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 Struggle in Philosophy and Class Struggle—Three major struggles on China's philosophical front

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   Marxism can develop only through struggle, and not only is this true of the past and the present, it is necessarily true of the future as well.

- MAO TSETUNG





Struggle in Philosophy and Class Struggle

—Three major struggles on China's philosophical front

Source: Peking Review, No. 4, January 22, 1971
Transcribed by www.WENGEWANG.ORG


by the Revolutionary Mass Criticism Writing Group of the Party School Under the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party

ONCE the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, there have been three major struggles of principle on China's philosophical front. These struggles centre round the question of the economic base and the superstructure, the question of whether there is identity between thinking and being, and the question of "one divides into two" and "combine two into one." These struggles were provoked by the renegade Yang Hsien-chen and stage-managed by the renegade, hidden traitor and scab Liu Shao-chi behind the scenes at crucial junctures in the struggle between the two classes, the two roads and the two lines. They were fierce struggles between dialectical materialism and historical materialism on the one hand and idealism and metaphysics on the other. They were a reflection, on the philosophical front, of the acute class struggle at home and abroad.

I

 In his Report to the Second Plenary Session of the Seventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, our great leader Chairman Mao pointed out that after the countrywide victory of the Chinese revolution the basic contradiction in Chinese society was "the contradiction between the working class and the bourgeoisie"; he urged the people to continue the revolution, strengthen the people's democratic dictatorship, i.e., the dictatorship of the proletariat, and "build China into a great socialist state." At the end of 1952, Chairman Mao went further to formulate the general line for the period of transition: the gradual realization of socialist industrialization and gradual completion of the socialist transformation of agriculture, handicrafts and capitalist industry and commerce.
 Running counter to this, Liu Shao-chi openly opposed the spirit of the Second Plenary Session of the Party's Seventh Central Committee. He desperately preached the fallacy that "exploitation has its merits", and advocated the development of capitalism. Waving the tattered banner of the "theory of productive forces" after liberation, he dished up a sinister programme for developing capitalism which called for "co-operation among the five sectors of the economy * to consolidate the new democratic system." Blatantly opposing the Party's general line for the period of transition, he went in person to the Marxist-Leninist Institute, which was controlled by him and Yang Hsien-chen, to peddle his trash.
   At that moment of acute struggle between Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line and Liu Shao-chi's counter-revolutionary revisionist line, the renegade Yang Hsien-chen, at the bidding of Liu Shao-chi, churned out the so-called theory of "synthesized economic base," thereby provoking the first big struggle.
 Yang Hsien-chen claimed that the economic base during the period of transition was of a "synthesized nature," "including both the socialist sector and the capitalist sector of the economy" which "can develop in a balanced and co-ordinated way." He babbled that the socialist superstructure should, without discrimination, "serve the entire economic base," including the capitalist sector of the economy, and "also serve the bourgeoisie." This is the notorious theory of "synthesized economic base."
   In putting forward these reactionary absurdities, Yang Hsien-chen completely denied the fact that socialist economy and capitalist economy were diametrically opposed and that they struggled against each other. He denied the class nature of the superstructure, his aim being the all-round class collaboration and class capitulation in all spheres, from the economic base to the superstructure. This was an attempt to change the nature of the dictatorship of the proletariat in our country, oppose the establishment of a socialist economic base and perpetuate the existence and growth of capitalism in China.
   The theory of "synthesized economic base," which advocated the development of capitalism, is just a variant of the "theory of productive forces" which new and old revisionists in China and other countries have held sacred for scores of years. According to this theory, China must not carry out the socialist transformation of the private ownership of the means of production and cannot go in for socialism but can only allow capitalism to spread unchecked because the productive forces in China are still backward and capitalism is not developed.
   As soon as Yang Hsien-chen trotted out this reactionary fallacy, he was dealt a head-on blow by the proletariat. Not reconciled to his defeat, he preached in 1955 his theory of "synthesized economic base" more systematically than ever. Openly supporting him, Liu Shao-chi said: "You are right," adding that private capitalism "is a component of the base (during the period of transition)." Chairman Mao sternly criticized Liu Shao-chi's reactionary programme of "co-operation among the five sectors of the economy to consolidate the new democratic system." Chairman Mao pointed out that its reactionary nature was to develop capitalism. Under the guidance of invincible Mao Tsetung Thought, the socialist transformation of the ownership of the means of production was basically completed in 1956 and the Party's general line for the period of transition was victoriously implemented. Yang Hsien-chen's theory of "synthesized economic base" not only went bankrupt theoretically but was thoroughly smashed by revolutionary practice.

II

 In 1958, Chairman Mao put forward the general line of "going all out, aiming high and achieving greater, faster, better and more economical results in building socialism." The masses, "so inspired, so militant and so daring," brought their conscious dynamic role and revolutionary initiative into full play, created the new situation of the great leap forward in socialist construction, and established the people's communes which are of great historic significance.
 At this juncture, Liu Shao-chi and his ilk jumped out and frenziedly attacked the general line, the great leap forward and the people's commune and slandered the revolutionary mass movements. Taking his cue from Liu Shao-chi, Yang Hsien-chen provoked a new battle in the field of philosophy by dishing up the theory that "there is no identity between thinking and being."
 Yang Hsien-chen arbitrarily declared: "Identity between thinking and being is an idealistic proposition." He raved that "identity between thinking and being" and "dialectical identity" do not mean the same thing and that they belong to "two different categories." Viciously distorting Marxism-Leninism, he tried to set the identity between thinking and being against the materialist theory of reflection, alleging that, with regard to the question of the relationship between thinking and being, "materialism uses the theory of reflection to solve it, while idealism solves it by means of identity."
 Materialist dialectics teaches us that the law of the unity of opposites is universal. The identity of opposites, that is, their mutual dependence for existence and their transformation into each other, is undoubtedly applicable to the relationship between thinking and being. By denying the identity between thinking and being, Yang Hsien-chen was denying that the two opposite aspects of the contradiction between thinking and being depended on each other for their existence and could transform themselves into each other in given conditions. If Yang Hsien-chen's assertion were true, the law of the unity of opposites as taught by dialectics would not be universal.
   Yang Hsien-chen regarded thinking and being as absolute opposites. He opposed the dynamic role of revolutionary theory and opposed the revolutionary mass movement. He exaggerated the non-essential and secondary aspects of the revolutionary mass movement to the point of absurdity. He concentrated his attack on one point to the complete disregard of the rest. He closed his eyes completely to the essence and main aspects of the revolutionary mass movement, making no scruples to palm off his counter-revolutionary subjective perceptions as the objective reality in a vain attempt to overthrow the dictatorship of the proletariat and restore capitalism. This is subjective idealism pure and simple.
 By denying the dialectical identity between thinking and being, Yang Hsien-chen was, in the final analysis, opposed to arming the masses with Mao Tsetung Thought and using Mao Tsetung Thought to actively transform the world, that is to say, he was trying to transform the world with the reactionary world outlook of the bourgeoisie. It was precisely this reactionary theory of Yang Hsien-chen's that provided the theoretical basis for Liu Shao-chi's slavish comprador philosophy and his doctrine of trailing behind at a snail's pace. In 1958, Chairman Mao sharply pointed out the reactionary essence of this fallacy of Yang Hsien-chen.
   In 1963, Chairman Mao wrote the well-known article Where Do Correct Ideas Come From? In it he penetratingly expounded the great truth that "matter can be transformed into consciousness and consciousness into matter," creatively developed the Marxist theory of cognition and thoroughly criticized the bourgeois idealism and metaphysics of Liu Shao-chi, Yang Hsien-chen and company, and made the most scientific summing-up of the struggle centring around the question of the identity between thinking and being.

III

   In 1964, Liu Shao-chi directed Yang Hsien-chen to concoct the reactionary theory "combine two into one” in open opposition to Chairman Mao's revolutionary dialectics "one divides into two." Thus gave rise to a struggle on a still wider scale.
   Guided by Chairman Mao's great theory of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat, the Chinese people that year launched a socialist education movement at home and engaged in open polemics with Soviet revisionism. That the reactionary theory "combine two into one" should make its appearance at this juncture completely met the counter-revolutionary needs of imperialism, revisionism and the reactionaries and their lackeys Liu Shao-chi and his like.
   Chairman Mao pointed out: "All things invariably divide into two"; "In society as in nature, every entity invariably breaks up into its different parts, only there are differences in content and form under different concrete conditions." Chairman Mao's "one divides into two" is the most penetrating, concise and profound generalization of the law of the unity of opposites; it is a great development of materialist dialectics.
 Acknowledging that one divides into two means acknowledging the existence, in socialist society, of classes, class contradictions and class struggle, the struggle between the socialist road and the capitalist road, the danger of capitalist restoration, and the threat of aggression and subversion by imperialism and modern revisionism. To resolve these contradictions, it is essential to continue the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat.
 However, the reactionary theory "combine two into one" advocates that "all things invariably combine two into one" and that the identity of opposites shows that the opposites have an "inseparable link," "common ground" and "common demand." This reactionary fallacy aims at reconciling contradictions, liquidating struggle, negating transformation and opposing revolution. It is out-and-out bourgeois metaphysics and idealism. In essence, it aims at combining the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, revolution and counterrevolution into one; it opposes continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat and tries to restore capitalism. It is the basis for Liu Shao-chi's theory of "the dying out of class struggle."
   As soon as it made its appearance, the theory "combine two into one" met with crushing blows from the proletarian headquarters and the revolutionary masses. Our great leader Chairman Mao personally led the struggle of criticizing this reactionary theory and pointed out in a clear-cut way that the core of this revisionist theory was class reconciliation, thus sealing its doom.

IV

   The three major struggles on the philosophical front show that the struggle in the field of philosophy has always been a reflection of class struggle and the struggle between the two lines. They serve class struggle and the struggle between the two lines; we must not take the struggle in philosophy to be merely an "academic controversy." Liu Shao-chi, Yang Hsien-chen and company frenziedly attacked dialectical materialism and historical materialism, spread reactionary idealism and metaphysics and provoked one struggle after another, all in a vain attempt to shake the philosophical basis of Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line and create a theoretical "basis" for the counterrevolutionary revisionist line of restoring capitalism. Chairman Mao's philosophical thinking has come into being and developed in the protracted struggle against both the "Left" opportunist line and Right opportunist line within the Party and against international revisionist trends, and is the most scientific and correct summing-up of the struggle between the two lines.
 The three major struggles on the philosophical front also tell us that the struggle between the two lines is, in the final analysis, the struggle between the two world outlooks. One's world outlook decides which line he defends and implements. The root cause of the counter-revolutionary revisionist line peddled by Liu Shao-chi, Yang Hsien-chen and their kind was their world outlook, the world outlook of renegades, their bourgeois idealism and metaphysics. In order to consciously defend and implement Chairman Mao's revolutionary line, we must conscientiously study Chairman Mao's philosophical thinking, use dialectical materialism and historical materialism to overcome the idealism and metaphysics in our minds, and earnestly remould our world outlook. We must learn to distinguish genuine Marxism from false Marxism, and tell the correct line from an erroneous line.
   The three major struggles in the field of philosophy all ended with resounding victories for Chairman Mao's philosophical thinking. But class struggle has not ended. The struggle between materialism and idealism and between dialectics and metaphysics will always go on. We must thoroughly criticize and discredit their reactionary philosophical fallacies and have Chairman Mao's brilliant philosophical thinking always light up the road of our victorious advance.
  
* The five sectors of the economy were state-owned economy, co-operative economy, the individual economy of the peasants and handicraftsmen, private capitalist economy and state capitalist economy.
  
  
  

 
 
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