Proletarians of all countries, unite!
There is one goal, the conquest of Power!
Communist Party of Peru
|Red Flag Publications||Reproduced by The Red Flag|
1. On revolution.
With the exception of a few short chapters every important part of the annals of the revolution from 1848 to 1849 carries the heading: Defeat of the revolution!
But what succumbed in these defeats was not the revolution. It was the pre-revolutionary traditional appendages, results of social relationships, which had not yet come to the point of sharp class antagonisms persons, illusions, conceptions, projects, from which the revolutionary party before the February Revolution was not free, from which it could be freed, not by the victory of February, but only by a series of defeats.
In a word: revolutionary advance made headway not by its immediate tragi-comic achievements, but on the contrary by the creation of a powerful, united counter-revolution, by the creation of an opponent, by fighting whom the party of revolt first ripened into a real revolutionary party.
Bourgeois revolutions, like those of the 18th Century, storm swiftly from success to success, their dramatic effects outdo each other, men and things seem set in sparkling brilliants, ecstasy is the everyday spirit, but they are short-lived, soon they have attained their zenith, and a long crapulent depression seizes society before it learns soberly to assimilate the results of its storm-and-stress period. On the other hand, proletarian revolutions, like those of the 19th Century, criticise themselves constantly, interrupt themselves continually in their own course, come back to the apparently accomplished in order to begin it afresh, deride with unmerciful thoroughness the inadequacies, weaknesses and paltrinesses of their first attempts, seem to throw down their adversary only in order that he may draw new strength from the earth and rise again, more gigantic, before them, and recoil again and again from the indefinite prodigiousness of their own aims, until a situation has been created which makes all turning back impossible, and the conditions themselves cry out:
Hic Rhodus, hic salta!
Here is the rose, here dance!
In every revolution there intrude, at the side of its true agents, men of a different stamp; some of them survivors of and devotees to past revolutions, without insight into the present movement, but preserving popular influence by their known honesty and courage, or by the sheer force of tradition; others mere brawlers who, by dint of repeating year after year the same set of stereotyped declarations against the government of the day, have sneaked into the reputation of revolutionists of the first water. After March 18th, some such men did also turn up, and in some cases contrived to play preeminent parts. As far as their power went, they hampered the real action of the working class, exactly as men of that sort have hampered the full development of every previous revolution. They are an unavoidable evil: with time they are shaken off; but time was not allowed to the Commune.
2. On the new forms. On new forms of teaching dogma, the truths of Marxism.
A revolutionary epoch is to the Social-Democrats what war-time is to an army. We must broaden the cadres of our army, we must advance them from peace strength to war strength, we must mobilise the reservists, recall the furloughed, and form new auxiliary corps, units, and services. We must not forget that in war we necessarily and inevitably have to put up with less trained replacements, very often to replace officers with rank-and-file soldiers, and to speed up and simplify the promotion of soldiers to officers’ rank.
To drop metaphor, we must considerably increase the membership of all Party and Party-connected organisations in order to be able to keep up to some extent with the stream of popular revolutionary energy which has been a hundredfold strengthened. This, it goes without saying, does not mean that consistent training and systematic instruction in the Marxist truths are to be left in the shade. We must, however, remember that at the present time far greater significance in the matter of training and education attaches to the military operations, which teach the untrained precisely and entirely in our sense. We must remember that our „doctrinaire“ faithfulness to Marxism is now being reinforced by the march of revolutionary events, which is everywhere furnishing object lessons to the masses and that all these lessons confirm precisely our dogma. Hence, we do not speak about abandoning the dogma, or relaxing our distrustful and suspicious attitude towards the woolly intellectuals and the arid-minded revolutionaries. Quite the contrary. We speak about new methods of teaching dogma, which it would be unpardonable for a Social-Democrat to forget. We speak of the importance for our day of using the object lessons of the great revolutionary events in order to convey–not to study circles, as in the past, but to the masses — our old „dogmatic“ lessons that, for example, it is necessary in practice to combine terror with the uprising of the masses, or that behind the liberalism of the educated Russian society one must be able to discern the class interests of our bourgeoisie […]
Thus, it is not a question of relaxing our Social-Democratic exactingness and our orthodox intransigence, but of strengthening both in new ways, by new methods of training. In war-time, recruits should get their training lessons directly from military operations. So tackle the new methods of training more boldly, comrades! Forward, and organise more and more squads, send them into battle, recruit more young workers, extend the normal framework of all Party, organisations, from committees to factory groups, craft unions, and student circles! Remember that every moment of delay in this task will play into the hands of the enemies of Social-Democracy; for the new streams are seeking all immediate outlet, and if they do not find a Social-Democratic channel they will rush into a non-Social-Democratic channel. Remember that every practical step in the revolutionary movement will decidedly, inevitably give the young recruits a lesson in Social-Democratic science; for this science is based on an objectively correct estimation of the forces and tendencies of the various classes, while the revolution itself is nothing but the breakup of old superstructures and the independent action of the various classes, each striving to erect the new superstructure in its own way. But do not debase our revolutionary science to the level of mere book dogma, do not vulgarise it with wretched phrases about tactics-as-process and organisation-as-process, with phrases that seek to justify confusion, vacillation, and lack of initiative. Give more scope to all the diverse kinds of enterprise on the part of the most varied groups and circles, bearing in mind that, apart from our counsel and regardless of it, the relentless exigencies of the march of revolutionary event will keep them upon the correct course. It is an old maxim that in politics one often has to learn from the enemy. And at revolutionary moments the enemy always forces correct conclusions upon us in a particularly instructive and speedy manner.
Today you are given a ballot paper — take it, learn to organise so as to use it as a weapon against your enemies, not as a means of getting cushy legislative jobs for men who cling to their parliamentary seats for fear of having to go to prison. Tomorrow your ballot paper is taken from you and you are given a rifle or a splendid and most up-to-date quick-firing gun — take this weapon of death and destruction, pay no heed to the mawkish snivellers who are afraid of war; too much still remains in the world that must be destroyed with fire and sword for the emancipation of the working class; if anger and desperation grow among the masses, if a revolutionary situation arises, prepare to create new organisations and use these useful weapons of death and destruction against your own government and your own bourgeoisie.
That is not easy, to be sure. It will demand arduous preparatory activities and heavy sacrifices. This is a new form of organisation and struggle that also has to be learnt, and knowledge is not acquired without errors and setbacks. This form of the class struggle stands in the same relation to participation in elections as an assault against a fortress stands in relation to maneuvering, marches, or lying in the trenches. It is not so often that history places this form of struggle on the order of the day, but then its significance is felt for decades to come. Days on which such method of struggle can and must be employed are equal to scores of years of other historical epochs.
3. Concerning strategy and tactics, master strategy and tactics, both of them, not just the latter, because if we don’t think about the whole picture, we cannot conceive of revolution; it would remain just a good intention.
We have developed a concept over a long period for the struggle against the enemy, namely, strategically we should despise all our enemies, but tactically we should take them all seriously. If we do not despise him with regard to the whole, we shall commit opportunist errors. Marx and Engels were but two individuals, and yet in those early days they already declared that capitalism would be overthrown throughout the world. But with regard to specific problems and specific enemies, if we do not take them seriously, we shall commit adventurist errors. In war, battles can only be fought one by one and the enemy forces can only be destroyed one part at a time. Factories can only be built one by one. Peasants can only plough the land plot by plot. The same is even true of eating a meal. Strategically, we take the eating of a meal lightly, we are sure we can manage it. But when it comes to the actual eating, it must be done mouthful by mouthful, you cannot swallow an entire banquet at one gulp. This is called the piecemeal solution and is known in military writings as destroying the enemy forces one by one.
4. On Communists and increasing political vigilance and the two-line struggle.
„Elections, No! People‘s War, Yes!“:
For their part, the Communists, the members of the Communist Party, alway submit to these wise words: „The point of departure for Communists is always the overall interests of the great masses of people […] we are convinced of the complete justice of our cause… we will not be detained by any personal sacrifice and are prepared at any moment to give our lives for this cause.“ Furthermore: „We must be especially vigiliant against careerists and schemers like Khrushchev, and prevent such scoundrels from usurping, regardless of the level, the leadership of the Party and State.“
Not only Communists, but revolutionaries and all the people must always bear in mind that: „Except for deserts, wherever there are groups of people, they will always be made up of a left, center and right. This will be true for 10.000 years to come.“ „When a typhoon strikes, the wavering elements who cannot withstand it begin to vacillate. That’s a law. I would like to call your attention to it. Some people, having vacillated a few times, gain experience and stop wavering. But there is a type of person who will go on wavering forever. They are like some crops, rice for example, which sway at a whiff of wind because of their slender stalks. Sorghum and maize with their stouter stalks do better. Only big trees stand upright and rock-firm. Typhoons occur every year. So do ideological and political typhoons at home and abroad. This is a natural phenomenon in society. A political party is a kind of society, a political kind of society. The primary category in political society consists of political parties and political groups. A political party is a class organization.“ „When they find themselves at a disadvantage, the representatives of the exploiting classes resort to offensive tactics as a means of defense, with the goal of preserving their existence today and facilitating their future growth. They invent things from nothing and make up rumors in the face of the people, or seize on the appearances of something to launch attacks on their essence, or they sing the praises of some and attack others, or they inflate some problem ‚to open a breach‘ in order to put us in a difficult position. In sum, they constantly study what tactics to confront us with and ‚explore the terrain‘ to reach their goal. Sometimes, ‚they play dead‘ to reach their goal. They have many years of experience in the class struggle and know how to take advantage of of different forms of struggle, both legal as well as illegal. We, as militant revolutionaries, must know their tricks and study their tactics with the goal of defeating them. We must not, for any reason, conduct ourselves like naive scholars who approach the complex class struggle in a simplistic way.“ And: „As far as we are concerned, I think it is bad if a person, party, army or center of learning is not attacked by the enemy, because that indicates that we have sunk in the same swamp as them. It is good if the enemy attacks us, because that proves we have delimited boundaries with him. It is even better if the enemy attacks us in fury and paints black and devoid of all virtue, because that not only proves we have delimited boundaries, but that we have achieved noteworthy successes in our work.“
5. On the necessity of distinguishing between periods of temporary stability and those of upheaval, within the regime of the dominant classes, in order to apply a strategy of gradual advance or of bold advance, respectively. In either case we must take care to lay solid foundations.
An independent regime must vary its strategy against the encircling ruling classes, adopting one strategy when the ruling class regime is temporarily stable and another when it is split up. In a period whe n the ruling classes are split up, as during the wars between Li Tsung-jen and Tang Sheng-chih in Hunan and Hupeh Provinces and between Chang Fa-kuei and Li Chi-shen in Kwangtung Province, our strategy can be comparatively adventurous and the area carved out by military operations can be comparatively large. However, we must take care to lay a solid foundation in the central districts so that we shall have something secure to rely on when the White terror strikes. In a period when the regime of the ruling classes is comparatively stable, as it was in the southern provinces after April this year, our strategy must be one of gradual advance. In such a period, the worst thing in military affairs is to divide our forces for an adventurous advance, and the worst thing in local work (distributing land, establishing political power, expanding the Party and organizing local armed forces) is to scatter our personnel and neglect to lay a solid foundation in the central districts. The defeats which many small Red areas have suffered have been due either to the absence of the requisite objective conditions or to subjective mistakes in tactics. Mistakes in tactics have been made solely because of failure to distinguish clearly between the two kinds of period, that in which the regime of the ruling classes is temporarily stable and that in which it is split up. In a period of temporary stability, some comrades advocated dividing our forces for an adventurous advance and even proposed leaving the defense of extensive areas to the Red Guards alone, as though oblivious of the fact that the enemy could attack not merely with the landlords’ levies but even in concentrated operations with regular troops. In local work, they utterly neglected to lay a solid foundation in the central districts and attempted unrestricted expansion regardless of whether it was within our capacity. If anyone advocated a policy of gradual advance in military operations or a policy of concentrating our effort in local work on laying a solid foundation in the central districts so as to secure an invincible position, they dubbed him a „conservative“. Their wrong ideas were the root cause of the defeats sustained last August by the Hunan-Kiangsi border area and by the Fourth Red Army in southern Hunan.
We must always manage this, correctly appreciating the situation of the dominant regime throughout the country as well as the specific situation of the region or zone of combat. It is like driving a car, accelerating or braking according to the road conditions; if the road is paved and with few curves speed up, if it is dangerous and full of potholes, slow down. If you accelerate in those conditions, the car will break down or even crash; however, whether it is a good road or a dangerous one, paying attention means laying solid foundations.
5A. „The problem of the intermediate levels“.
Given this land situation, it is possible to win the support of the majority for the confiscation and redistribution of all the land. The rural population is roughly divided into three classes, the class of big and middle landlords, the intermediate class of small landlords and rich peasants, and the class of middle and poor peasants. The interests of the rich peasants are often interwoven with those of the small landlords. The land of the rich peasants forms only a small percentage of the total, yet if the land of the small landlords is counted in, the amount is considerable. Probably this is more or less the case throughout the country. The land policy which has been adopted in the border areas is complete confiscation and thorough distribution; consequently, in the Red area the big and middle landlord class and the intermediate class are both being attacked. Such is the policy, but in its actual execution we have met with a great deal of obstruction from the intermediate class. In the early days of the revolution the intermediate class ostensibly capitulated to the poor peasant class, but in reality they exploited their traditional social position and clan authority to intimidate the poor peasants for the purpose of delaying the distribution of land. When no further delay was possible, they concealed their actual holdings, or retained the good land and gave up the poor land. In this period the poor peasants, having long been trampled down and feeling that the victory of the revolution was uncertain, frequently yielded to the intermediate class and dared not take vigorous action. It is taken against the intermediate class in the villages only when the revolution is on the upsurge, for instance, when political power has been seized in one or more counties, the reactionary army has suffered several defeats and the prowess of the Red Army has been repeatedly demonstrated. The most serious instances of delay in land distribution and concealment of landholdings occurred in the southern section of Yunghsin County, where the intermediate class was the largest. The actual land distribution in this area was carried out only after the Red Army won its great victory at Lungyuankou on June 25 and the district government punished several people for delaying distribution. But as the feudal family system prevails in every county, and as all the families in a village or group of villages belong to a single clan, it will be quite a long time before people become conscious of their class and clan sentiment is overcome in the villages.
The defection of the intermediate class under the White terror. Having been under attack during the revolutionary upsurge, the intermediate class deserted to the enemy as soon as the White terror struck. In Yunghsin and Ningkang it was precisely the small landlords and rich peasants who led the reactionary troops in setting fire to the houses of revolutionary peasants. On the instructions of the reactionaries, they burned down houses and made arrests, and quite brazenly too. When the Red Army returned to the area of Ningkang, Hsincheng, Kucheng and Lungshih, several thousand peasants fled with the reactionaries to Yunghsin, because they were duped by the reactionary propaganda that the Communists would kill them. It was only after we had conducted propaganda to the effect that „peasants who have defected will not be killed“ and „peasants who have defected are welcome to come back to reap their crops“ that some of them slowly came back.
When the revolution is at a low ebb in the country as a whole, the most difficult problem in our areas is to keep a firm hold on the intermediate class. The main reason for betrayal by this class is that it has received too heavy a blow from the revolution. But when there is a revolutionary upsurge in the country as a whole, the poor peasant class has something to rely on and becomes bolder, while the intermediate class has something to fear and dare not get out of hand. When the war between Li Tsung-jen and Tang Sheng-chih spread to Hunan, the small landlords in Chaling tried to placate the peasants, and some even sent them pork as a New Year gift (though by then the Red Army had already withdrawn from Chaling to Suichuan). But after the war ended, no one ever heard of such things again. Now that there is a nationwide tide of counter-revolution, the intermediate class in the White areas, having suffered heavy blows, has attached itself almost wholly to the big landlord class, and the poor peasant class has become isolated. This is indeed a very serious problem.
The pressure of daily life as a cause of the defection of the intermediate class. The Red and the White areas are now facing each other like two countries at war. Owing to the tight enemy blockade and to our mishandling of the petty bourgeoisie, trade between the two areas has almost entirely ceased; necessities such as salt, cloth and medicines are scarce and costly, and agricultural products such as timber, tea and oil cannot be sent out, so that the peasants’ cash income is cut off and the people as a whole are affected. Poor peasants are more able to bear such hardships, but the intermediate class will go over to the big landlord class when it can bear them no longer. Unless the splits and wars within the landlord class and among the warlords in China continue, and unless a nationwide revolutionary situation develops, the small independent Red regimes will come under great economic pressure and it is doubtful whether they will be able to last. For not only is such economic strain intolerable to the intermediate class, but some day it will prove too much even for the workers, poor peasants and Red Army men. In the counties of Yunghsin and Ningkang there was at one time no salt for cooking, and supplies of cloth and medicines, not to mention other things, were entirely cut off. Now salt can be had again but is very expensive. Cloth and medicines are still unobtainable. Timber, tea and oil, which are all produced abundantly in Ningkang, western Yunghsin and northern Suichuan (all within our areas at present), cannot be sent out.
6. Constructing the conquest of power demands that we sweep away the revisionist and capitulationist Right-Opportunist Line, and that we purge the Party.
The defection of the careerists. During the revolutionary upsurge (in June), many careerists took advantage of the Party’s open recruitment of members and sneaked into the Party, with the result that the membership in the border area rapidly rose to more than ten thousand. Since the leaders of the branches and district committees were mostly new members, good inner-Party education was out of the question. As soon as the White terror struck, the careerists defected and acted as guides for the counter-revolutionaries in rounding up our comrades, and the Party organizations in the White areas mostly collapsed. After September the Party carried out a drastic house cleaning and set strict class qualifications for membership. All the Party organizations in Yunghsin and Ningkang Counties were dissolved and a re-registration was undertaken. Though greatly reduced in numbers, the membership has gained in fighting capacity. All Party organizations used to be in the open, but since September underground organizations have been built up to prepare the Party for carrying on its activities when the reactionaries come. At the same time, we have been making every effort to penetrate into the White areas and operate inside the enemy camp. But in the nearby towns the foundations have not yet been laid for Party organization. The reasons are that, first, the enemy is stronger in the towns and, second, our army hurt the interests of the bourgeoisie too much during its occupation of the towns, so that it is difficult for Party members to keep a foothold there. We are now correcting these mistakes and doing our best to build Party organizations in the towns, but so far without much success.
7. The great political significance of always maintaining the red flag raised high in the support bases.
This expresses the development of the strategic stalemate and our inexorable march to the seizure of power nationwide.
If the Red Army does not move away, then, building on the foundations we already have, we shall be able gradually to expand to surrounding areas and our prospects will be very bright. If we want to enlarge the Red Army, the only way is to engage the enemy in a prolonged struggle in the vicinity of the Chingkang Mountains where we have a good mass base, namely, in the counties of Ningkang, Yunghsin, Linghsien and Suichuan, utilizing in this struggle the divergence of interests between the enemy forces of Hunan and Kiangsi Provinces, their need to defend themselves on all sides and their consequent inability to concentrate their forces. We can gradually enlarge the Red Army by the use of correct tactics, fighting no battle unless we can win it and capture arms and men. With the preparatory work that had already been done among the masses in the border area between April and July, the Red Army could undoubtedly have been enlarged in August had its major detachment not made its expedition to southern Hunan. Despite that mistake, the Red Army has returned to the border area where the terrain is favorable and the people are friendly, and the prospects are not bad even now. Only through the determination to fight and stamina in fighting in places such as the border area can the Red Army add to its arms and train up good men. The Red Flag has been kept flying in the border area for a whole year. It has incurred the bitter hatred of the landlord class of Hunan, Hupeh and Kiangsi and indeed of that of the whole country, but it is steadily raising the hopes of the workers, peasants and soldiers in the surrounding provinces. Consider the soldiers. Because the warlords are making the „bandit-suppression“ campaign against the border area their major task and are issuing such statements as „a year has been spent and a million dollars used up in the effort to suppress the bandits“ (Lu Ti-ping), or the Red Army „has 20.000 men with 5.000 rifles“ (Wang Chun), the attention of their soldiers and disheartened junior officers is gradually turned towards us, and more and more of them will break away from the enemy to join our ranks, thus providing the Red Army with another source of recruitment. Besides, the fact that the Red Flag has never been lowered in the border area shows at once the strength of the Communist Party and the bankruptcy of the ruling classes, and this is of nationwide political significance. Therefore, we hold, as we have always held, that it is absolutely necessary and correct to build up and expand Red political power in the middle section of the Lohsiao mountain range.
8. On the revolutionary situation of growing development: See:
A) Chairman Mao: A SINGLE SPARK CAN START A PRAIRIE FIRE
Some comrades in our Party still do not know how to appraise the current situation correctly and how to settle the attendant question of what action to take. Though they believe that a revolutionary high tide is inevitable, they do not believe it to be imminent. Therefore, they disapprove of the plan to take Kiangsi and only approve of roving guerrilla actions in the three areas on the borders of Fukien, Kwangtung and Kiangsi; at the same time, as they do not have a deep understanding of what it means to establish Red political power in the guerrilla areas, they do not have a deep understanding of the idea of accelerating the nation-wide revolutionary high tide through the consolidation and expansion of Red political Power. They seem to think that, since the revolutionary high tide is still remote, it will be labour lost to attempt to establish political Power by hard work. Instead, they want to extend our political influence through the easier method of roving guerrilla actions, and, once the masses throughout the country have been won over, or more or less won over, they want to launch a nation-wide armed insurrection which, with the participation of the Red Army, would become a great nationwide revolution. Their theory that we must first win over the masses on a country-wide scale and in all regions and then establish political power does not accord with the actual state of the Chinese revolution. This theory derives mainly from the failure to understand clearly that China is a semi-colonial country for which many imperialist powers are contending. If one clearly understands this, one will understand first why the unusual phenomenon of prolonged and tangled warfare within the ruling classes is only to be found in China, why this warfare is steadily growing fiercer and spreading, and why there has never been a unified regime. Secondly, one will understand the gravity of the peasant problem and hence why rural uprisings have developed on the present country-wide scale. Thirdly, one will understand the correctness of the slogan of workers’ and peasants’ democratic political power. Fourthly, one will understand another unusual phenomenon, which is also absent outside China, and which follows from the first (that in China alone there is prolonged and tangled warfare within the ruling classes), namely, the existence and development of the Red Army and the guerrilla forces, and together with them, the existence and development of small Red areas encircled by the White regime. Fifthly, one will understand that in semi-colonial China the establishment and expansion of the Red Army, the guerrilla forces and the Red areas is the highest form of peasant struggle under the leadership of the proletariat, the inevitable outcome of the growth of the semi-colonial peasant struggle, and undoubtedly the most important factor in accelerating the revolutionary high tide throughout the country. And sixthly, one will also understand that the policy which merely calls for roving guerrilla actions cannot accomplish the task of accelerating this nation-wide revolutionary high tide, while the kind of policy adopted by Chu Teh and Mao Tse-tung and also by Fang Chih-mini is undoubtedly correct–that is, the policy of establishing base areas; of systematically setting up political power; of deepening the agrarian revolution; of expanding the people’s armed forces by a comprehensive process of building up first the township Red Guards, then the district Red Guards, then the county Red Guards, then the local Red Army troops, all the way up to the regular Red Army troops; of spreading political power by advancing in a series of waves; etc., etc. Only thus is it possible to build the confidence of the revolutionary masses throughout the country, as the Soviet Union has built it throughout the world. Only thus is it possible to create tremendous difficulties for the reactionary ruling classes, shake their foundations and hasten their internal disintegration. Only thus is it really possible to create a Red Army which will become the chief weapon for the great revolution of the future. In short, only thus is it possible to hasten the revolutionary high tide.
Comrades who suffer from revolutionary impetuosity overestimate the subjective forces of the revolutionii and underestimate the forces of the counter-revolution. Such an appraisal stems mainly from subjectivism. In the end, it undoubtedly leads to putschism. On the other hand, underestimating the subjective forces of the revolution and overestimating the forces of the counter-revolution would also constitute an improper appraisal and be certain to produce bad results of another kind. Therefore, in judging the political situation in China it is necessary to understand the following:
1. Although the subjective forces of the revolution in China are now weak, so also are all organizations (organs of political power, armed forces, political parties, etc.) of the reactionary ruling classes, resting as they do on the backward and fragile social and economic structure of China. This helps to explain why revolution cannot break out at once in the countries of Western Europe where, although the subjective forces of revolution are now perhaps somewhat stronger than in China, the forces of the reactionary ruling classes are many times stronger. In China the revolution will undoubtedly move towards a high tide more rapidly, for although the subjective forces of the revolution at present are weak, the forces of the counter-revolution are relatively weak too.
2. The subjective forces of the revolution have indeed been greatly weakened since the defeat of the revolution in 1927. The remaining forces are very small and those comrades who judge by appearances alone naturally feel pessimistic. But if we judge by essentials, it is quite another story. Here we can apply the old Chinese saying, “A single spark can start a prairie fire.” In other words, our forces, although small at present, will grow very rapidly. In the conditions prevailing in China, their growth is not only possible but indeed inevitable, as the May 30th Movement and the Great Revolution which followed have fully proved. When we look at a thing, we must examine its essence and treat its appearance merely as an usher at the threshold, and once we cross the threshold, we must grasp the essence of the thing; this is the only reliable and scientific method of analysis.
3. Similarly, in appraising the counter-revolutionary forces, we must never look merely at their appearance, but should examine their essence. In the initial period of our independent regime in the Hunan-Kiangsi border area, some comrades genuinely believed the incorrect appraisal made by the Hunan Provincial Committee and regarded the class enemy as not worth a rap; the two descriptive terms, „terribly shaky“ and „extremely panicky“, which are standing jokes to this day, were used by the Hunan Provincial Committee at the time (from May to June 1928) in appraising the Hunan ruler Lu Ti-ping.iii Such an appraisal necessarily led to putschism in the political sphere. But during the four months from November of that year to February 1929 (before the war between Chiang Kai-shek and the Kwangsi warlords),iv when the enemy’s third „joint suppression expedition“v was approaching the Chingkang Mountains, some comrades asked the question, „How long can we keep the Red Flag flying?“ As a matter of fact, the struggle in China between Britain, the United States and Japan had by then become quite open, and a state of tangled warfare between Chiang Kai-shek, the Kwangsi clique and Feng Yu-hsiang was taking shape; hence it was actually the time when the counter-revolutionary tide had begun to ebb and the revolutionary tide to rise again. Yet pessimistic ideas were to be found not only in the Red Army and local Party organizations, even the Central Committee was misled by appearances and adopted a pessimistic tone. Its February letter is evidence of the pessimistic analysis made in the Party at that time.
4. The objective situation today is still such that comrades who see only the superficial appearance and not the essence of what is before them are liable to be misled. In particular, when our comrades working in the Red Army are defeated in battle or encircled or pursued by strong enemy forces, they often unwittingly generalize and exaggerate their momentary, specific and limited situation, as though the situation in China and the world as a whole gave no cause for optimism and the prospects of victory for the revolution were remote. The reason they seize on the appearance and brush aside the essence in their observation of things is that they have not made a scientific analysis of the essence of the overall situation. The question whether there will soon be a revolutionary high tide in China can be decided only by making a detailed examination to ascertain whether the contradictions leading to a revolutionary high tide are really developing. Since contradictions are developing in the world between the imperialist countries, between the imperialist countries and their colonies, and between the imperialists and the proletariat in their own countries, there is an intensified need for the imperialists to contend for the domination of China. While the imperialist contention over China becomes more intense, both the contradiction between imperialism and the whole Chinese nation and the contradictions among the imperialists themselves develop simultaneously on Chinese soil, thereby creating the tangled warfare which is expanding and intensifying daily and giving rise to the continuous development of the contradictions among the different cliques of China’s reactionary rulers. In the wake of the contradictions among the reactionary ruling cliques — the tangled warfare among the warlords — comes heavier taxation, which steadily sharpens the contradiction between the broad masses of taxpayers and the reactionary rulers. In the wake of the contradiction between imperialism and China’s national industry comes the failure of the Chinese industrialists to obtain concessions from the imperialists, which sharpens the contradiction between the Chinese bourgeoisie and the Chinese working class, with the Chinese capitalists trying to find a way out by frantically exploiting the workers and with the workers resisting. In the wake of imperialist commercial aggression, Chinese merchant-capitalist extortions, heavier government taxation, etc., comes the deepening of the contradiction between the landlord class and the peasantry, that is, exploitation through rent and usury is aggravated and the hatred of the peasants for the landlords grows. Because of the pressure of foreign goods, the exhaustion of the purchasing power of the worker and peasant masses, and the increase in government taxation, more and more dealers in Chinese-made goods and independent producers are being driven into bankruptcy. Because the reactionary government, though short of provisions and funds, endlessly expands its armies and thus constantly extends the warfare, the masses of soldiers are in a constant state of privation. Because of the growth in government taxation, the rise in rent and interest demanded by the landlords and the daily spread of the disasters of war, there are famine and banditry everywhere and the peasant masses and the urban poor can hardly keep alive. Because the schools have no money, many students fear that their education may be interrupted; because production is backward, many graduates have no hope of employment. Once we understand all these contradictions, we shall see in what a desperate situation, in what a chaotic state, China finds herself. We shall also see that the high tide of revolution against the imperialists, the warlords and the landlords is inevitable, and will come very soon. All China is littered with dry faggots which will soon be aflame. The saying, „A single spark can start a prairie fire“, is an apt description of how the current situation will develop. We need only look at the strikes by the workers, the uprisings by the peasants, the mutinies of soldiers and the strikes of students which are developing in many places to see that it cannot be long before a „spark“ kindles „a prairie fire“.
The gist of the above was already contained in the letter from the Front Committee to the Central Committee on April 5, 1929, which reads in part:
The Central Committee’s letter [dated February 9, 1929] makes too pessimistic an appraisal of the objective situation and our subjective forces. The Kuomintang’s three „suppression“ campaigns against the Chingkang Mountains was the high water mark reached by the counter-revolutionary tide. But there it stopped, and since then the counter-revolutionary tide has gradually receded while the revolutionary tide has gradually risen. Although our Party’s fighting capacity and organizational strength have been weakened to the extent described by the Central Committee, they will be rapidly restored, and the passivity among comrades in the Party will quickly disappear as the counter-revolutionary tide gradually ebbs. The masses will certainly come over to us. The Kuomintang’s policy of massacre only serves to „drive the fish into deep waters“,vi as the saying goes, and reformism no longer has any mass appeal. It is certain that the masses will soon shed their illusions about the Kuomintang. In the emerging situation, no other party will be able to compete with the Communist Party in winning over the masses. The political line and the organizational line laid down by the Party’s 6th National Congressvii are correct, i.e., the revolution at the present stage is democratic and not socialist, and the present task of the Party [here the words „in the big cities“ should have been added]viii is to win over the masses and not to stage immediate insurrections. Nevertheless the revolution will develop swiftly, and we should take a positive attitude in our propaganda and preparations for armed insurrections. In the present chaotic situation we can lead the masses only by positive slogans and a positive attitude. Only by taking such an attitude can the Party recover its fighting capacity. […] Proletarian leadership is the sole key to victory in the revolution. Building a proletarian foundation for the Party and setting up Party branches in industrial enterprises in key districts are important organizational tasks for the Party at present; but at the same time the major prerequisites for helping the struggle in the cities and hastening the rise of the revolutionary tide are specifically the development of the struggle in the countryside, the establishment of Red political power in small areas, and the creation and expansion of the Red Army. Therefore, it would be wrong to abandon the struggle in the cities, but in our opinion it would also be wrong for any of our Party members to fear the growth of peasant strength lest it should outstrip the workers’ strength and harm the revolution. For in the revolution in semi-colonial China, the peasant struggle must always fail if it does not have the leadership of the workers, but the revolution is never harmed if the peasant struggle outstrips the forces of the workers.
The letter also contained the following reply on the question of the Red Army’s operational tactics:
To preserve the Red Army and arouse the masses, the Central Committee asks us to divide our forces into very small units and disperse them over the countryside and to withdraw Chu Teh and Mao Tse-tung from the army, so concealing the major targets. This is an unrealistic view. In the winter of 1927-28, we did plan to disperse our forces over the countryside, with each company or battalion operating on its own and adopting guerrilla tactics in order to arouse the masses while trying not to present a target for the enemy; we have tried this out many times, but have failed every time. The reasons are: (1) most of the soldiers in the main force of the Red Army come from other areas and have a background different from that of the local Red Guards; (2) division into small units results in weak leadership and inability to cope with adverse circumstances, which easily leads to defeat; (3) the units are liable to be crushed by the enemy one by one; (4) the more adverse the circumstances, the greater the need for concentrating our forces and for the leaders to be resolute in struggle, because only thus can we have internal unity against the enemy. Only in favourable circumstances is it advisable to divide our forces for guerrilla operations, and it is only then that the leaders need not stay with the ranks all the time, as they must in adverse circumstances.
The weakness of this passage is that the reasons adduced against the division of forces were of a negative character, which was far from adequate. The positive reason for concentrating our forces is that only concentration will enable us to wipe out comparatively large enemy units and occupy towns. Only after we have wiped out comparatively large enemy units and occupied towns can we arouse the masses on a broad scale and set up political Power extending over a number of adjoining counties. Only thus can we make a widespread impact (what we call „extending our political influence“), and contribute effectively to speeding the day of the revolutionary high tide. For instance, both the regime we set up in the Hunan-Kiangsi border area the year before last and the one we set up in western Fukien last yearix were the product of this policy of concentrating our troops. This is a general principle. But are there not times when our forces should be divided up? Yes, there are. The letter from the Front Committee to the Central Committee says of guerrilla tactics for the Red Army, including the division of forces within a short radius:
The tactics we have derived from the struggle of the past three years are indeed different from any other tactics, ancient or modern, Chinese or foreign. With our tactics, the masses can be aroused for struggle on an ever-broadening scale, and no enemy, however powerful, can cope with us. Ours are guerrilla tactics. They consist mainly of the following points:
„Divide our forces to arouse the masses, concentrate our forces to deal with the enemy.“
„The enemy advances, we retreat; the enemy camps, we harass; the enemy tires, we attack; the enemy retreats, we pursue.“
„To extend stable support bases,x employ the policy of advancing in waves; when pursued by a powerful enemy, employ the policy of circling around.“
„Arouse the largest numbers of the masses in the shortest possible time and by the best possible methods.“
These tactics are just like casting a net; at any moment we should be able to cast it or draw it in. We cast it wide to win over the masses and draw it in to deal with the enemy. Such are the tactics we have used for the past three years.
Here, „to cast the net wide“ means to divide our forces within a short radius. For example, when we first captured the county town of Yunghsin in the Hunan-Kiangsi border area, we divided the forces of the 29th and 31st Regiments within the boundaries of Yunghsin County. Again, when we captured Yunghsin for the third time, we once more divided our forces by dispatching the 28th Regiment to the border of Anfu County, the 29th to Lienhua, and the 31st to the border of Kian County. And, again, we divided our forces in the counties of southern Kiangsi last April and May, and in the counties of western Fukien last July. As to dividing our forces over a wide radius, it is possible only on the two conditions that circumstances are comparatively favourable and the leading bodies fairly strong. For the purpose of dividing up our forces is to put us in a better position for winning over the masses, for deepening the agrarian revolution and establishing political Power, and for expanding the Red Army and the local armed units. It is better not to divide our forces when this purpose cannot be attained or the division of our forces would lead to defeat and to the weakening of the Red Army, as happened in August two years ago when our forces were divided on the Hunan-Kiangsi border for an attack on Chenchou. But there is no doubt that, given the two above-mentioned conditions, we should divide our forces, because division is then more advantageous than concentration. The Central Committee’s February letter was not in the right spirit and had a bad effect on a number of Party comrades in the Fourth Army. At that time the Central Committee also issued a circular stating that war would not necessarily break out between Chiang Kai-shek and the Kwangsi warlords. Since then, however, the appraisals and directives of the Central Committee have in the main been correct. It has already issued another circular correcting the one containing the wrong appraisal. Although it has not made any correction of the letter to the Red Army, its subsequent directives have not been couched in the same pessimistic tone and its views on the Red Army’s operations now coincide with ours. Yet the bad effect which this letter had on some comrades persists. Therefore, I feel that it is still necessary to give some explanation.
The plan to take Kiangsi Province within a year was also proposed last April by the Front Committee to the Central Committee, and a decision to that effect was later made at Yutu. The following reasons were given in the letter to the Central Committee:
The armies of Chiang Kai-shek and the Kwangsi warlords are approaching each other in the vicinity of Kiukiang, and a big battle is imminent. The resumption of mass struggle, coupled with the spread of contradictions among the ruling reactionaries, makes it probable that there will soon be a high tide of revolution. As for how our work should be arranged under these circumstances, we feel that, so far as the southern provinces are concerned, the armed forces of the compradors and landlords in Kwangtung and Hunan Provinces are too strong, and that in Hunan, more over, we have lost almost all our mass following, inside as well as outside the Party, because of the Party’s putschist mistakes. In the three provinces of Fukien, Kiangsi and Chekiang, however, the situation is different. First, militarily the enemy is weakest there. In Chekiang, there is only a small provincial force under Chiang Po-cheng.xi In Fukien, although there are five groups of enemy troops totalling fourteen regiments in all, Kuo Fengming’s troops have already been smashed; the troops under Chen Kuo-hui and Lu Hsing-pangxii are bandits of small fighting capacity; the two brigades of marines stationed along the coast have never seen action and their fighting capacity is undoubtedly not high; Chang Chenxiii alone can put up some sort of a fight, but, according to an analysis made by the Fukien Provincial Committee, even he has only two relatively strong regiments. In addition, Fukien is now in a state of complete chaos, confusion and disunity. In Kiangsi, there are sixteen regiments under the two commands of Chu Pei-tehxiv and Hsiung Shih-hui;xv they are stronger than the armed forces of either Fukien or Chekiang, but far inferior to those of Hunan. Secondly, fewer putschist mistakes have been made in these three provinces. We are not clear about the situation in Chekiang, but the Party’s organizational and mass base is somewhat better in Kiangsi and Fukien than in Hunan. Take Kiangsi for example. In northern Kiangsi we still have some basis in Tehan, Hsiushui and Tungku; in western Kiangsi the Party and the Red Guards still have some strength in Ningkang, Yunghsin, Lienhua and Suichuan; in southern Kiangsi the prospects are still brighter, as the 2nd and 4th Regiments of the Red Army are steadily growing in strength in the counties of Kian, Yungfeng and Hsingkuo; and what is more, the Red Army under Fang Chih-min has by no means been wiped out. All this places us in a position to close in on Nanchang. We hereby recommend to the Central Committee that during the period of prolonged warfare among the Kuomintang warlords, we should contend with Chiang Kai-shek and the Kwangsi clique for Kiangsi Province and also for western Fukien and western Chekiang. In these three provinces we should enlarge the Red Army and create an independent regime of the masses, with a time limit of one year for accomplishing this plan.
This proposal to contend for Kiangsi erred only in setting a time limit of one year. It was based not only on conditions within the province itself, but also on the prospect that a nation-wide high tide of revolution would soon arise. For unless we had been convinced that there would soon be a high tide of revolution, we could not possibly have concluded that we could take Kiangsi in a year. The only weakness in the proposal was that it set a time limit of one year, which it should not have done, and so gave a flavour of impetuosity to the word „soon“ in the statement, „there will soon be a high tide of revolution“. As to the subjective and objective conditions in Kiangsi, they well deserve our attention. Besides the subjective conditions described in the letter to the Central Committee, three objective conditions can now be clearly pointed out. First, the economy of Kiangsi is mainly feudal, the merchant-capitalist class is relatively weak, and the armed forces of the landlords are weaker than in any other southern province. Secondly, Kiangsi has no provincial troops of its own and has always been garrisoned by troops from other provinces. Sent there for the „suppression of Communists“ or „suppression of bandits“, these troops are unfamiliar with local conditions, their interests are much less directly involved than if they were local troops, and they usually lack enthusiasm. And thirdly, unlike Kwangtung which is close to Hongkong and under British control in almost every respect, Kiangsi is comparatively remote from imperialist influence. Once we have grasped these three points, we can understand why rural uprisings are more widespread and the Red Army and guerrilla units more numerous in Kiangsi than in any other province.
How then should we interpret the word „soon“ in the statement, „there will soon be a high tide of revolution“? This is a common question among comrades. Marxists are not fortune-tellers. They should, and indeed can, only indicate the general direction of future developments and changes; they should not and cannot fix the day and the hour in a mechanistic way. But when I say that there will soon be a high tide of revolution in China, I am emphatically not speaking of something which in the words of some people „is possibly coming“, something illusory, unattainable and devoid of significance for action. It is like a ship far out at sea whose mast-head can already be seen from the shore; it is like the morning sun in the east whose shimmering rays are visible from a high mountain top; it is like a child about to be born moving restlessly in its mother’s womb.
Highlight I. The Character of China… (see the study plan for Military Works of Chairman Mao, p. 21-29)
B) Chairman Gonzalo: „Chairman Mao on the objective situation of the underdeveloped countries“ (in „Let us develop the growing people‘s protest!“) The obvious validity of the 11 contradictions, today more than ever.
9. Firmly apply the ten military principles established by Chairman Mao Tse-tung.
Pay close attention to these ten, but particularly emphasize 5, 6 and 10.
Our principles of operation are: 1. Attack dispersed, isolated enemy forces first; attack concentrated, strong enemy forces later.
2. Take small and medium cities and extensive rural areas first; take big cities later.
3. Make wiping out the enemy’s effective strength our main objective; do not make holding or seizing a city or place our main objective. Holding or seizing a city or place is the outcome of wiping out the enemy’s effective strength, and often a city or place can be held or seized for good only after it has changed hands a number of times.
4. In every battle, concentrate an absolutely superior force (two, three, four and sometimes even five or six times the enemy’s strength), encircle the enemy forces completely, strive to wipe them out thoroughly and do not let any escape from the net. In special circumstances, use the method of dealing crushing blows to the enemy, that is, concentrate all our strength to make a frontal attack and also to attack one or both of his flanks, with the aim of wiping out one part and routing another so that our army can swiftly move its troops to smash other enemy forces. Strive to avoid battles of attrition in which we lose more than we gain or only break even. In this way, although we are inferior as a whole (in terms of numbers), we are absolutely superior in every part and every specific campaign, and this ensures victory in the campaign. As time goes on, we shall become superior as a whole and eventually wipe out all the enemy.
5. Fight no battle unprepared, fight no battle you are not sure of winning; make every effort to be well prepared for each battle, make every effort to ensure victory in the given set of conditions as between the enemy and ourselves.
6. Give full play to our style of fighting- courage in battle, no fear of sacrifice, no fear of fatigue, and continuous fighting (that is, fighting successive battles in a short time without rest).
7. Strive to wipe out the enemy through mobile warfare. At the same time, pay attention to the tactics of positional attack and capture enemy fortified points and cities.
8. With regard to attacking cities, resolutely seize all enemy fortified points and cities which are weakly defended. Seize at opportune moments all enemy fortified Points and cities defended with moderate strength, provided circumstances permit. As for strongly defended enemy fortified points and cities. wait till conditions are ripe and then take them.
9. Replenish our strength with all the arms and most of the personnel captured from the enemy. Our army’s main sources of manpower and materiel are at the front.
10. Make good use of the intervals between campaigns to rest, train and consolidate our troops. Periods of rest, training and consolidation should in general not be very long, and the enemy should so far as possible be permitted no breathing space.
10. On ideological dynamics: Keep this in mind because this is the basis for the hoax and all campaigns of the enemy. We must vaccinate against this so the disease doesn’t spread and pull the weeds so they don’t infest the entire Party.
A) Chairman Mao:
The present conference will chiefly discuss three questions: the question of ideological trends, the rural question and the economic question. Today I shall speak on the question of ideological trends.
We should keep tabs on ideological trends, which I am taking up here as the first question. At present, certain problems concerning them inside the Party and in society at large have cropped up and demand our close attention.
One kind of problem arises among our own ranks. For example, some cadres now scramble for fame and fortune and are interested only in personal gain. In the discussion of the grading of cadres, there were instances where a cadre would not be satisfied with a rise of one grade, even a rise of two grades still left him weeping in bed, and perhaps only a three-grade promotion could get him out of bed. The fuss they kicked up has settled the question. This business of grading cadres, have done with it! Let wages be roughly evened out, with slight differences here and there. In the old days, the government of the Northern warlords had a prime minister by the name of Tang Shao-yi. Years later he was magistrate of Chungshan County, Kwangtung Province. If a prime minister in the old society could serve as a county magistrate, why on earth can’t our government ministers do likewise? In this regard, those who fuss over their rank and can be graded up but not down compare poorly, in my opinion, with this old mandarin. They vie with each other not in plain living, doing more work and having fewer comforts, but for luxuries, rank and status. At present, this kind of thinking has grown considerably in the Party, and the matter demands our attention.
Is agricultural co-operation promising, or is it unpromising? Which is better, the co-operative, or the individual economy? This question has been raised again. Last year, it did not come up in places reaping a rich harvest or in areas stricken by serious natural adversities, but only in those co-operatives which had suffered natural adversities but not of a serious kind or reaped a harvest but not a rich one. The cash value of work-points in these co-operatives turned out to be less than had been promised, and there was no increase but actually a decrease in the income of the members. This gave rise to such talk as, „Is the co-operative still good and worth preserving?“ And this kind of talk has found an echo among certain Party cadres. The co-operatives, some say, are in no way superior. Some government ministers made a brief visit to the countryside, and on their return to Peking they spread alarmist views, saying that the peasants were listless and not keen on farming, as if the co-operatives were on the verge of collapse and extinction. Some co-operative directors cannot hold their heads up because they are being attacked right and left and have to endure criticisms from above and from the press. Some heads of the propaganda departments of Party committees shy away from making propaganda about the superiority of the co-operatives. Minister of Agriculture Liao Lu-yen, who is concurrently Deputy Director of the Rural Work Department of the Party Central Committee, says in effect that he himself feels discouraged and so do the responsible cadres under him, and that the co-operatives won’t work anyway and the forty-article Programme for Agricultural Development is no longer valid. What are we to do with a person who feels discouraged? That’s simple. If someone is losing courage, we just pump a little into him. The newspapers have now taken on a different tone in their propaganda, dwelling on the superiority of the co-operatives and speaking well rather than ill of them. Keep this up for several months to generate a little courage.
The year before last there was a struggle against a right deviation and last year a struggle against „rash advance“, which resulted in another Right deviation. By this I mean the right deviation on the question of socialist revolution, primarily that of socialist transformation in the rural areas. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that a gust of wind with the force of a typhoon has been blowing among our cadres. A Considerable number of our ministers, vice-ministers, heads of departments or bureaus as well as cadres at the provincial level are from landlord, rich peasant or well-to-do middle peasant families and in some cases their fathers are landlords who to this day are deprived of the right to vote. When these cadres go home for a visit, they hear from their folks nothing but adverse comments such as that the co-operatives are no good and won’t last. The well-to-do middle peasants are a wavering social stratum, the go-it-alone tendency among them is rising again, and some want to withdraw from the co-operatives. The wind blowing among our cadres indicates what is in the minds of these classes and strata.
Agricultural co-operation is sure to be a success, but it cannot achieve complete success in a year or two. This must be made clear to comrades in the Party, the government, the army and the people’s organizations. The co-operatives have only a short history, mostly of a year or a year and a half, and are lacking in experience. People who have been working for the revolution most of their lives still make mistakes, so how can you expect those who have been at the job for only a year to a year and a half to make no mistakes at all? To say that co-operation won’t work when there is a little wind and rain is itself a big mistake. In point of fact, most co-operatives are doing well or fairly well. Cite just one co-operative that is being managed successfully, and you will be able to explode all the absurd arguments against co-operation. If this co-operative can be run well, why can’t others? If this co-operative displays superiority, why can’t others? Publicize the experience of this co-operative wherever you go. Each province should be able to find at least one such example. Choose a co-operative with the worst conditions including an unfavorable terrain, which previously had very low yields and was very poor. Do not choose one where the conditions were good to start with. Of course, it is fine if you have scores of examples, but if you can make just one co-operative work well, that spells success.
There is also trouble in the schools and colleges, and in a number of places students have created disturbances. In Shihchiachuang jobs were temporarily not available for some students of the graduating class in a school, and they had to stay on another year. This aroused their discontent. A handful of counter-revolutionaries seized the opportunity to agitate, organize a demonstration and threaten to occupy the Shihchiachuang radio station and proclaim a „Hungary“. They put up many posters, the most striking of which carried these three slogans: „Down with fascism!“, „We want war, not peace!“ and „Socialism is in no way superior!“
According to them, the Communist Party was fascist and people like us had to be overthrown. The slogans they put up were so reactionary that they estranged the workers, peasants and people in all walks of life. In Peking a student of Tsinghua University openly declared, „The day will come when I will have thousands and tens of thousands of people shot!“ With the introduction of the policy of letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend, even this “school” has come into the open. Comrade Teng Hsiao-ping went to the university and made a speech. If you want to have thousands and tens of thousands of people shot, he said, then we will have to enforce dictatorship.
According to a survey made in Peking, most college students are children of landlords, rich peasants, the bourgeoisie and well-to-do middle peasants, while students from working-class and poor and lower-middle peasant families account for less than 20 per cent. Probably this is roughly the case too in the rest of the country. This situation should change, but it will take time. Gomulka has been very popular with a number of our college students, and so have Tito and Kardelj. On the other hand, at the time of the riots in Poland and Hungary, most of the landlords and rich peasants in the countryside and the capitalists and members of the democratic parties in the cities behaved better and made no attempt to stir up trouble or come out with threats to kill thousands and tens of thousands of people. But one should be analytical about their behavior. For they no longer have any political capital, the workers and the poor and lower-middle peasants won’t listen to them, and they have no ground to stand on. Should something happen like atom bombs blowing up Peking and Shanghai, wouldn’t these people change? You can’t be too sure they wouldn’t. In that eventuality, there would be a process of realignment of the landlords, the rich peasants, the bourgeoisie and the members of the democratic parties. They have worldly wisdom, and many of them are lying low. Their offspring — those school kids — are inexperienced, and it is they who expose such wares as „I will have thousands and tens of thousands of people shot“ and „Socialism is in no way superior“.
There is queer talk among some professors too, such as that the Communist Party should be done away with, the Communist Party cannot lead them, socialism is no good, and so on and so forth. Before, they kept these ideas to themselves, but since the policy of letting a hundred schools of thought contend gave them an opportunity to speak up, these remarks have come tumbling out. Have you seen the film „The Life of Wu Hsun“? There is one shot of a writing brush, dozens of feet long, symbolizing the „men of learning“. A sweep of that brush could be terrific. Now they are coming out, probably with the intention of sweeping us away. Aren’t they in fact attempting a restoration?
During the past year, several storms raged on the world scene. At the 20thCongress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union they went for Stalin in a big way. Subsequently the imperialists stirred up two storms against Communism, and there were two stormy debates in the international communist movement. Amidst these storms, the impact and losses were quite big in the case of some Communist Parties in Europe and the Americas but smaller for the Communist Parties in the Orient. With the convocation of the 20th Congress of the CPSU, some people who had been most enthusiastic for Stalin became most vehement against him. In my view, these people do not adhere to Marxism-Leninism, they do not take an analytical approach to things and they lack revolutionary morality. Marxism-Leninism embraces the revolutionary morality of the proletariat. Since formerly you were all for Stalin, you should at least give some reason for making such a sharp turn. But you offer no reason at all for this sudden about-face, as if you had never in your life supported Stalin, though in fact you had fully supported him before. The question of Stalin concerns the entire International Communist Movement and involves the Communist Parties of all countries.
Most cadres in our Party are dissatisfied with the 20th Congress of the CPSU and think it went too far in attacking Stalin. That is a normal feeling and a normal reaction. But a few cadres started to vacillate. Before it rains in a typhoon, ants come out of their holes, they have very sensitive „noses“ and they know their meteorology. No sooner had the typhoon of the Twentieth Congress of the CPSU struck than a few such ants in China came out of their holes. They are wavering elements in the Party who vacillate whenever something is astir. When they heard of the sweeping denunciation of Stalin, they felt good and swung to the other side, cheering and saying that Khrushchev was right in everything and that they themselves had been of the same opinion all along. Later when the imperialists struck a few blows and a few more came from inside the international communist movements even Khrushchev had to change his tune somewhat, and so they swing back to this side again. In the face of an irresistible trend, they had no choice but to swing back. A tuft of grass atop the wall sways right and left in the wind. The waverers’ real intention was not to swing to our side, but to the other. It’s a good thing that some people inside and outside the Party sang the praises of the Polish and Hungarian incidents. They could not open their mouths without talking about Poznan and Hungary. In so doing they gave themselves away. Ants came out of their holes and turtles, tortoises and all the scum of the earth left their hiding places. They danced to Gomulka’s baton. When Gomulka talked about great democracy, they echoed him. Now the situation has changed and they are keeping their mouths shut. But that’s not what they really want to do. Their real desire is to speak out.
When a typhoon strikes, the wavering elements who cannot withstand it begin to vacillate. That’s a law. I would like to call your attention to it. Some people, having vacillated a few times, gain experience and stop wavering. But there is a type of person who will go on wavering forever. They are like some crops, rice for example, which sway at a whiff of wind because of their slender stalks. Sorghum and maize with their stouter stalks do better. Only big trees stand upright and rock-firm. Typhoons occur every year. So do ideological and political typhoons at home and abroad. This is a natural phenomenon in society. A political party is a kind of society, a political kind of society. The primary category in political society consists of political parties and political groups. A political party is a class organization. Our Communist Party of China is a proletarian political party composed chiefly of people of working-class and semi-proletarian poor peasant origin. But there are also a number of Party members who hail from landlord, rich peasant and capitalist families, or have a well-to-do middle peasant or urban petty-bourgeois origin. Though more or less tempered in long years of arduous struggle, quite a number have not acquired much Marxism, and thus ideologically or mentally they are apt to sway in the wind like rice stalks.
Some Party members who have come through many tests now find it difficult to pass the test of socialism. Hsueh Hsun is a typical example. She was formerly a deputy secretary of the Hopei Provincial Party Committee and a vice-governor of the province. When did she begin to vacillate? At the time when the state monopoly of the purchase and marketing of grain was first instituted. It was an important measure for implementing socialism. But she was dead against it and opposed it at all costs. Another example is Meng Yung-chien, deputy director of the All-China Federation of Supply and Marketing Co-operatives. In a letter of petition he, too, firmly opposed this state monopoly. When agricultural co-operation was being carried out, again some people in the Party opposed it. In short, there are high-ranking Party cadres who have vacillated and cannot pass the test of socialism. Has this state of affairs come to an end? No, it hasn’t. Will these people become firm and really believe in socialism ten years from now? Well, not necessarily. Ten years from now, when something crops up, they may say again, I foresaw that long ago.
Here is some material to be distributed among the comrades present which shows the ideological trends among certain cadres in the army. Although there is something valid in their opinions, for instance, when they say the wages of some cadres are too high and the peasants don’t like it, the general tenor is not quite right and the fundamental line they follow is wrong. They criticize our Party’s policies as being „left“ in the countryside and right in the cities. For all its 9.600.000 square kilometers China is made up of but two constituents, town and country. According to them, we are wrong in both.
When they say our rural policy has deviated to the „left“, they mean that the income of the peasants is meager, less than that of the workers. Here one should make an analysis and not judge by income alone. It is true that the income of the workers is generally higher than that of the peasants, but the value they produce is bigger, and besides they have to pay more for daily necessities. The improvement of the peasants’ livelihood depends mainly on their own efforts to increase production. The government is also doing much to help them, building water conservancy projects, granting them agricultural credits, and so on. Our tax on agricultural products, side-line products included, forms about 8 per cent of the total value of the peasants’ output, and no tax is levied on many side-lines. The state purchases grain at standard prices. Moreover, the state gets only a very small profit from the exchange of industrial products for the peasants’ agricultural products. We do not adopt the system of obligatory sales enforced in the Soviet Union. In the exchange of industrial products for agricultural products, we try to narrow the price scissors instead of widening them as in the Soviet Union. There is a world of difference between our policy and that of the Soviet Union. Therefore, our rural policy cannot be said to have deviated to the „left“.
Some of the ranking cadres in our army make complaints on behalf of the peasants because they are affected by the remarks of well-to-do middle peasants, rich peasants or landlords which they may have heard on visits to their home town or from relatives invited to stay with them. In the first half of 1955 a good many Party members made such complaints, chiming in with Liang Shu-ming and his ilk, as if only people from these two quarters spoke for the peasants and understood their sufferings. In their eyes, our Central Committee does not represent the peasants, nor do the provincial Party committees and the majority of Party members. A survey in Kiangsu Province shows that in some places 30 per cent of the cadres at the county, district and township levels made complaints on behalf of the peasants. It further reveals that most of them belong to rather well-to-do families which have surplus grain for sale. What they call „sufferings“ turns out to be having surplus grain. And when they say „help the peasants“ and „show concern for the peasants“, they mean withholding sales of surplus grain to the State. Who on earth do these grumblers represent? Not the peasant masses, but a small number of well-to-do peasants.
As for the charge that our urban policy has deviated to the right, this seems to be the case, as we have undertaken to provide for the capitalists and pay them a fixed rate of interest for a period of seven years. What is to be done after the seven years? That is to be decided according to the circumstances prevailing then. It is better to leave the matter open, that is, to go on giving them a certain amount in fixed interest. At this small cost we are buying over this class. The Central Committee has given this policy very careful consideration. On the whole, the capitalists plus the democrats and intellectuals associated with them have a higher level of cultural and technical knowledge. By buying over this class, we have deprived them of their political capital and kept their mouths shut. The way to deprive them is to buy them over and make arrangements to give them jobs. Thus political capital will not be in their hands but in ours. We must deprive them of every bit of their political capital and continue to do so until not one jot is left to them. Therefore, neither can our urban policy be said to have deviated to the Right.
Our rural policy is correct and so is our urban policy. That is why a nationwide disturbance such as the Hungarian incident cannot take place here. At most a small number of people may create trouble here and there and clamor for so-called great democracy. There is nothing terrifying about great democracy. On this score I do not see eye to eye with some comrades among you, who seem scared of it. In my view, should great democracy come about, first, you should not be scared of it and, second, you should make an analysis of the words and deeds of its advocates. In pushing their so-called great democracy, those bad types are bound to say or do something wrong, which will only expose and isolate them. To „have thousands and tens of thousands of people shot“ — is this the way to resolve contradictions among the people? Can this win any sympathy from the majority of people? „Down with fascism“ and „Socialism is in no way superior“ — doesn’t this flagrantly violate the Constitution? The Communist Party and the State power under its leadership are revolutionary and socialism is superior; this is all stated in the Constitution and acknowledged by the whole nation. „We want war, not peace“ — well, that’s fine! So you are calling for war, and yet what you can muster is only a small band, an insufficient number of men without trained officers. These kids have really gone mad! That school in Shihchiachuang had a discussion on the three slogans mentioned above and out of seventy representatives only a dozen spoke in favor, while fifty-odd said no. Then the slogans were discussed among four thousand students. Not a single one approved, so the dozen were isolated. The ultra-reactionaries who put up and stuck to these slogans were only a handful. If they had not taken up great democracy and splashed those posters everywhere, we would have been in the dark as to what they were up to. Once they pressed for great democracy, they got caught. One good thing about the Hungarian incident was that these ants in China were thus lured out of their holes.
In Hungary, great democracy toppled the Party, the government and the army once it was set in motion. This will not happen in China. If a handful of school kids can topple our Party, government and army by a show of force, we must all be fatheads. Therefore, don’t be afraid of great democracy. If there is a disturbance, it will help get the festering sore cured, and that’s a good thing. We were not afraid of imperialism in the past nor are we now. And we have never been afraid of Chiang Kai-shek. Are we now to be afraid of great democracy? I say we ought not to be. If anyone resorts to what he calls great democracy to oppose the socialist system and try to overthrow the leadership of the Communist Party, we shall exercise the dictatorship of the proletariat over him.
On the question of the intellectuals, there is a tendency today to stress arranging jobs for them to the neglect of remolding them, there is too much of the former and too little of the latter. With the introduction of the policy of letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend, there has been some timidity about remolding intellectuals. Since we have not been timid about remolding capitalists, why should we be timid about remolding intellectuals and democratic personages?
Let a hundred flowers blossom — I think we should go on doing that. Some comrades hold that only fragrant flowers should be allowed to blossom and that poisonous weeds should not be allowed to grow. This approach shows little understanding of the policy of letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend. In general, counter-revolutionary statements will naturally be prohibited. However, if they are made not in a counter-revolutionary form but in a revolutionary guise, you will have to allow them. That will help us see these statements for what they are and wage struggles against them. Two kinds of plants grow in the fields, grain and weeds. Weeding must be done every year, indeed several times a year. If you say you will allow only fragrant flowers to blossom and no poisonous weeds to grow, that is tantamount to saying that you will allow only grain and not a single weed to grow in the fields. You may very well say so, but whoever has been to the fields knows that if weeding is not done there will be weeds galore. Weeds are useful in a way–when ploughed under they can be turned into manure. You say they are of no use? Well, uselessness can be turned into usefulness. The peasants must wage struggles against weeds in the fields year in year out, and so must the writers, artists, critics and professors of our Party against weeds in the ideological field. To say something is tempered means that it has been through a struggle. If weeds grow, we uproot them. This opposite in the contradiction shows itself continually. Weeds will grow even ten thousand years from now, and so we must be prepared to wage struggles for that long.
In short, we have had an eventful year in 1956. Internationally, it was a year in which Khrushchev and Gomulka stirred up storms, and internally, it was a year of very intense socialist transformation. It is still eventful now, and all kinds of ideas will go on obtruding themselves. I hope you comrades here will keep your eyes open.
B) Chairman Gonzalo: „The Party and its current ideological dynamic must combat revisionism as the main danger.“
The Party has demonstrated that it has a wise and firm grasp of two line struggle; the problem we denote here is how the problems of class struggle today have repercussions among us, how do the new problems have repercussions, and what repercussions do the new leaps we make have. Today we are in a new, qualitatively superior leap than at the beginning. If it is to succeed on all levels, it requires principally an ideological leap that puts us at the level of understanding of necessity, of the decision to conquer power nationwide.
This problem takes us to the need to struggle against revisionism as the main danger, not because the Party has or is taking a revisionist line, rather because, keeping in mind our Party’s history, that to distance ourselves from the line leads to revisionism. Furthermore, the incorrect solution of new problems can cause deviations from the line, which tends towards revisionism.
Revisionism is a danger at a universal level for every Communist and revolutionary, and for the people as well. Remember that Chairman Mao warned us to protect ourselves from revisionism in the Central Committee; for us, if revisionism is able to prosper and usurp the Party, there would not be three changes, but four: change in leadership, change in line, change in the Party, such as in 1979, but now there would also be a change in the People’s War. There could be an abandonment of the People’s War, the most priceless service to reaction which is suffering serious problems today, or it might remain as a purely armed struggle or mercenary troops at the service of the highest imperialist bidder; but that would no longer be a people’s war nor serve the emancipation of the class or people. Note that the four changes materialize first in change of leadership; this doesn’t change the fact that the struggle begins with ideas.
C) Chairman Gonzalo:
Analyze and understand, we can seize power and establish the People’s Republic of Peru against wind or tide, sustained by the power of arms in the armed sea of masses with the powerful state that is emerging among the people; with a Party as the solid axis in our ideology, in Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, Gonzalo Thought. Though some doubt it as they did before, some doubt the sweet truth of the conquest of power, it is feasible. This is how we should put things in perspective. Should we fear the truth, even if it is bitter? It is in the two-line struggle where there are human beings who are more advanced, intermediate and backwards. We must understand, study, find its laws and handle them with firmness and decisiveness.
He who does not fear the death of a thousand cuts dares to unseat the emperor. Be prepared to give your life for the Party. If we have absolute unselfishness, what have we to fear? The masses make history and the Party leads them. What are we lacking? We are all passengers, but the Party is not; let us make it into a fortress, allow no rot or revisionism. Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is unfading, we will not concede. What should we do? Seize power. Why do some comrades, combatants and masses fail to see this? Because in the beginning few can see, without diverging, Communists are the first who must see, later arming the combatants and the people. The masses teach us to see. It has to do with the fact that the task is big and new. What is not known always generates misunderstanding and doubts. The reactionaries used to say: „they will never take power, and even if they could, the democratic countries will not permit it, they would invade“. This ideological dynamic is having repercussions. Why do some doubt? Communists who doubt are laggers, among combatants more so and masses even more. Why should this surprise us? We are starting to understand that the Party, the heroic combatants, the power of the masses that are picking up their destiny with their own hands. Aren’t you making ambushes and assaults? In your faces you carry victory not defeat. Why are we pessimistic? Why so much pessimism? With big victories come the burdens of victory.
11. On costs. Our obligation as leaders is to struggle for the smallest possible cost. Keep in mind that costs also express themselves in construction; for that reason the problem is to construct organizations superior to those of the reactionaries.
Wherever we happen to be, we must treasure our manpower and material resources, and must not take a short view and indulge in wastefulness and extravagance. Wherever we are, from the very first year of our work we must bear in mind the many years to com, the protracted war that must be maintained, the counter-offensive, and the work of reconstrucion after the enemy’s expulsion. On the one hand, never be wasteful or extravagant; on the other, actively expand production. Previously, in some places people suffered a great deal because they did not take the long view and neglected economy in manpower and material resources and the expansion of production. The lesson is there and attention must be called to it.
Basis of Discussion:
The basic principle of war. All the orienting principles of military operations originate with a single basic principle: Do everything possible to preserve our own forces and to annihilate the enemy’s forces. All war imposes a price, sometimes it is extremely high. To conserve our own forces, we must annihilate those of the enemy; but to annihilate the enemy, we must pay a price in order to preserve the whole. Chairman Gonzalo teaches us that one must be prepared to pay the highest cost of the war, but we should fight so that it will always be the smallest possible cost. It is a contradiction and the problem resides in attitude and good planning; it is mainly a question of leadership. He forged us in „challenging death“, in „revolutionary heroism“ and in „conquering laurels from death“. In war we always see the two aspects, the destructive and the constructive and the main aspect is the second one.
Our obligation as leaders is to struggle for the smallest possible cost, remember the session of the Central Committee of August 1980: there we agreed on this and it is valid to make precise calculations and thus know the real costs required by the revolution and to know the excesses of the enemy. If we think like this, when there is firm passion and not jeremiads, when we do not whine, but rather prepared to convert pain into strength, into powerful energy to demolish the enemy. We must know what heroism is squandered and for what.
12. On inflexibility. Keep in mind what was established in 1985 on the three causes of inflexibility: 1) The fluidity of war; 2) the enemy’s actions; 3) Rightism. The third one is principal.
In order for the revolution to triumph, it will engender and crush a powerful counter-revolution; we are entering, therefore, decisive years in which APRA will continue without a strategic plan. They talk of a „new strategy“ but there is none, the only thing they can do is provide greater means, pass political, economic, and social laws, strengthen the military in order to facilitate that the armed forces will fight us by means of a greater genocide in new conditions, for us as well as them. For us the genocide under way is faced with new conditions, we have passed the genocide of 1983 and 1984, which showed the great popular repudiation and strengthening of the revolution. The reactionaries can do nothing except apply genocidal policies, but these fortify the People’s War; there may be initial retreats or inflexions, but we will win by persisting in Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, Gonzalo Thought, in our politics of the five developments, the invincibility of the People’s War, and in the support of the people who make, and will continue to make, history, always under the leadership of the Communist Party.
13. On resolving new problems with Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, Gonzalo Thought.
Finally, in regards to Ayacucho an important lesson for the entire Party was learned in relation to the application of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.
This establishes three points: the problem of applying Marxism-Leninism-Maoism; the question is the specific character of the Peruvian revolution; the key is to resolve new problems with Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, Gonzalo Thought. I reiterate, the question is how to apply Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to our Peruvian Revolution. This establishes three points: first, the problem of the application of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism; application is the principal thing. Extracting truths from Marxism is the first leap, but the principal leap is the application of these leaps to transformation, the practical transformation of reality; this is the main thing. The problem, as such, is not simply knowing Marxism, the problem is applying it. The problem is not knowing Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, the problem is applying Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, that’s the point.
The second point is: the question is the specific character of the Peruvian Revolution! Here what is indicated is how to apply Marxism to a specific reality, to a concrete reality; the specific and peculiar arise. That is why this point tells us the question is the specific character of the Peruvian Revolution. What should preoccupy us is what is the peculiar, the local, the specific such as in how do we build the Army, for example, or what is specific about bureaucratic capitalism here in Peru, what is specific about the New State of the People’s Republic of New Democracy. These are what is important.
The third point tells us: The key is to resolve our problems with Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, Gonzalo Thought. Why is this the key? Because the revolution establishes many new problems; for example, the People’s Republic of Peru is a new problem, does it have a link with the People’s Republic of New Democracy? Of course, but it is another dimension, it is one State among other States, a joint dictatorship, and a new problem. The problem of the strategic offensive of the revolution: will it be a new one or not? Of course. The problem of the relative stability of the New State; the problem of the development of education; the problem of organizing production throughout the country; obviously, all these are new problems. Well then, if we want to solve them we must apply Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, Gonzalo Thought; if not, we will not resolve the new problems of the revolution. That is why it is key. Of the three points this is principle. Why? Because we have an application of many years, we have our own experience, an manner of acting, and we know the laws of the Peruvian revolution. What is happening is lacking is that we are detailing them enough or they are not specified and generalized as they should be, or we don’t note them sufficiently. This is the problem, if we have to resolve new problems we will only do so if we take up Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, Gonzalo Thought, simply and concretely.
14. On new organizational forms and the essence of clandestinity: maintain the banners of the revolution.
Chairman Gonzalo: „The 3rd Plenum takes the experience […] and we are advancing in this, we must strengthen ourselves more.“
15. The political crisis sharpens, the contradictions within the enemy deepen. The difficulties and contradictions of the reactionaries become more pronounced, particularly in this election year, which brings them to collusion and infighting which can burst apart at any moment. In time of rupture bold advances are called for.
Chairman Gonzalo: „The reactionaries are entering into great difficulties and contradictions. The problem of the general and municipal elections, the two turns and the new administrations brings them to collusion and conflict; but every collusion is based on conflict which can break out at any time. These situations of conflict and rupture that could even reach the point of a State coup, which is at this point  at least two years away, will bring us to the point of applying bold advances. For this reason it is not convenient to change plans and we must force ourselves to handle them better. We must not forget that all our Party work unfolds within the plan of strategic development, with the Party leading all of it.“
16. Strike surely, accurately and relentlessly.
One batch of bandit chieftains, local tyrants and secret agents has been executed in twenty-one counties in western Hunan, and another batch is to be executed by local authorities this year. I think measures of this kind are absolutely necessary. For only thus can we deflate the enemy’s arrogance and raise the people’s morale. If we are weak and irresolute, if we are tolerant and indulgent, it will bring harm to the people and alienate us from the masses.
To strike surely means to pay attention to tactics. To strike accurately means to avoid wrong executions. To strike relentlessly means resolutely to kill all such reactionary elements as deserve the death penalty (of course, those who don’t will not be executed). So long as we avoid wrong executions, we don’t have to worry even if the bourgeoisie raises an outcry.
Apply the delivery of sure, accurate and implacable blows in the repression of counter-revolutionaries, degenerates and traitors in the implacable struggle against the revisionist and capitulationist right opportunist line. Pay serious attention to tactics while being firm in principles and flexible in their application. Apply: Learn from Chairman Gonzalo! And:
17. Our experience is that we can prevail with inferior armament and an enemy who is superior in arms as long as the people support us and we can count on a basically correct leadership.
To what was this victory due? Just now fellow members put it down to correct leadership. Leadership is one factor; nothing can succeed without correct leadership. But we won mainly because ours was a People’s War, the whole nation gave it support and the people of China and Korea fought shoulder to shoulder.
We fought US imperialism, an enemy wielding weapons many times superior to ours, and yet we were able to win and compelled it to agree to a truce. Why was the truce possible?
First, militarily the US aggressors were in an unfavorable position and were on the receiving end. If they had not accepted the truce, their whole battle line would have been broken through and Seoul would have fallen into the hands of the Korean people. This situation became evident in the summer of last year.
Each belligerent calls his own battle line a bastion of iron. Ours is truly a bastion of iron. Our soldiers and cadres are resourceful and brave and dare to look death in the face. In contrast the US aggressor troops are afraid of death, and their officers are rather rigid, not very flexible. Their battle line is not solid and is anything but a bastion of iron.
The problems facing our side were first whether we could fight, then whether we could hold our lines, later whether we could ensure the flow of supplies, and finally whether we could foil the germ warfare. These four problems came one after the other and were all solved. Our troops grew from strength to strength in fighting. This summer, we were already able to break through an enemy position with its front of twenty-one kilometers within an hour, fire several hundred thousand shells in a concentrated attack and penetrate the enemy area up to eighteen kilometers. If we had kept this up and mounted two, three or four more attacks, his whole battle line would have been cut to pieces.
Second, politically the enemy had many insoluble internal contradictions, and the people the world over demanded peace.
Third, economically the enemy spent vast sums in the war of aggression against Korea, and his budgetary revenues and expenditures were not balanced.
All these causes combined to force the enemy to come to terms. The first was the primary cause, and in its absence a truce with the enemy would have been difficult. The US imperialists are very arrogant, if at all possible, they always refuse to talk reason, and will do so after a fashion only when driven into a tight corner.
In the Korean war the enemy suffered 1.090.000 in killed and wounded. Naturally we paid a price too. Nevertheless, our casualties were far fewer than anticipated and they became still fewer after tunnels were built. We grew stronger and stronger through fighting. The Americans failed to undermine our positions; on the contrary, their units were always wiped out by us.
Just now you all mentioned the factor of leadership. In my view, leadership is one factor, but the most important factor is the contribution of ideas by the masses. Our cadres and soldiers thought up all sorts of ways to fight the enemy. Let me give one example. In the first month of the war our losses in trucks were tremendous. What was to be done? While the leadership devised counter-measures, we relied mainly on the masses to come up with ideas. Over 10.000 people were posted on both sides of the highway to fire signal shots to warn of approaching enemy planes. On hearing these signals, our drivers would dodge or find places in which to hide their trucks. In the meantime the roads were widened and many new ones built so that trucks could run in both directions unimpeded. Thus the losses in trucks dropped from 40 percent at the beginning to less than 1 percent. Later on, underground storehouses and even underground auditoriums were built. While enemy bombs fell from overhead, we went on with our meetings underground. When they picture the Korean battlefield, people living in Peking feel it must have been very dangerous. True, there was danger, but it was not so terrible as long as everyone contributed ideas.
Our experience is that reliance on the people together with a fairly correct leadership enables us to defeat a better-equipped enemy with our inferior equipment.
18. The necessity of making plans preparing for the worst contingency and with the conviction that we can overcome difficulties.
Why do we call for preparedness against a sudden turn of events, against a counter-revolutionary come-back and against the recurrence of an incident of the Kao-Jao kind? Because we have nothing to lose if we are prepared for the worst. Whatever work we do, we must envisage the worst possibilities and plan accordingly. The worst that might happen can only be the following: a new world war unleashed by the imperialists, Chiang Kai-shek back in the saddle in Peking, and the recurrence of such incidents as the Kao-Jao anti-Party alliance, and what is more, not just one of these events may occur but as many as ten or even a hundred. But whatever their number, as long as we are prepared beforehand there is no cause for alarm. If ten happen, that means only five pair and there is nothing to make a fuss about since we have anticipated them all. Imperialism brandishes its atom bomb and hydrogen bomb to scare us and that doesn’t frighten us either. The world is so constituted that there is always one thing to conquer another. When one thing is used for attack, there is bound to be another to conquer it. If you read the novel Apotheosis of Heroes, you will know that there is no such thing as an invincible „magic weapon“. Hosts of „magic weapons“ have in fact been defeated. We believe that so long as we rely on the people there is no invincible „magic weapon“ in this world.
19. On the necessity of raising the organizational to the level of political leadership, to the level of the conquest of power countryiwide.
The organizational forms correspond to the political process, they follow and serve political ends, and our politics consists of people’s war for the seizure of power nationwide. Chairman Gonzalo said that now, necessarily with regards to the organizational forms, there would have to be a leap in their development because they were lagging behind with respect to politics. This is a problem that should have been resolved by the 3rd Plenum and is still pending, if it is not overcome situations will continue to arise, because the organic forms should be at the level of development of the People’s War. Furthermore, keep in mind that there are things that were good yesterday but are not appropriate today. Understand also that as we unfold in the strategic stalemate the life and death struggle between revolution and counter-revolution sharpens, and the enemy will also learn lessons. This is another reason to develop new organizational forms and to build apparatuses superior to the reactionaries. We must understand this well and treat this problem seriously and thoroughly, applying these principles to every concrete situation.
A) Chairman Gonzalo:
If one looks at the Party there is contradiction. For example, we wish to advance in the Party, make a leap in construction applying the principle of construction, it is necessary to introduce new forms of struggle as well as new organizational forms, new methods of leadership, new styles of work, which is to say more Marxist-Leninist-Maoist, Gonzalo Thought according to the necessity of seizing power. This does not mean to invent new forms, it means that from the experience we have, introduce new, more developed forms. For example, armed strikes have shown this, which are better managed every day and put the reactionaries in a serious bind. A short while ago, an armed strike in the central region paralyzed Juaja-concepción, Oraya, within the heartland of the reactionary economic system; or look at the military action developed by the Apurimac committee, carried out over eight days to strike deeply into Chuquibamba, and left after seven days with confrontations, breaking through ten encirclements to agitate Arequipa. From another perspective, look at the campaigns and counter-campaigns in the central regions in 1989, 1990, 1991. What do they show? The Zonal Ayacucho Committee carried out four confrontations that lasted more than seven hours, involving 50 men to 500 and we defeated them. It is a battle and we confronted them, within the process of the People’s War it is a great battle, it is not an assault, not an ambush, these are battles. War itself generates new forms of struggle, higher and more developed, as is being shown.
Even the last genocide (May 1992), was it done in the same conditions as under García Peréz? It was in worse political conditions, everything is against the reactionaries; four days of resistance have to do with the experience of 1986, with a greater tempering, with the presence of leaders that we remember with profound affection and for whom we render homage. Our process, that shows we are advancing since 1986; a sinister, wicked genocide that they said would sweep us away. Haven’t higher shining trenches of combat surged ahead? Four days of resistance in the eyes of the world, haven’t they shown what a Communist is, a combatant of the true Communist Party? We are finding new things.
In accordance with materialist principles what exists resists death, furthermore what is old resists and pretends to persist and reestablish itself in what is new. Consider, even in the simple phenomena of doing what is already know, there is a tendency to do what is managed by the law of conservation of force, these are material things. The problem is not to curse the darkness but rather to light a candle in its midst. What is old is restored, is reestablished, refuses to die and disappear.
Thus, classes and their previous situations all have repercussions. It is obvious that every class wishes to have its interests represented in the state, there are four and their contradictions multiply, they are incited, each class will try to satisfy its class interests, we must do the same […] After this comes the petty bourgeoisie, then the national bourgeoisie. There is not just one contradiction, there are many and these imply divergences or convergences. The Party’s work is the same, isn’t there a counter-positioning between mass work and military action, between ideological construction and organic construction? There is contradiction between bases and leadership; the problem is that we can’t utilize bases to challenge leadership, it is wrong, it is not our line, this must never be done. There is always a center and periphery, always centrifugal and centripetal forces. Tomorrow, when we make a government, there will be a contradiction between the people and government. The question is now we will handle them, we must understand their class character. For example, the peasantry will want all [the land] transferred to them at once. We must see which is principal, what is primary; not all can be resolved at one time. We must see the gradations, the different interests. Contradiction is resolved in a process of principal contradiction and its principal aspect; we must keep in mind multiple contradictions, their process and the principal and fundamental contradiction, struggle is the absolute and unity is the relative.xvi
B) Chairman Gonzalo: „But since there are new […] force“.xvii
20. Problems have two sources: 1) Problems of development, the problems of the new. 2) Problems linked to struggle. In the second (those linked to struggle) distinguish between: a) Divergences within the left and b) Problems of a structured right-opportunist line or what leads to it. That is to say, in some cases it is structured and in others merely points.
For this, differentiate and don’t make a fuss. Distinguish between problems of development and problems that border the Right-Opportunist Line; in these we must distinguish between those that have a structured right opportunist line and those who have antagonistic points.
Peru, June 1994
Communist Party of Peru
iComrade Fang Chih-min, a native of Yiyang, Kiangsi Province, and a member of the 6th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, was the founder of the Red area in northeastern Kiangsi and of the Tenth Red Army. In 1934 he led the vanguard detachment of the Red Army in marching north to resist the Japanese invaders. In January 1935 he was captured in battle against the counter-revolutionary Kuomintang troops and in July he died a martyr’s death in Nanchang, Kiangsi.
iiThe subjective forces of the revolution mean the organized forces of the revolution.
iiiLu Ti-ping, a Kuomintang warlord, was the Kuomintang governor of Hunan Province in 1928.
ivThe war of March-April 1929 between Chiang Kai-shek, the Kuomintang warlord in Nanking, and Li Tsung-jen and Pai Chung-hsi, the Kuomintang warlords in Kwangsi Province.
vThe third invasion of the Red Army’s support base on the Chingkang Mountains by the Kuomintang warlords in Hunan and Kiangsi lasting from the cad of 1928 to the beginning of 1929.
viThe quotation is from Mencius, who compared a tyrant who drove his people into seeking a benevolent ruler to the otter which „drives the fish into deep waters“.
viiThe 6th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was held in July 1928. It pointed out that after the defeat in 1927, China’s revolution remained bourgeois-democratic in nature, i.e., anti-imperialist and anti-feudal, and that since the inevitable new high tide in the revolution was not yet imminent, the general line for the revolution should be to win over the masses. The 6th Congress liquidated the 1927 right-capitulationism of Chen Tu-hsiu and also repudiated the „left“-putschism which occurred in the Party at the end of 1927 and the beginning of 1928.
viiiThe statement in brackets has been added by the author.
ixThe regime set up in western Fukien came into bang in 1929, when the Red Army in the Chingkang Mountains sallied eastward to build a new revolutionary support base and established the people’s revolutionary political Power in the counties of Lungyen, Yungting and Shanghang in the western part of that province.
xStable support bases were the relatively stable revolutionary support bases established by the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army.
xiChiang Po-cheng was then the commander of the Kuomintang peace preservation corps in Chekiang Province.
xiiChen Kuo-hui and Lu Hsing-pang were two notorious Fukien bandits whose forces had been incorporated into the Kuomintang army.
xiiiChang Chen was a divisional commander of the Kuomintang army.
xivChu Pei-the, a Kuomintang warlord, was then the Kuomintang governor of Kiangsi Province.
xvHsiung Shih-hui was then a divisional commander of the Kuomintang army in Kiangsi Province.
xvi3rd Plenum. Report to the Northern Regional Committee.
xvii3rd Plenum. Central Document.