revolution. They love our country and the collective, thereby bringing into full play the concept of wholehearted devotion lo the public interests. One after another, outstanding people have emerged and outstanding deeds have been performed. "Red pairs." "three generations become all red."' and a "whole family becomes all red" are constantly coming to the fore.

* * *

   The tremendous achievements made by the Kuochuang Brigade in the short space of a few years have fully demonstrated the infinite power of Mao Tsetung Thought and thoroughly proved the correctness of the road pointed out by Chairman Mao in his instruction "In agriculture, learn from Tachai."
   As they step into the great 1970s, the Kuochuang Brigade members, in the spirit of continuing the revolution and with high militancy, are marching in giant strides to win new and still greater victories!
   *The Eight-Point Charter for Agriculture moans building water conservancy works, additional application of fertilizer, soil improvement, selection of good strains, rational close planting, plant protection, innovation of farm implements and Held management.

Source: Peking Review, No. 11, March 13, 1970
Transcribed by www.wengewang.org


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