Speech at a Meeting with Regional Secretaries and Members of the Cultural Revolution Group of the 8th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China

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


Chairman Mao Tse-tung

Reproduced by
The Red Flag


Now all the regional secretaries and members of the Cultural Revolution Group are present. The task of this meeting is to attend to our documents, and primarily to change the method of sending out work teams so that revolutionary teachers and students in schools, as well as some middle-of-the-road people, can organize school Cultural Revolution Groups to lead the Great Cultural Revolution. Only they understand the affairs of the schools. The work teams do not understand. There are some work teams who made a mess of things. The purpose of the Great Cultural Revolution in the schools is to carry out struggle, criticism, transformation. The work teams had the effect of obstructing the movement. Can we carry out struggle and transformation? For example, Chien Po-tsan wrote a great many books, yet you still haven‘t read them. How can you struggle against him and transform him? Where schools are concerned it is a case of „When the temple is small the gods seem big, and when the pool is shallow the turtles seem plentiful“. Therefore we must rely on internal forces in the schools. The work teams won‘t do. I won‘t do, you won‘t do. The provincial Party committees won‘t do either. If it‘s struggle and transformation you want, you must rely on the schools themselves and the units themselves. It is no good relying on the work teams. I wonder whether the work teams can be changed into liaison staff. If they are changed into advisers they will have too much power. Perhaps they can be called observers. The work teams obstruct the revolution, but there are some among them who don‘t. If they obstruct the revolution they will unavoidably become counterrevolutionary. The Communications University in Sian does not allow people to telephone, and does not allow people to be sent to Peking. Why should they fear people going to Peking? Let them come and besiege the State Council. We must draw up documents! to the effect that they may telephone or send delegates. Will it do to get so frightened? When the newspapers in Sian and Nanking were besieged for three days, the people concerned were so afraid that their souls left their bodies. Are you afraid like this? You people! If you don‘t make revolution, the revolution will be directed against you. Some districts do not allow people to besiege newspaper offices, go to the provincial Party committee or go to see the State Council. Why are you so afraid? When they get to the State Council all they see are little unimportant generals, and so nothing can be cleared up. Why are things like this? Even if you won‘t show your faces I will show mine. This word „fear“ is always coming to the fore — fear of counterrevolution, fear of people using knives and guns. Can there really be so many counterrevolutionaries? These past few days Kang Sheng, Chen Po-ta and Chiang Ching have been going down to the schools to read the big-character posters. How can you get by without perceptual knowledge? None of you go down because you are busy with routine matters; but you should go down even if it means neglecting routine matters, in order to get perceptual knowledge. In Nanking they did things a bit better. They didn‘t stop students from coming to the Centre.

(Kang Sheng interrupted: „Nanking had three great debates. The first debate was about whether the New China Daily was revolutionary or not; the second was about whether the Kiangsu Provincial Party Committee was revolutionary or not. The debate concluded that the Kiangsu Provincial Party Committee was after all revolutionary. The third debate was about whether Kuang Ya-ming should be paraded in the street wearing a dunce‘s hat.“)

In the schools the majority is revolutionary, the minority is not revolutionary. As to whether Kuang Ya-ming will parade the streets wearing a dunce‘s hat, the conclusion of the debate will naturally clarify this point.

During this meeting the comrades who are attending it should go to Peking University and the Broadcasting Institute to read the big-character posters. You should go to the places where there is the most trouble and take a look there. Today you aren‘t going because we have to attend to the documents. When you read the big-character posters you can say that you are there to learn, to support their revolution; you go there to light the fire of revolution and support the revolutionary teachers and students, not to listen to counterrevolutionaries and Rightists talk. After two months you still haven‘t got the slightest perceptual knowledge and you are still bureaucratic. If you go there you will be surrounded by the students and should be surrounded by them, and when you start talking to a few of them they will surround you. At the Broadcasting Institute over a hundred people were beaten up. There is one good thing about our era: the Leftists get beaten up by the Rightists, and this toughens up the Leftists. To send the work teams for six months or even a year won‘t work, only people from on the spot will do. The first thing is struggle, the second is criticism, the third is transformation. Struggle means destruction, and transformation means establishing something new. It won‘t do to change the teaching materials in half a year‘s time. The thing to do is to delete, to abandon, to condense and to simplify. Materials which are incorrect or repetitious can be cut by one third to one half.

(Wang Jen-chung interrupted: „We should cut out 2/3 and study ‚Quotations from Chairman Mao‘.“)

Political teaching materials, central directives and newspaper editorials are guidelines for the masses; they mustn‘t be regarded as dogmas. The problem of beatings-up hasn‘t been mentioned in our circulars. This won‘t do. This is a matter of our basic direction and of laying down guidelines. Our general policy should be quickly established. In carrying out transformation we must rely on the revolutionary teachers and students and leftists in the schools. It doesn‘t matter if Rightists join the cultural revolutionary committees of the schools; they can be useful as teachers by negative example, but the Rightists shouldn‘t be concentrated together. The Peking Municipal Party Committee doesn‘t need so many people. When there are too many people around there will be telephoning and the issuing of orders. There should be a wholesale cut in secretaries. When I was working on the Front Committee I had a secretary called Hsiang Pei. Later during our retreat we did not have secretaries any more. It‘s enough just to have someone to receive and dispatch documents.

(Kang Sheng interrupted: „The Chairman has talked about four things. One is the reorganization of the Peking Municipal Party Committee. This has been done. The second is the reorganization of the Propaganda Department of the Central Committee, which has also been carried out. The third is the elimination of the five-man Cultural Revolution Group, which has also been done. The fourth is the transformation of certain ministries into departments, which hasn‘t been done.“)

That‘s right, regarding ministers, those who can manage their work don‘t have to be changed. They can be called ministers, heads of departments, heads of bureaus, heads of offices, but those who don‘t do their jobs should be changed into the Department of Metallurgy, the Department of Coal.

(Someone interrupted: „Peking University carried out four big debates. Was the incident of the 18th of June a counterrevolutionary affair? Some say yes, because there were riff-raff involved in it, but some say no, and that the work team made mistakes. Over 40 people in the Peking University Middle School propose sacking the head of the work team, Chang Cheng-hsien.“)

There are many work teams which obstruct the movement and they include Chang Cheng-hsien. But we mustn‘t arrest people indiscriminately. What constitutes counterrevolutionary activity? It‘s simply murder, arson, and spreading poison. Such people you can arrest. You can let those who write reactionary slogans go free for the time being so that you can have a confrontation. You can consider the matter again when you have struggled against them.