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 Relying on the Masses to Consolidate Proletarian Dictatorship

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Relying on the Masses to Consolidate Proletarian Dictatorship


by Nan Yu

Source: Peking Review, No. 30, July 25, 1975
Transcribed by www.wengewang.org

TO consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat, it is imperative to rely on the masses of the people. This is an important content of the theory of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought on the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Historical Action Is the Action of the Masses

  The mass viewpoint is a basic viewpoint of historical materialism. The mass line is a Marxist line. When they worked out the theory of proletarian revolution and dictatorship, Marx and Engels pointed out: "With the thoroughness of the historical action the size of the mass whose action it is will therefore increase." (The Holy Family.) Marx and Engels emphasized that in order to overthrow the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and exercise the dictatorship of the proletariat, the Communist Party — the vanguard of the proletariat — must organize the forces of the working class and other labouring masses, especially those of the peasants, and get them united. In summing up the experience of the struggle of the Paris Commune — the first great attempt at the dictatorship of the proletariat, Marx and Engels enthusiastically eulogized the earth-shaking heroic struggle of the French proletariat and the broad masses. They held that it is impossible to overthrow the bourgeois stale power and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat without such a historical initiative and the spirit of self-sacrifice of the broad masses. In summing up the historical experience of the dictatorship of the proletariat, Lenin explicitly pointed out: "What was the power based on, then? It was based on the mass of the people." (A Contribution to the History of the Question of the Dictatorship.) After the October Revolution, Lenin time and again emphasized that only by relying on the masses of the people is it possible to realize the various tasks of the dictatorship of the proletariat, triumph over capitalism and consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat.
  Applying the principle of integrating the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism with concrete practice, our great leader Chairman Mao put forward the theory on continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat and formulated for our Party a basic line for the entire historical period of socialism. In all the political movements initiated and led by Chairman Mao himself in the more than 20 years since the founding of New China, we kept the broad masses well informed of the Party's line and mobilized them to wage struggle against the bourgeoisie. This not only shattered the various plots for a restoration by the bourgeoisie but tempered the broad masses, thereby steadily consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat. With the great mettle of a proletarian revolutionary, Chairman Mao aroused the masses during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution to expose our dark aspect openly, in an all-round way and from below. Through the unremitting heroic struggle by the millions of the masses, we have destroyed the two bourgeois headquarters whose ringleaders were Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao, and shattered their counter-revolutionary plot for capitalist restoration. Relying on the masses to consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat is a basic experience gained in the 20 years or so since the founding of New China.

Relying on the Masses to Suppress Reactionaries

  To rely on the broad masses to consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat is determined by the nature of proletarian state power. The primary difference between the dictatorship of the proletariat and the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie lies in the fact that the former deals blows at a small number of exploiters for the benefit of the masses of the exploited. All state power in the past represented the dictatorship of the small number of exploiters over the labouring masses and excluded the masses of the people from exercising state power. The dictatorship of the proletariat is a dictatorship of the masses of the people over the few exploiters, and the masses have to be drawn into taking part in state power most extensively and effectively.
     Protecting the masses or repressing them is the basic distinction between the dictatorship of the proletariat and the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. The vitality of proletarian slate power is found in its flesh-and-blood ties with the masses of the people. If this state power is divorced from them, it cannot realize its own tasks. If it goes over to the opposite side of the people and suppresses them, then its nature will be changed. By means of the state power it has usurped, the Soviet revisionist renegade clique has engaged in fascist rule and bloody suppression of the masses of the people. This fully exposes its ugly features of betraying the dictatorship of the proletariat.
  The task of prime importance in the dictatorship of the proletariat is to suppress the resistance of the exploiting classes. Lenin said: "The state is the machinery of suppression. The exploiters must be suppressed, but they cannot be suppressed by police, they must be suppressed by the masses themselves, the machinery must be linked with the masses, must represent them as the Soviets do." (Extraordinary Seventh Congress of the R.C.P.(B,)) Our experience in suppressing counterrevolutionaries also has made it clear that professional work in this field is necessary. But what is most important is currying out the mass line under the leadership of the Party committees. Chairman Mao has taught us time and again that the exercise of dictatorship over the reactionary classes as a whole must rely on the Party and the masses. The labouring masses, who were oppressed and exploited by the reactionary classes, have a deep understanding of the latter's nature and are familiar with the law of activities of the class enemies. Only by relying on the masses of the people and giving full play to people's democracy and the masses' revolutionary enthusiasm can we deal sure, accurate and relentless blows at the handful of class enemies with emphasis on accuracy and realize the dictatorship over the reactionary classes effectively. Chairman Mao has said: "Without broad democracy for the people, it is impossible for the dictatorship of the proletariat to be consolidated or for political power to be stable. Without democracy, without arousing the masses and without supervision by the masses, it is impossible to exercise effective dictatorship over the reactionaries and bad elements or to remould them effectively; they will continue to make trouble and may stage a come-back." This instruction of Chairman Mao's profoundly pointed out to us the relations between democracy and dictatorship. Both democracy and dictatorship have class character. We carry out people's democracy precisely for the purpose of arousing the masses to exercise effective dictatorship over the class enemies. Democracy itself is not an end, but a means to strengthen the dictatorship over the enemies. If there is any democracy which can be used to weaken or oppose dictatorship over the class enemies, it is never the democracy of the proletariat.
  The political power of the dictatorship of the proletariat should also rely on the broad masses in carrying out its tasks of defending our socialist motherland and preventing subversion and aggression by imperialism, social-imperialism and their running dogs. What is a true bastion of iron? It is the masses, the millions upon millions of people who genuinely and sincerely support the revolution. As long as we mobilize the masses, conscientiously implement the principles "Dig tunnels deep, store grain everywhere, and never seek hegemony" and "Be prepared against war, be prepared against natural disasters, and do everything for the people,1' and strengthen the building of the People's Liberation Army and the people's militia, the enemy will certainly be swallowed up in the mighty ocean of people's war if it dares to invade our country.

Relying on the Masses to Prevent Capitalist Restoration

  The dictatorship of the proletariat mast exercise dictatorship over internal and external reactionaries mid it also must create conditions making it impossible to the bourgeoisie to exist, or for a new bourgeoisie to arise. This latter task is much more complicated and difficult than expropriating the capitalists. To fulfill this task, it is even more necessary to have faith in and rely on the masses.
  The struggle between socialism and capitalism in the economic sphere has not come to an end in the wake of the basic victory in the socialist transformation of the system of ownership. In this field, not only have the overthrown landlord and capitalist classes not slopped their activities to sabotage the socialist economy, but the soil breeding the spontaneous forces of capitalism in the urban and rural areas exists. The soil includes the small producers and their force of habit, that part of ownership where socialist transformation has yet to be completed, the commodity economy, the three major differences (namely, those between workers and peasants, between city and countryside and between mental and manual labour) and bourgeois right. An order from above just won't sweep all this soil away. It is necessary to rely on the masses of the people, constantly raise their socialist consciousness, guide them to consciously resist capitalist tendencies and restrict bourgeois right under the dictatorship of the proletariat. Lenin regarded the mobilization of tens of millions of labouring people to fight against all kinds of habit and tradition of the bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie as a great struggle of world historic significance. During the socialist transformation and the socialist education movement in our urban and rural areas, Chairman Mao has taught us time and again to boldly mobilize the masses and have firm faith that they have a potentially inexhaustible enthusiasm for socialism. So long as their enthusiasm for socialism has really been brought into full play, we can, through mass struggle against the enemy and mass self-education movement, effectively pound at the capitalist forces, overcome capitalist tendencies, adhere to the socialist road and consolidate and strengthen the dictatorship of the proletariat.
     It will take quite a long period of time to decide the issue in the struggle between socialism and capitalism in the political and ideological spheres. Lenin pointed out: "We must overcome resistance from the capitalists in all its forms, not only in the military and the political spheres, but also ideological resistance, which is the most deep-seated and the strongest" (Speech Delivered at an All-Russia Conference of Political Education Workers of Gubernia and Uyezd Education Departments.) Because of the several thousand years of rule by the exploiting classes, their ideology is deeprooted. It exerts an influence in the superstructure, including the various spheres of culture. To clear away this garbage and prevent capitalist restoration, the proletariat must exercise all-round dictatorship over the bourgeoisie in the entire superstructure. Hence the necessity to criticize the bourgeoisie, the doctrines of Confucius and Mencius advocating restoration, retrogression and national betrayal, and revisionism in Various spheres. This cannot be done by relying only on a small number of people. Chairman Mao always pays great attention to mobilizing the masses to criticize the bourgeoisie. In his May 7 Directive issued in 1966, Chairman Mao pointed out that workers, peasants, soldiers, students and those working in commerce and state organizations should ail "criticize and repudiate the bourgeoisie." During the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and the movement to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius, Chairman Mao has mobilized the masses by the hundreds of millions to criticize the ideology of all exploiting classes, revisionism and the doctrines of Confucius and Mencius. The working class has mounted the political stage of struggle-criticism-transformation in the realm of the superstructure, the working class and poor and lower-middle peasants have taken part in the management of schools, workers, peasants and soldiers have become the main force in criticizing Lin Piao and Confucius, and a mass contingent of Marxist theoretical workers has been organized. All these are conducive to our occupying all the positions in the realm of the superstructure with Marxism and strengthening the all-round dictatorship over the bourgeoisie by the proletariat in the superstructure including the various spheres of culture.

Whether or Not to Rely on the Masses Are Two Opposite Lines

     State personnel should have close ties with the masses. If they divorce themselves from the masses and do not place themselves under the latter's supervision, bureaucratism and various unhealthy tendencies will multiply among them, and some even will degenerate into revisionists. It is just because of this that Chairman Mao has emphasized that cadres should have close lies with the masses and take part in collective productive labour and, together with the masses, should participate in class struggle, the struggle for production and scientific experiment — the three great revolutionary movements for building a mighty socialist country.
  Whether or not to rely on the masses to consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat is a question of line. Formulated by Chairman Mao, our Party's basic line demands that we rely on the masses and mobilize and organize them to fulfil the various tasks of the dictatorship of the proletariat and prevent capitalist restoration- All opportunists invariably fear the masses and do their utmost to oppose their struggle to consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat. The bourgeois careerist and conspirator Lin Piao peddled the idealist conception of history that "the highest are the wise and the lowest are the stupid." He maligned the labouring people as thinking only about "how to get oil, salt, sauce, vinegar and firewood" and attacked the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. He did all this in a vain attempt to subvert the dictatorship of the proletariat and set up a fascist dictatorship.
  Chairman Mao recently pointed out: Why did Lenin speak of exercising dictatorship over the bourgeoisie? It is essential to get this question clear. Lack of clarity on this question will lead to revisionism. This should be made known to the whole nation. This instruction of Chairman Mao's contains the important idea of relying on the masses of the people to consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat. Only by relying on the working class and the poor and lower-middle peasants and uniting all the forces that can be united with can the task of consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat be fulfilled in every factory, village, stale organ and school.
  
  
  
  

 
 
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