Adhere to the Party's Basic Line—Studying "On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among
Adhere to the Party's Basic Line—Studying "On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among
Adhere to the Party's Basic Line—Studying "On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among
Adhere to the Party's Basic Line
— Studying "On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People"
by Cheng Yueh
Source: Peking Review, No. 5, January 30, 1976
CHAIRMAN Mao's great work On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People is a powerful ideological weapon in guiding the proletariat and other revolutionary people in undertaking socialist revolution and construction, consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat and preventing capitalist restoration. In this work, Chairman Mao has profoundly analysed the basic contradictions in socialist society and pointed out that, after achieving basic victory in the socialist transformation of the ownership of the means of production, there still are classes, class contradictions and class struggle, and there are two different types of contradictions—those between ourselves and the enemy and those among the people themselves. He has also laid down a whole series of theory, principles and policies for correctly handling these contradictions. In the present movement of studying the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and in the light of the reality in the struggle between the two classes, the two roads and the two lines, it is of great practical significance for us to restudy this work of Chairman Mao's in deepening our criticism of the revisionist line of Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao, enhancing our consciousness in implementing the Party's basic line, and doing all kinds of work well by persisting in taking class struggle as the key link.
Lifeline of the Party and the State
Chairman Mao pointed out in On Contradiction: 'There are many contradictions in the process of development of a complex thing, and one of them is necessarily the principal contradiction whose existence and development determine or influence the existence and development of the other contradictions." In leading the new-democratic revolution and the socialist revolution, Chairman Mao has repeatedly educated the entire Party in correctly understanding and resolving the principal contradiction in each revolutionary period. As early as in March 1949, at the Second Plenary Session of the Seventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Chairman Mao explicitly pointed out that after the proletariat had seized political power throughout the country, the principal contradiction at home was "the contradiction between the working class and the bourgeoisie." He made a profound analysis of the content and form of the struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, and laid down for our Party a complete line and a series of policies for the transition from the new-democratic revolution to the socialist revolution. Starting from this principal contradiction in the period of socialist revolution, Chairman Mao himself formulated the Party's general line for the transition period. Illuminated by this general line, we achieved great victories in the socialist transformation of agriculture, handicrafts and capitalist industry and commerce across the country in only a few years, turning the individual economy into collective economy and capitalist private ownership into socialist public ownership.
After basic victory in the socialist transformation of the ownership of the means of production had been won, China's socialist revolution and proletarian dictatorship were confronted with new problems. What was the principal contradiction at home? Were there still classes, class contradictions and class struggle? Was it necessary to consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat and continue the socialist revolution? All these were major issues related to the future of the revolution and the destiny of the country. By adhering to the principle of integrating the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism with the concrete practice of the Chinese revolution, Chairman Mao summarized in a deep-going way the historical experience of the dictatorship of the proletariat from both the positive and negative sides and for the first time gave a scientific and systematic answer to these questions. In On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People, Chairman Mao pointed out: "In China, although in the main socialist transformation has been completed with respect to the system of ownership .... there are still remnants of the overthrown landlord and comprador classes, there is still a bourgeoisie, and the remoulding of the petty bourgeoisie has only just started. The class struggle is by no means over. The class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, the class struggle between the different political forces, and the class struggle in the ideological field between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie will continue to be long and tortuous and at times will even become very acute. The proletariat seeks to transform the world according to its own world outlook, and so does the bourgeoisie. In this respect, the question of which will win oat, socialism or capitalism, is still not really settled." This passage tells us clearly that H is entirely wrong to think that classes have been eliminated after basic victory has been won in the socialist transformation of the ownership of the means of production. It also tells us that in the historical period of socialism, classes, class contradictions and class struggle will exist for a long time, and that the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie remains the principal contradiction in socialist society. The reality in China's class struggle and the fact that the Soviet revisionist renegade clique has restored capitalism in the Soviet Union all eloquently testify to the correctness of Chairman Mao's wise conclusion.
Chairman Mao's analysis of classes, class contradictions and class struggle in socialist society is based on the fundamental principles of dialectical materialism and historical materialism. He pointed out in the same work: "The basic contradictions in socialist society are still those between the relations of production and the productive forces and between the superstructure and the economic base." "Socialist relations of production have been established and are in harmony with the growth of the productive forces, but they are still far from perfect, and this imperfection stands in contradiction to the growth of the productive forces. Apart from harmony as well as contradiction between the relations of production and the developing productive forces, there is harmony as well as contradiction between the superstructure and the economic base." "We must continue to resolve all such contradictions in the light of our specific-conditions." Here Chairman Mao explains that the law of the unity of opposites, the basic law which exists universally in nature, In human society and in man's ideology, is also the basic law in socialist society. This fundamentally negates the following erroneous viewpoints: there is complete harmony and no contradictions between the relations of production and the productive forces and between the superstructure and the economic base in socialist society; there is no need to continue the revolution with respect to the relations of production and the superstructure and the main task is to develop the productive forces after the socialist transformation of the ownership of the means of production has in the main been completed; and class struggle is not the powerful motive force in pushing socialist society forward. Chairman Mao's scientific conclusion lights up the broad road for the proletariat and other revolutionary people to continue the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat
This work by Chairman Mao further laid down the theoretical basis for our Party's basic line. In 1962, Chairman Mao once again brought up the question of class struggle and put forward in complete form our Party's basic line in the entire historical period of socialism: "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." The Party's basic line is the lifeline of our Party and state. We will advance from victory to new victory so long as we march along this line.
Developing Through Struggle
"Marxism, too, has developed through struggle," (Mao Tsetung: On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People.) Chairman Mao's theories on classes and class struggle in the historical period of socialism and on continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat have developed through protracted struggles against revisionist theories, against the theory of productive forces and the theory of the dying out of class struggle advocated by Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao. Prior to the basic completion of the socialist transformation of the ownership of the means of production, Liu Shao-chi preached the fallacy of "mechanization before co-operation" in a vain attempt to stem the surging high tide of the socialist transformation of agriculture. After the basic completion of the socialist transformation, both Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao opposed Chairman Mao's thesis that classes, class contradictions and class struggle exist in Socialist society, opposed the Party's basic line in the historical period of socialism and opposed continued revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat.
In 1956 when revisionism ran rampant internationally and class struggle was very acute at home, Liu Shao-chi, in collusion with Chen Po-ta, openly went against Chairman Mao's directive at the Second Plenary Session of the Party's Seventh Central Committee and said that the principal contradiction at home was "the contradiction between the advanced socialist system and the backward social productive forces." They shoved this revisionist stuff into the resolution of the Eighth Party Congress behind Chairman Mao's back. Chairman Mao sternly pointed out at that time that this view was wrong and was against Marxism which holds that, with the development of the productive forces, the relations of production which are not suited to the character of the productive forces will change sooner or later. This is a fundamental principle. Marx pointed out: "At a certain stage of their development, the material productive forces of society come in conflict with the existing relations of production, or — what is but a legal expression for the same thing — with the property relations within which they have been at work hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an epoch of social revolution." (Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy.) Engels pointed out: "Their [referring to means of production] deliverance from these bonds is the one precondition for an unbroken, constantly-accelerated development of the productive forces." (Anti-Duhring.) China's socialist revolution is to transform the old relations of production which seriously hinder the development of the productive forces into socialist relations of production which are suited to the development of the productive forces, so that those forces can be liberated. The so-called contradiction between "backward" productive forces and "advanced" relations of production, cooked up by Liu Shao-chi and his like, was only a refurbished version of the fallacy of "mechanization before co-operation." According to their absurdity, wasn't it equivalent to saying that socialist revolution has been moving ahead too fast and that China should go back to capitalism? It can be seen clearly that their aim was to create public opinion for restoring capitalism.
Although Liu Shao-chi's revisionist fallacies had been criticized, the struggle between the Marxist line and the revisionist line was by no means over. In 1969 before the convening of the Ninth Party Congress, Lin Piao, in collaboration with Chen Po-ta, dished up a political report which once again trotted out the theory of the dying out of class struggle, maintaining that the main task after the Ninth Party Congress was to develop production. This revisionist report was severely criticized by our great leader Chairman Mao and discarded by Chairman Mao and the Party Central Committee. The essence of this report was to advocate the theory of productive forces and the theory of the dying out of class struggle and to oppose the Party's basic line in the historical period of socialism. Didn't Lin Piao say that China had "no revisionism at all"? If things were really so, then it would be meaningless to combat and prevent revisionism, consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat and prevent capitalist restoration. The only task left then would be to develop production.
The theory of productive forces always has been a broken-down weapon used by the new and old revisionists to oppose socialist revolution. The Second International's old revisionist Bernstein said that when the productive forces were highly developed, capitalism would peacefully "grow into socialism" and "resort to violent revolution will become an empty, meaningless phrase."* Later the renegade Kautsky also jabbered that "only by large-scale development of the productive forces brought about by capitalism" "can socialism — that is, universal welfare under a modern culture — become possible."** Therefore, they frantically opposed the Great October Socialist Revolution of Russia, shouting that "Russia has not attained the level of development of productive forces that makes socialism possible. ”*** Lenin sharply refuted this absurd theory by pointing out: "You say that civilization is necessary for the building of Socialism. Very good. But why could we not first create such prerequisites of civilization in our country as the expulsion of the landlords and the Russian capitalists, and then start moving towards Socialism?" (Our Revolution.) This clearly shows that their purpose in advocating the theory of productive forces was to oppose the proletariat seizing political power. Taking over the mantle of the old revisionists, the Soviet revisionist renegade clique also cherishes it as something precious and it has blustered, among other things, that "the main thing is economics and production” **** and "economics is more important than politics under socialist conditions."***** Is this really so? Certainly not. They themselves put counter-revolutionary politics first. Their real aim is to substitute the theory of productive forces for the Marxist theory of class struggle and the dictatorship of the proletariat, benumb the revolutionary people's fighting will and cover up their criminal act of restoring capitalism in the Soviet Union in an all-round way.
By repeatedly trumpeting the theory of productive forces, Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao in fact were trying to lead China to take the capitalist road. To take the socialist road or the capitalist road — this is the fundamental question of the two-line struggle in the Party after the victory of the democratic revolution in China. It is crystal clear that the bourgeoisie wants to take the capitalist road. In the Party we want to take the socialist road, but some people thought that China was a very poor country lacking the conditions for developing socialism and therefore it had to take the capitalist road. Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao were representatives of such a revisionist line. They propagated the theory of productive forces and the theory of the dying out of class struggle. But did class struggle die out for them? No, definitely not. Liu Shao-chi collected a bunch of renegades and sworn followers and set up a bourgeois headquarters, pushed the revisionist line, tried to subvert the dictatorship of the proletariat and restore capitalism and waged wild class struggles against the proletariat. Was there any inkling of the dying out of class struggle? Lin Piao and his gang blared that the main task after the Ninth Party Congress was to develop production. But actually their main task after the congress was the overthrow of the proletariat rather than the "development of production." Between October 1969 and January 1970, Lin Piao and one of his sworn followers wrote several scrolls with these characters: "Of all things, this is the most important: to restrain oneself and return to the rites." He and his gang were impatient to change the fatty's basic line and restore capitalism, and they regarded this as the most important thing of all. In accordance with this reactionary political programme, they launched a counter-revolutionary coup d'etat at the Second Plenary Session of the Ninth Central Committee of the Party, vainly trying to usurp the supreme power of the Party and the state and bring about a capitalist restoration. When this plot was smashed, they drew up the plan for an armed counter-revolutionary coup d'etat Outline of Project "571" and launched it on September 8, 1971 in an attempt to assassinate our great leader Chairman Mao and set up a rival central committee. Following the failure of this conspiracy, they hastily fled as defectors to the Soviet revisionists, betraying the Party and country, and thus courted their own doom. Did they ever carry out their statement of making production the main task? If the plots of Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao had succeeded, our country would have witnessed a big historical retrogression and would have been reduced to a colony of Soviet revisionist social-imperialism. Social production then would have sustained serious and tremendous damage and the working class and other labouring people would have suffered once again. Has all this anything to do with the development of production?
Many people in semi-colonial and semi-feudal old China dreamt for years of developing industry, but all their dreams were shattered. This was because "in the absence of political reforms all the productive forces are being ruined, and this is true both of agriculture and of industry." (Mao Tsetung: On Coalition Government.) The productive forces could be liberated only after the proletariat had seized political power and our Party had led the peasants in carrying out the land reform and had nationalized industry and collectivized agriculture. The basic contradictions under the socialist .system are still those between the relations of production and the productive forces and between the superstructure and the economic base, and they find their concentrated expression in the contradiction and struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. The proletariat will not be able to further consolidate the socialist economic base and rapidly develop the productive forces if it does not grasp class struggle and continue to make revolution with respect to the relations of production and the superstructure. Moreover, the established relations of production conforming to the productive forces and the established superstructure conforming to the economic base will be undermined and will collapse. Therefore, Chairman Mao has consistently stressed the necessity to grasp revolution, promote production. This principle gives a correct answer to the question of the relationship between revolution and production, between consciousness and matter, between the superstructure and the economic base and between the relations of production and the productive forces. This principle is diametrically opposed to the theory of productive forces and the theory of the dying out of class struggle spread by Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao.
When the Second International revisionists first put forward their theory of productive forces which negated violent revolution, Engels refuted it by saying: "According to the materialist conception of history, the ultimately determining element in history is the production and reproduction of real life. More than this neither Marx nor I have ever asserted. Hence if somebody twists this into saying that the economic element is the only determining one, he transforms that proposition into a meaningless, abstract, senseless phrase." (Engels to J. Block.) Engels also said: "Why do we fight for the political dictatorship of the proletariat if political power is economically impotent?" (Engels to C. Schmidt.) In criticizing Bukharin's fallacy of putting politics and economics on an equal footing, Lenin clearly pointed out: "Politics cannot but have precedence over economics. To argue differently means forgetting the A B C of Marxism." He also said: "The only formulation of the issue (which the Marxist standpoint allows) is: without a correct political approach to (he matter the given class will be unable to stay on top, and, consequently, will be incapable of solving its production problem either." (Once Again, on the Soviet Unions, the Current Situation and the Mistakes of Trotsky and Bukharin.) Inheriting' and developing the viewpoints of Marx, Engels and Lenin, Chairman Mao often has taught us that a Marxist-Leninist party should pay attention to grasping the superstructure and the line. Chairman Mao has pointed out that politics is the commander, the soul in everything, that "political work is the life-blood of all economic work" and that "the correctness or incorrectness of the ideological and political line decides everything," thereby thoroughly refuting the revisionist trash in both theory and practice.
Great Motive Force Propelling the Growth Of Production
In class society, class struggle is the great motive force propelling both the progress of society and the development of production. The struggle waged by the proletariat against the bourgeoisie under the conditions of socialism is the great force pushing forward the development of socialist production. It is because we have, under the leadership of Chairman Mao, criticized the revisionist line of Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao, adhered to the Party's basic line and persevered in taking class struggle as the key link that our socialist construction has achieved such splendid successes today. If, on the other hand, we do not firmly grasp the key link of class struggle and if we depart from the Party's basic line, there will be no correct orientation for production and it will not be able to develop. Abundant experience, both positive and negative, has proved this.
The history of the last 26 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 is one of grasping revolution and promoting production. Led bf Chairman Mao and the Party Central Committee, we have carried out a series of political movements, consolidated the dictatorship of the proletariat, established and continuously improved the socialist relations of production and the superstructure of the proletariat, criticized bourgeois and revisionist ideology and transformed those parts of the superstructure not suited to the socialist economic base, thus fully mobilizing the masses' socialist enthusiasm. Consciousness is transformed into matter and vice versa, and grasping revolution results in the rapid development of production and construction. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution is a great political revolution based on Chairman Mao's theory of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat and based on the Party's basic line. This great revolution has shattered the two bourgeois headquarters of Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao, criticized their revisionist line and transformed literature and art, education and other parts of the superstructure not conforming to the socialist economic base. At the same time it has adjusted relations between people and consolidated and developed the socialist economic base. The socialist new things emerging in the Great Cultural Revolution, whether in the relations of production or in the realm of the superstructure, all conform to the needs of the development of the productive forces and of the socialist economic base. The Great Cultural Revolution has powerfully promoted the growth of our socialist construction. This once again proves that revolution is the locomotive of history.
(An abridged translation of an article published in "Hongqi," No. 1, 1976. Subheads are ours.)
** E. Bernstein: The Preconditions of Socialism and the Tasks of the Social Democratic Party.
**Kuutsky: Dictatorship of the Proletariat
***Quoted by Lenin in Our Revolution.
**** Khrushchov's report at a plenary session of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union: "The Economic Development of the Soviet Union and the Party's leadership in the National Economy." (November 19, 1962.)
***** Editorial of the Soviet Economic Gazette, December 8, 1962: "Study, Understanding and Action."
Source: Peking Review, No. 5, January 30, 1976
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