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 Workers, Peasants and Soldier's Studying Theory: Carry the Communist Spirit Forward

Workers, Peasants and Soldier's Studying Theory

Carry the Communist Spirit Forward

by the theoretical group of a naval shipyard

Source: Peking Review, No. 33, August 15, 1975
Transcribed by www.wengewang.org

    SHORTLY after the victory of the October Socialist Revolution, the Moscow-Kazan Railway workers in 1919 initiated and organized the "communist subbotniks" (voluntary work on Saturdays without pay) in response to the call of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) to "work in a revolutionary way.'' Speaking highly of this revolutionary drive displayed by the worker masses, Lenin regarded it as "the actual beginning of Communism. He pointed out: "It is the beginning of a revolution that is more difficult, more material, more radical and more decisive than the overthrow of the bourgeoisie, for it is a victory over our own conservatism, indiscipline, petty-bourgeois egoism, a victory over the habits that accursed capitalism left as a heritage to the worker and peasant." (A Great Beginning.) This illuminating remark by Lenin has enabled us to understand profoundly that to defeat the bourgeoisie thoroughly and consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat, it is necessary to bring into full play the revolutionary initiative and creativeness of the masses of the people, carry forward the communist spirit and wage a long and arduous .struggle against the "birth marks" left over from the old society.
     Under the leadership of Chairman Mao and the Communist Party, the Chinese people, after prolonged and hard struggles, got rid of the three big mountains — imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism — that lay like a dead weight on them and founded New China, a state of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Standing on their own feet, the Chinese people have actively plunged into socialist revolution and construction with enormous enthusiasm and shown their great wisdom and ability. In a short period of time, we have successfully accomplished a series of important tasks in both revolution and construction and gradually changed the poor and backward features of old China. Particularly since the start of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution we have smashed the bourgeois headquarters of Liu Shao-chi and of Lin Piao and deepened the socialist revolution in the superstructure including all spheres of culture, thereby further shattering the mental shackles imposed on the proletariat and other labouring people by the exploiting classes. As a result, the revolutionary initiative of the masses of the people has soared as never before and the communist spirit has been brought into fuller play.

"Revolutions are the locomotives of history." (Marx: The Class Struggles in France, 1848 to 1850.) Now it can be seen clearly that our revolutionary cause has been advancing continuously in the struggle against the "birth marks" left over from the old society and the revolutionary initiative and communist spirit of the people has been increasing steadily in the struggle to constantly eradicate the old society's "birth marks,'' Ever since the founding of New China in 1949, Chairman Mao has led the masses of the people in carrying out ever deeper socialist revolution on the economic front as well as on the political and ideological fronts and in unfolding a series of political movements and ideological education movements. Each revolutionary mass movement is concurrently a major onslaught against and a general sweep-up of the old society's “birth marks," and also a fierce struggle against the overthrown exploiting classes dreaming of restoring the old social system and against the chieftains of the revisionist line who have tried with might and main to preserve and extend the "birth marks" of the old society. It is in the course of waging these struggles that the proletariat and other labouring people make constant efforts to rid themselves of dirt and enhance their consciousness of class struggle, the two-line struggle and continuing the revolution. Hence a fuller display of revolutionary initiative and communist spirit.
  Our shipyard's history clearly demonstrates this. In its early days, interference and sabotage by the revisionist line and bourgeois right left over from the old society as regards mutual relations among people seriously hampered bringing into play their initiative, SO much so that a slipway could not be completed even after more than three years' work. During the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, we criticized the revisionist line in running enterprises and put an end to all sorts of interference and sabotage. Workers have taken part in designing and management and cadres and technicians have made it a rule to participate in productive labour. As a result, their revolutionary initiative and creativeness soar to a new high. To build a mechanized slipway bigger and better than the unfinished one, a blacksmith turned deputy director of the shipyard led a group of more than* 20 workers as the backbone force and mobilized all the other workers and staff members to do most of the designing and all the construction by themselves. The slipway was completed in a year and construction costs cut by half. It has been used to repair many warships and the quality has proved good.
  Socialist society covers the period in which declining capitalism and rising communism are locked in struggle. Our task is to restrict, gradually weaken and finally eliminate what is capitalist in the course of struggle, while energetically developing what is communist and enabling communism to triumph over capitalism step by step.
     Fundamentally speaking, by revolutionary initiative we mean initiative in struggling for the victory of communism over capitalism. As representatives of the reactionary and decadent bourgeoisie, the chieftains of the revisionist line like Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao were always addicted to the ''birth marks'' and "defects" left from the old society and clung to them like grim death. Conversely, they hated to the marrow of their bones the new emerging things. which are diametrically opposed to those "birth marks'' and "defects," and the initiative and communist spirit displayed by the people in socialist revolution and construction. Flaunting the banner of socialism, they did all they could to preserve and extend what is capitalist. They fanatically sang the praises of "material incentives," prattling that "material incentives are necessary somehow or other," "whether people's treatment (salary, position)... is handled well or not determines how well they give play to their initiative," and "the principle of distribution to each according to his work and that of material interests" are the "decisive motive force" for developing production. What they wanted was initiative stimulated by "material incentives" and not socialist revolutionary initiative at all. In other words, they wanted the capitalist initiative of working exclusively for profit.
  Lenin said: "One good turn deserves another — such are the ethics of the capitalist world." (Report at a Joint Session of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee, the Moscow Soviet, Factory Committees and Trade Unions.) By advertising "material incentives," Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao aimed at extending bourgeois right, whose existence in socialist society is inevitable, and that part of inequality it entails and using the old traditional ideas and force of habit and capitalist practice to corrupt the proletariat and other labouring people, stir up people's selfish yearning for material gains and keep their views within the extremely narrow confines of personal material interests. What they vainly attempted was to fundamentally smother the masses' revolutionary initiative so as to attain their criminal aim of overthrowing the dictatorship of the proletariat and restoring capitalism. Wasn't this the way the Soviet revisionist renegade clique brought about an all-round restoration of capitalism in the world's first socialist country?
  Lenin once pointed out: The feudal organization of social labour rested on the discipline of the bludgeon, the capitalist organization of social labour rested on the discipline of hunger, and "the communist organization of social labour, the first step towards which is Socialism, rests, and will do so more and more as time goes on, on the free and conscious discipline of the toilers themselves who have thrown off the yoke both of the landlords and capitalists." (A Great Beginning.) The "communist subbotniks" gave expression to such a conscious discipline, as does the selfless work by hundreds of millions of the Chinese labouring people for the cause of socialist revolution and construction. In the movement to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius, many workers in our shipyard defied hardships and fatigue to meet production plans. They have tried their best to do more work in- their field, learn to do work they are not familiar with and take up work not assigned to them. Here "material incentives" as mouthed by Lin Piao are nowhere to be seen, let alone the decisive role they are supposed to play. Such a high degree of revolutionary initiative among the masses is the very result of the criticism of revisionist junk like "material incentives" and "money is all-powerful."
  One veteran worker in our shipyard in charge of the slipways has an educational level equivalent only to a primary school graduate. After going through the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and The movement to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius, he came to realize that there are two futures for a socialist society: one is advancing towards communism, the other is sliding back to capitalism. It was brought home to him that as a veteran worker he shoulders an important responsibility in the struggle by the proletariat to completely defeat the bourgeoisie. To quicken warship overhauls, he was determined to improve the equipment of slipways. He spent many a sleepless night pondering over the innovation and had it in mind even when he was not on the job. Unable to do complicated calculations, he drew a huge plane figure section by section on the ground. When the first draft design failed, he drew another. In this way, he joined efforts with other comrades to successfully design new slipway equipment which halved the time needed to move a warship on to the slipway for repairs, thus contributing to the revolution. It is not hard to see that if this veteran worker had forgotten about the working class' important historical mission, regarded his labour and himself as commodities and thought of "money" and "reward" alone, he would not have been able to do his work selflessly and bring his revolutionary initiative and creativeness into full play.
  The revolutionary initiative and creativeness of the working class is based on its ever-rising communist consciousness. Only by conscientiously studying works by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin and by Chairman Mao and getting a clear understanding of the Marxist theory on the dictatorship of the proletariat by integrating theory with practice can we distinguish what is communist from what is capitalist and what the buds of socialist new things are from what the "birth marks" of the old society are. Only in this way can we remain sober-minded, correctly observe and deal with all the things in socialist society, strive to carry forward the communist spirit and constantly do away with the "birth marks" of the old society and fight for the victory of communism over capitalism step by step.
Source: Peking Review, No. 33, August 15, 1975
Transcribed by www.wengewang.org

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