Great Benefits Derive From a Good Analysis
Great Benefits Derive From a Good Analysis
Great Benefits Derive From a Good Analysis
Great Benefits Derive From a Good Analysis
by Chiang Han
Source: Peking Review, No. 50, December 14, 1973
EMPLOYING dialectical-materialist viewpoints and methods in learning actual conditions, carefully analysing problems and drawing the correct conclusions is the approach a proletarian revolutionary following a Marxist line of cognition should take.
Learning the Actual Conditions
Throughout the protracted revolutionary struggles of the Chinese Communist Party, Chairman Mao has always enjoined the comrades to learn to shoot at the "target" of the Chinese revolution with the "arrow" of Marxism-Leninism.
He stressed: "We should proceed from the actual conditions inside and outside the country, the province, county or district, and derive from them, as our guide to action, laws which are inherent in them and not imaginary, that is, we should find the internal relations of the events occurring around us. And in order to do that we must rely not on subjective imagination, not on momentary enthusiasm, not on lifeless books, but on facts that exist objectively; we must appropriate the material in detail and, guided by the general principles of Marxism-Leninism, draw correct conclusions from it." (Reform Our Study.)
One essential reason for the Chinese revolution's victory and the advancement of our Party's cause is that the Party has always followed Chairman Mao's teachings of integrating theory with practice and adhering to the Marxist line of cognition.
The correctness or incorrectness of the ideological and political line decides everything, as Chairman Mao has pointed out. The Marxist line of cognition is the ideological foundation of the political line of the proletarian party. At the same time, it serves the political line. Without a correct line of cognition, therefore, it would be impossible to formulate and implement a correct political line.
Integrating the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism with the concrete practice of the Chinese revolution, Chairman Mao drew up, in the course of the socialist revolution in China, the Party's basic line* (Sec explanatory notes on p. 13.) and policies for the entire historical period of socialism. Ho also laid down the specific line and policies for specific work. We should attach importance not only to the Party's linn and policies for specific work but. in particular, to its basic line and policies. This is tin-fundamental guarantee of greater successes in all work
To obstruct and sabotage the correct political line of the Party from being carried out, bourgeois representatives who have sneaked into the Party frequently substitute metaphysical sophistry for materialist dialectics in opposing, distorting and adulterating the Marxist line of cognition.
Liu Shao-chi, for one, had pronounced the method of investigation and study "out of date." He spared no effort in attacking Marxist class analysis and the mass line.
Lin Piao, for another, asserted: "In doing things, the order is reversed, that is, the order is from the subjective to the objective." Here, he was severing the dialectical unity between knowledge and practice. In spreading the fallacy that "the order is reversed," he was actually trying to impose his subjective will on objective facts.
This out-and-out idealist and anti-Marxist line of cognition was used by Lin Piao to change the Party's basic line and promote his counter-revolutionary revisionist line.
We must, therefore, thoroughly repudiate the idealist line of cognition of Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao by stressing the stand, viewpoints and methods of the proletariat in learning the actual conditions, carefully analysing problems and drawing the correct conclusions. We should consciously follow the Marxist line of cognition and resolutely carry out the Party's basic line and policies in the light of the objective conditions of class struggles at home and abroad and the concrete conditions of the area and department or unit we are in.
Chairman Mao has pointed out: "In the work of any department, it is necessary to know the situation first and only then can the work be well handled."(Reform Our Study.)
To gather as much material as possible beforehand and know a subject in all its aspects is the objective basis enabling us to observe the political situation at home and abroad, analyse and study the problems, implement the Party's basic line and policies and do our work well.
Carefully analysing problems means processing in our minds the raw material obtained through investigation. Without an adequate quantity of raw material with a certain quality, it is impossible for our minds — the processing plants — to manufacture high-quality products. Without investigation and a knowledge of actual conditions, any analysis made can only be a shot in the dark.
No proper analysis can be made if one only knows the superficial features of a thing and has only a small amount of one-sided material at hand. This is because a small amount of one-sided material can neither reflect the characteristics of a contradiction in its totality nor the characteristics of each of its aspects. Impetuously plunging into a solution of the contradiction (i.e., answer a question, settle a dispute, handle work or direct a military operation) on this basis is bound to lead to trouble.
This does not mean, of course, that every detail of the objective process must be taken into account; this would be both impossible and unnecessary. It is possible and most necessary, however, to take stock of the basic situation, basic characteristics, and basic tendencies of the development or a thing at the time.
The only way to obtain all-round and authentic material is to have an attitude of seeking truth from facts and make earnest and painstaking investigations. In making an investigation, we must study both the overall situation and make a deeper study of the typical, by the method of "dissecting a sparrow." Only in this way can our judgment and inference be sound and our conclusion founded on the basis of the materialist theory of reflection.
Using the Marxist-Leninist Method in Analysis
Even when one already possesses a great deal of reliable material, it does not necessarily follow that the correct conclusion will be reached. It is most important to "apply the Marxist-Leninist method in analysing a political situation and appraising the class forces, instead of making a subjective analysis and appraisal." (Mao Tsetung: On Correcting Mistaken Ideas in the Party.)
In class society where class struggle exists, all social phenomena are closely linked with class struggle. From their varied class stands, people view and analyse problems from different points of departure and use different methods. This is why different and even diametrically opposite conclusions may be reached on the same question or about the same material.
If a person does not take the class stand of the proletariat and observe problems and the situation with the Marxist method of class analysis, he will never get the key to solving a problem and will have no criterion for distinguishing right from wrong. An objective investigation of the situation and correct analysis and study of the problem will Inert be out of the question.
To lead the revolution to victory, members of revolutionary parties should keep abreast of class struggles at home and abroad and constantly study the development and changes in the different classes in society; they should be adept at analysing (he basic class relations and correctly assess the balance of class forces and the political situation. Only thus can they distinguish between enemies and friends and between direct and indirect allies in the different stages of development of the revolution. Only thus can they distinguish between those things that help consolidate the socialist system and the dictatorship of the proletariat and those that are bourgeois and revisionist, whether they are peddled openly or under camouflage. In this way, correct policies and tactics can be laid down, all forces that can be united with are united, and all contradictions and struggles in the enemy camp can be fully utilized and the principal enemy isolated and attacked.
Chairman Mao has pointed out: "Fully to reflect u thing in its totality, to reflect its essence, to reflect its inherent laws, it is necessary through the exercise of thought to reconstruct the rich data of sense perception, discarding the dross and selecting the essential, eliminating the false and retaining the true, proceeding from the one to the other and from the outside to the inside, in order to form a system of concepts and theories — it is necessary to make a leap from perceptual to rational knowledge." (On Practice.)
In analysing problems, it is most important to get at the essence of a thing and not be put off by temporary appearances. The appearance and essence of a thing constitute the two sides of a dialectical unity; the two are interrelated, but they are certainly not equivalent.
Some appearances are relatively clear reflections of certain aspects of the essence of a thing; while others are twisted reflections. Still others are false appearances which distort or even turn the essence of a thing upside down.
In social life, in particular, decadent and dying reactionary forces, to preserve their existence, sometimes openly reveal their reactionary essence and at other times conceal their essence behind a false appearance.
The Soviet revisionist renegade clique, for instance, brutally exploits and oppresses the proletariat and the revolutionary people. But it does its best to put on a false front of "concern" for the people's "livelihood" and "welfare." At loggerheads over dividing spheres of influence in their own interests, the two superpowers sanctimoniously talk about "co-operation" and "peace."
In cases such as these, one should never be fooled by false appearances or superficial phenomena which are a distorted reflection of the essence nor should one equate the appearance with the essence. We should treat appearances only as an "usher at the threshold" of a thing, probe it deeply, observe the various aspects of a contradiction and concentrate on grasping and revealing the essence of the thing.
There are two mutually contradictory aspects in everything. The nature of a thing is determined mainly by the principal aspect of a contradiction, the aspect which has gained the dominant position. When we say we must look at the essential or main aspects of a problem, it means looking at the principal aspect of the contradiction of a thing.
As regards our work, we should be clear in our minds as to whether the aspect representing the good, the correct and the achievements is primary or the aspect representing the bad, erroneous and shortcomings is primary. This is a demarcation line which must be sharply drawn. Otherwise what is primary and what is secondary may become inverted and the nature of the problem may be misunderstood.
In analysing the international situation, too, one must make clear whether the tide of the people's revolution is the main trend at present, or whether the counter-revolutionary adverse current is dominant. Without a basic, correct assessment of the situation, one will lose his bearings, vacillate right and left, and draw wrong conclusions and thereby direct the work in an idealist way.
In analysing anything, the principal contradiction must be grasped. In analysing the class struggles in the period of the socialist revolution, for example, the principal contradiction — i.e., the struggles between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie and between the socialist road and the capitalist road — must be grasped. The two-line struggle within the Party is the reflection in the Party of class struggles in society. Imperialism and social-imperialism, which are trying to subvert the proletarian dictatorship in China and restore capitalism, will doubtless use every means to carry out sabotage and collude with our class enemies in the country. We must, therefore, raise our revolutionary vigilance, realize the protracted and complex nature of such struggles and analyse the characteristics of class struggle and the two-line struggle in every period, persist in carrying out socialist education and constantly consolidate our proletarian dictatorship. At the same time, we must distinguish between the two different types of contradictions*, (See explanatory notes on p. 13.) those between ourselves and the enemy and those among the people themselves, and solve them in different ways. These are all concrete problems which we must frequently analyse in implementing the Party's basic line.
Repeated Process of Analysis
Knowledge of the objective world is obtained only after a certain process. The analysis and study of problems, by which knowledge is gained of the objective world, too, can be made only after a certain process. The dialectical-materialist theory of knowledge tells us that correct knowledge often can be arrived at only after many repetitions of the process from practice to knowledge and then back to practice. This is especially true of important problems involving many complex contradictions.
In this case, it is not easy for us to recognize an important problem in its totality due to limitations of subjective or objective conditions at the time, or because we do not yet possess enough material or because certain aspects of the problem itself have not revealed themselves fully. Repeated and careful study and analysis in the light of concrete conditions is called for in regard to such contradictions.
There must be a meticulous and prudent attitude; carelessness must be opposed. Coming to a rash conclusion when the situation is still unclear or on the basis of scant and desultory material will lead to mistakes in the work. On the other hand, not paying attention to certain signs and tendencies which have already appeared because the situation is not yet entirely clear will also lead to mistakes in work.
The correct attitude is to grasp in lime problems that tend to become a trend and make a proper analysis first on the basis of the material already available, and at the same time let our knowledge grow along with practice, so that it gradually deepens and approaches nearer and nearer to the essence of things. The more complex the contradiction is, the greater the effort should be in order to make repeated analysis by using the Marxist stand, viewpoint and method. Only thus can anti-socialist and anti-Marxist tides and trends be recognized and resolutely opposed; only thus can new-born socialist and Marxist things be recognized and firmly supported. Lenin said: "Anyone who is afraid of work cannot possibly arrive at the truth." (Controversial Issues.) Without making a big effort, one can easily slip into the quagmire of idealism and metaphysics.
Some of our comrades may want to implement the Party's basic line and do their work well, but they are not free from subjectiveness, one-sidedness and superficiality in analysing problems. The main reason here is they have not fully remoulded their world outlook.
Chairman Mao has said: "This dialectical world outlook teaches us primarily how to observe and analyse the movement of opposites in different things and, on the basis of such analysis, to indicate the methods for resolving contradictions." (On Contradiction.)
Marxism holds that world outlook and methodology are identical. One must have a correct world outlook in order to master a scientific methodology. We must, therefore, constantly remould our subjective world and reform our cognitive ability to make it conform to the law of the objective outside world at the same time as we transform the objective world. Only by conscientiously studying Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought through practice in struggle, closely integrating theory and practice and combining transformation of the objective world with remoulding of the subjective world can we eradicate subjective and idealist ideas from our minds and enhance our consciousness to do things in accordance with the dialectical-materialist theory of knowledge.
(Abridged translation of an article in "Hongqi” No. 11, 1973. Subheads are ours.)
The Basic Line of the Chinese Communist Party In the Entire Historical Period of Socialism
At the Tenth Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in September 1962, Chairman Mao pointed out: "Socialist society covers a considerably long historical period. In the historical period of socialism, there are still classes, class contradictions and class struggle, there is the struggle between the socialist road and the capitalist road, and there is the danger of capitalist restoration. We must recognize the protracted and complex nature of this struggle. We must heighten our vigilance. We must conduct socialist education. We must correctly understand and handle class contradictions and class struggle, distinguish the contradictions between ourselves and the enemy from those among the people and handle them correctly. Otherwise a socialist country like ours will turn into its opposite and degenerate, and a capitalist restoration will take place. From now on we must remind ourselves of this every year, every month and every day so that we can retain a rather sober understanding of this problem and have a Marxist-Leninist line." This is the basic line of our Party for the entire period of socialist revolution formulated by Chairman Mao who, proceeding from the fundamental interests of the proletariat and displaying a thoroughgoing revolutionary spirit, has summed up the historical experience of the proletarian revolution and proletarian dictatorship, and particularly the serious lessons of capitalist restoration in the Soviet Union, and used the Marxist law of the unity of opposites to profoundly analyse class contradictions and class struggle in the historical period of socialism in our country. This basic line was written into the General Programme of the Constitution of the Communist Party of China adopted by the Ninth Party Congress in April 1969. The stipulation regarding this basic line was retained in the Party Constitution adopted by the Tenth Party Congress in August this year. (See Peking Review, Nos. 35-36, 1973.) This line points to the orientation of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Two Different Types of Contradictions
These refer to contradictions between ourselves and the enemy and those among the people themselves, which are two types of contradictions totally different in nature. The former are antagonistic contradictions, while the latter, generally speaking, are contradictions among the people whose basic interests are identical.
What is meant by "the people" and what is meant by "the enemy"? In different countries and in different historical periods in the same country, they vary in content. For instance, in the present stage in China — the period of building socialism — the classes, strata and social groups favouring, supporting and working for the cause of socialist construction all fall under the category of the people, while the social forces and groups resisting the socialist revolution and hostile to or sabotaging socialist construction are enemies of the people.
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