Resolution on the Establishment of People’s Communes in the Rural Areas

Proletarians of all countries, unite!
There is one goal, the conquest of power!

RESOLUTION ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF PEOPLE‘S COMMUNES IN THE RURAL AREAS

Central Committee
Communist Party of China
29.08.1958

Peking Review
No. 29 of 1958
Reproduced by
The Red Flag

RESOLUTION ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF PEOPLE‘S COMMUNES IN THE RURAL AREAS

1. THE PEOPLE‘S COMMUNES ARE THE LOGICAL RESULT OF THE MARCH OF EVENTS

Large, comprehensive people‘s communes have made their appearance, and in several places they are already widespread. They have developed very rapidly in some areas. It is highly probable that there will soon be an upsurge in setting up people‘s communes throughout the country and the development is irresistible. The basis for the development of the people‘s communes is mainly the all-round, continuous leap forward in China‘s agricultural production and the ever-rising political consciousness of the 500,000,000 peasants. An unprecedented advance has been made in agricultural capital construction since the advocates of the capitalist road were fundamentally defeated economically, politically and ideologically. This has created a new basis for practically eliminating flood and drought, and for ensuring the comparatively stable advance of agricultural production. Agriculture has leaped forward since Right-conservatism has been overcome and the old technical norms in agriculture have been broken down. The output of agricultural products has doubled or increased several-fold, in some cases more than ten times or scores of times. This has further stimulated emancipation of thought among the people. Large-scale agricultural capital construction and the application of more advanced agricultural technique are making their demands on labor power. The growth of rural industry also demands the transfer of some manpower from agriculture. The demand for mechanization and electrification has become increasinglt urgent in China‘s rural areas. Capital construction in agriculture and the struggle for bumper harvests involve large-scale cooperation which cuts across the boundaries between cooperatives, townships and counties. The people have taken to organizing themselves along military lines, to work with militancy, and to lead a collective life, and this has raised the political consciousness of the 500,000,000 peasants still further. Community dining rooms, kindergartens, nurseries, tailoring groups, barber shops, public baths, „happy homes“ for the aged, agricultural middle schools, „red and expert“ schools, are leading the peasants towards a happier collective life and further fostering ideas of collectivism among the peasant masses. What all these things illustrate is that the agricultural cooperative with scores of families or several hundred families can no longer meet the needs of the changing situation. In the present circumstances, the establishment of people‘s communes with all-round management of agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry, side-occupations and fishery, where industry (the worker), agriculture (the peasant), exchange (the trader), culture and education (the student) and military affairs (the militia) merge into one, is the fundamental policy to guide the peasants to accelerate socialist construction, complete the building of socialism ahead of time and carry out the gradual transition to communism.

2. CONCERNING THE ORGANIZATION AND SIZE OF THE COMMUNES, GENERALLY SPEAKING, IT IS AT PRESENT BETTER TO ESTABLISH ONE COMMUNE TO A TOWNSHIP WITH THE COMMUNE COMPRISING 2,000 PEASANT HOUSEHOLDS

Where a township embraces a vast area and is sparsely populated, more than one commune may be established, each with less than 2,000 households. In some places, several townships may merge and form a single commune comprising about 6-7,000 households, according to topographical conditions and the needs for the development of production. As to the establishment of communes of more than 10,000 or even more than 20,000 households, we need not oppose them, but for the present we should not take the initiative to encourage them.

As the people‘s communes grow there may be a tendency to form federations with the county as a unit. Plans should be drawn up right now on a county basis to ensure the rational distribution of people‘s communes.

The size of the communes and the all-round development of agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry, subsidiary production and fishery as well as of industry (the worker), agriculture (the peasant), exchange (the trader), culture and education (the student) and military affairs (the militia), demand an appropriate division of labor within the administrative organs of the communes; a number of departments, each responsible for a particular kind of work, should be set up, following the principle of compactness and efficiency in organization and of cadres taking direct part in production. The township governments and the commune should become one, with the township committee of the Party becoming the Party committee of the commune and the township people‘s council becoming the administrative committee of the commune.

3. CONCERNING THE METHODS AND STEPS TO BE ADOPTED TO MERGE SMALL COOPERATIVES INTO BIGGER ONES AND TRANSFORM THEM INTO PEOPLE‘S COMMUNES

The merger of small cooperatives into bigger ones and their transformation into people‘s communes is now a common mass demand. The poor and lower-middle peasants firmly support it; most upper-middle peasants also favor it. We must rely on the poor and lower-middle peasants and fully encourage the masses to air their views and argue it out, unite the majority of the upper-middle peasants who favor it, overcome vacillation among the remainder, and expose and foil rumor-mongering and sabotage by landlord and rich peasant elements, so that the masses of the peasants merge the smaller cooperatives into bigger ones and transform them into communes through ideological emancipation and on a voluntary basis, without any compulsion. As to the steps to be taken, it is of course better to complete the merger into bigger cooperatives and transformation into communes at once; but where this is not feasible, it can be done in two stages, with no compulsory or rash steps. In all counties, experiments should first be made in some selected areas and the experience gained should then be popularized gradually.

The merger of smaller cooperatives into bigger ones and their transformation into communes must be carried out in close coordination with current production to ensure not only that it has no adverse effect on current production, but becomes a tremendous force stimulating an even greater leap forward in production. Therefore, in the early period of the merger, the method of „changing the upper structure while keeping the lower structure unchanged“ may be adopted. The original, smaller cooperatives may at first jointly elect an administrative committee for the merged coop to unify planning and the arrangement of work; and transform themselves into farming zones or production brigades. The original organization of production and system of administration may, for the time being, remain unchanged and continue as before; and then later, step by step, merge, readjust and settle whatever needs merging or readjusting and whatever specific questions demand solution during merger, so as to make sure there is no adverse effect on production.

The size of the communes, the speed of carrying out the merger of small cooperatives into bigger ones and their transformation into communes, and the methods and steps to be taken in this connection will be decided in accordance with the local conditions by the various provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central authorities. But no matter when the merger takes place, whether before or after autumn, in the coming winter or next spring, the small cooperatives which are prepared to merge should be brought together from now on to discuss and jointly work out unified plans for post-autumn capital construction in agriculture and to make unified arrangements of all kinds for preparatory work for an even bigger harvest next year.

4. CONCERNING SOME QUESTIONS OF THE ECONOMIC POLICY INVOLVED IN THE MERGER OF COOPERATIVES

In the course of the merger, education should be strengthened to prevent the growth of departmentalism among a few cooperatives, which might otherwise share out too much or all of their income and leave little or no common funds before the merger. On the other hand, it must be understood that with various agricultural cooperatives established on different foundations, the amount of their public property, their indebtedness inside and outside the cooperatives and so on will not be completely equal when they merge into bigger cooperatives. In the course of the merger, the cadres and the masses should be educated in the spirit of communism so as to recognize these differences and not resort to minute squaring of accounts, insisting on equal shares and bothering with trifles.

When a people‘s commune is established, it is not necessary to deal with the questions of reserved private plots of land, scattered fruit trees, share funds and so on in a great hurry; nor is it necessary to adopt clear-cut stipulations on these questions. Generally speaking, reserved private plots of land may perhaps be turned over to collective management in the course of the merger of cooperatives; scattered fruit trees, for the time being, may remain privately owned and be dealt with some time later. Share funds, etc., can be handled after a year or two, since the funds will automatically become publicly owned with the development of production, the increase of income and the advance in the people‘s consciousness.

5. CONCERNING THE NAME, OWNERSHIP AND SYSTEM OF DISTRIBUTION OF THE COMMUNES

All the big merged cooperatives will be called people‘s communes. There is no need to change them into State-owned farms. It is not proper for farms to embrace industry, agriculture, exchange, culture and education and military affairs at the same time.

After the establishment of people‘s communes, there is no need immediately to transform collective ownership into ownership by the people as a whole. It is better at present to maintain collective ownership to avoid unnecessary complications in the course of the transformation of ownership. In fact, collective ownership in people‘s communes already contains some elements of ownership by the people as a whole. These elements will grow constantly in the course of the continuous development of people‘s communes and will gradually replace collective ownership. The transition from collective ownership to ownership by the people as a whole is a process, the completion of which may take less time — three or four years — in some places, and longer — five or six years or even longer — elsewhere. Even with the completion of this transition, people‘s communes, like State-owned industry, are still socialist in character, where the principle of „from each according to their ability, to each according to their labor“ prevails. After a number of years, as the social product increases greatly, the communist consciousness and morality of the entire people are raised to a much higher degree, and universal education is instituted and developed, the differences between workers and peasants, town and country and mental and manual labor — legacies of the old society that have inevitably been carried over into the socialist period, and the remnants of unequal bourgeois right which is the reflection of these differences — will gradually vanish, and the function of the State will be limited to protecting the country from external aggression but will play no role internally. At that time Chinese society will enter the era of communism where the principle of „from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs“ will be practiced.

After the establishment of the people‘s communes it is not necessary to hurry the change from the original system of distribution, in order to avoid any unfavorable effect on production. The system of distribution should be determined according to specific conditions. Where conditions permit, the shift to a wage system may be made. But where conditions are not yet ripe, the original system of payment according to workdays may be temporarily retained (such as the system of fixed targets for output, workdays and costs, with a part of the extra output as reward; or the system of calculating workdays on the basis of output). This can be changed when conditions permit.

Although ownership in the people‘s communes is still collective ownership and the system of distribution, either the wage system or payment according to workdays, is „to each according to their work“ and not „to each according to their needs“, the people‘s communes are the best form of organization for the attainment of socialism and gradual transition to communism. They will develop into the basic social units in communist society.

6. AT THE PRESENT STAGE OUR TASK IS TO BUILD SOCIALISM

The primary purpose of establishing people‘s communes is to accelerate the speed of socialist construction and the purpose of building socialism is to prepare actively for the transition to communism. It seems that the attainment of communism in China is not longer a remote future event. We should actively use the form of the people‘s communes to explore the practical road of transition to communism.

29.08.1958
CENTRAL COMMITTEE
COMMUNIST PARTY OF CHINA