Speech at a Work Conference of the 8th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China

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

SPEECH AT A WORK CONFERENCE OF THE 8TH CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CHINA

Chairman Mao Tse-tung
28.12.1964

Reproduced by
The Red Flag

SPEECH AT A WORK CONFERENCE OF THE 8TH CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CHINA

I don‘t have much to say. Is this document (referring to the „23 Articles“) all right?

Article 1, regarding the nature of the problem, is such a provision feasible?

There are three kinds of presentation. Are the first two better or is the third one better?

I have discussed it with members of the Permanent Committee and also with several local comrades, deeming that the third method of presentation is better.

This is because the name of the movement is the Socialist Education Movement, not a „Four Clean-Ups“ education movement, nor an educational movement on intertwining contradictions.

At the Peitaiho Conference in 1962, the 10th Plenum of the Central Committee issued a communiqué, stating that we should undertake socialism, not capitalism.

During the first half of 1962, there was blown the „wind of individual farming“. There were also „Three Conciliations and One Reduction“ and „Three Freedoms and One Guarantee“ which blew with terrific force. Teng Tzu-hui was one of those in the „wind of individual farming“, there being several others beside him. Some comrades were persuaded; others listened, but would not reply or answer questions.

We have undertaken socialism for so many years, yet some comrades would not respond or answer questions.

In April and May there was not a single local comrade who said that situation was fine, and only army comrades said it was all right. I heard this directly from Hsu Shih-yu, XXX, and indirectly from Yang Te-chih and Han Hsien-chu. It was then in May, and they would say only that the situation was bad, and that there was such a general atmosphere.

When I went to Tsinan in June, several comrades told me that the situation was good. Why was there this change? They did not reap wheat in May, but in June they did.

Why should I talk about the situation at Peitaiho? It is because someone said then that if „production was not contracted to each household, it would take some eight to ten years to recover“. Should we undertake socialism, or capitalism? This was a kind of class struggle. Consequently, it was asked „whether class and class contradiction exist“?

Thus, it was felt by the permanent members of the Political Bureau and through public discussions that the third method of presentation was more appropriate because it envisages the nature of the problem.

The focus was to rectify the power holders within the Party taking the capitalist road. Comrade Chen I said that he was also a power holder, and if you wouldn‘t take the capitalist road, you could still be the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Article 16, regarding working attitude; this means that democracy must be stressed.

When you say every day there must be democracy, this is undemocratic. When you ask others to be democratic, you are not democratic yourself.

There have always been „Three Great Democracies“ in the army. When you cannot capture a fortress, you will summon the soldiers, fighter and squad leaders to hold a meeting and discuss strategy. You will then find the way. This is military democracy.

Political democracy — the three great disciplines.

Economic democracy — the mess should be managed by fighters. Do they still manage it now? This cannot be left entirely to the care of the quartermaster. There are two officers in each company: a sergeant clerk and a quartermaster. The sergeant clerk is in charge of copying work, which is to write reports. It seems terrific, because he knows a few characters.

One should listen to both good words and bad. There is no problem if you prefer to hear good words. The problems is with bad works. I once spoke at a rally of some 7,000 people, saying although „one should not touch the buttocks of a tiger, I insist on touching it“. Later, I realized that expression was uncouth and changed it. In this case the I denotes the laboring people and lower echelon cadres, and people like us aren‘t too good to touch. If you wish to expose his scar or blister, it won‘t be too easy!

One should listen to both correct words and incorrect words. You should listen to what is right, but even though it‘s wrong, continue to listen. If others should criticize you wrongly, what does it matter? You are correct, and when someone makes a wrong criticism, the responsibility is theirs. What does it matter if you listen to them? But if you won‘t listen, it is no good. When it is correct, and when the criticism is apt, you must listen. If the criticism is wrong, it behoves you all the more to listen. Moreover, especially when they say something against you, you must listen patiently. That is rather difficult to do.

You must allow the other person to finish their talk which is also somewhat difficult to do. They may talk quite long, and there may be too much water and too little rice, resembling a bowl of congee; I have suffered from such ordeals many times. There was someone who talked for two hours, but still didn‘t get to the point. I asked him if I could help him, and then he got to the point. When at Yenan, XXX once came to visit me. He rambled on for two hours without getting anywhere. I asked him what he wanted from me, and then he mentioned his purpose. There was then another comrade who would only lecture, and would refuse to answer my questions. I could only listen to his lecturing. There are many such people in the world whose purpose is to lecture others. They want to lecture people like me, copiously and ramblingly.

There is a distinction between propaganda and agitation. In propaganda many concepts are linked together, in agitation, there is only one concept or one slogan. For instance, when you conduct a strike, you present a slogan which is very simple. This is called agitation. When you write articles, make reports, and engage in lengthy discourses, this is propaganda. When you hang up posters, this is agitation (mobilization for a specific event.)

XXX discovered this, and he talked about it twice, taking 50 minutes one time, and zero minutes another time because nobody wanted to listen to him! I have always advocated that in listening to speeches, one must not clap hands. If you don‘t like to listen, you may take a nap. When your talk is boring, it‘d be better for them to take a nap to maintain their health. It is better to maintain one‘s health against such ordeals. Another way is to read a novel. I did this when I was attending school, and in this way I kicked out the teacher. (He related his story as a student.) This could have been my fault, or perhaps it was because what the teacher lectured on was uninteresting that I began to read novels, and later I invented napping. Don‘t say that I have had no inventions, because I also invented. (Laughter.) I used this method to punish those who, instead of engaging in some form of dialogue, would merely lecture, and to harass those teachers who were prone to giving lecture, but would not allow their students to ask questions or question their students as a way of stimulation. If there is a teaching syllabus in a class, the teacher won‘t have to lecture. All they have to do is to let the students read it, and raise some questions for student discussions. When the government work report was presented this time, I suggested that it need not be read. But they said there might be some illiterates, so I conceded and it was read. I also clapped. In this kind of meeting, I am also for clapping hands.

Among comrades, you must not make others afraid of you. But in the case of the enemy, you must make them afraid. One must by no means make others afraid of you among comrades! If you do so, there must be some trouble with you, for otherwise, why would you want others to be afraid of you? When you make others afraid of you, it must be because you are weak in reasoning.

In army units in old days, the squad leader would train his soldiers with these methods: beating, scolding, and detention, and nothing else. They were undemocratic. Later, we said that beating and scolding should not be permitted, and now detention has also been abolished. Soldiers desert, and if they desert, let them go and why apprehend them? To capture the deserter and shoot them, why! Why would others desert? It is most probably because they could not live in your place. Let them run away. If you want to get the deserter back, you will have to admit your errors to them and invite them to eat rice and pork. You should tell him that if they still want to run away, they could do so, but if not, they could stay. You can‘t use the method of beating and scolding and incarceration to deal with deserters. Let the deserter run away, because such a soldier has a rather low positiveness, and what is the use of keeping them? They could flee to some foreign country, and what does that matter? China has so many people. They might denounce us, but then so many people have denounced us, including Khrushchev and Kennedy who are not Chinese. The musician Fu Tsung has fled to England. I say this is good. What‘s the use of keeping this kind of person in the country?

I have spoken only on these two points: the nature of the problem, and the working attitude.