Proletarians of all countries, unite!
There is one goal, the conquest of power!
SPEECHES AT THE PEITAIHO CONFERENCE
Chairman Mao Tse-tung
The Red Flag
SPEECHES AT THE PEITAIHO CONFERENCE
1. THE SPEECH OF AUGUST 17TH, 1958
This is a conference of the Expanded Political Bureau; responsible comrades from all provinces and autonomous regions are participating. The topics are listed in the documents distributed here, and comrades may refer to them.
The key point is the first problem: the problem of the Five-Year Economic Plan next year — mainly it has to do with industry, but it‘s also somewhat relevant to agriculture. It‘s unfair just to issue reference figures; we should be fairer and more correct with our figures. Let‘s take three days to work on it; Comrade Li Fu-chun1 will be responsible.
The second problem: the problem of iron, steel, copper and molybdenum production this year. Steel production has to double from the 5,300,000 tons of 1957; but there‘s a danger that we may not be able to reach the target of 11,000,000 tons, and the key problem is iron. Now we have all made telephone calls and mobilized people, but those in the localities must still be sure to return those phone calls to confirm.
The third problem: Comrade Tan Chen-lin2 will be in charge of agriculture next year.
The fifth problem: the problem of agricultural collectivization; we have printed a copy of Honan‘s regulations for the experimental operation of people‘s communes.
The sixth problem: Li Hsien-nien5 will be in charge of commercial purchases and distribution this year (including the handling of this year‘s grain). Grain production will probably reach XXX,000,000 catties this year, per capita XXX catties. Strive to reach XXX catties per capita next year and XXX catties the year after. Whether or not this will reach 2,500 to 3,000 catties per capita, we‘ll discuss later. Can we indefinitely develop grain output? I think it‘s not going to be easy to exceed 3,000 catties per capita.
The seventh problem: the problem of education. Comrade Lu Ting-yi6 is writing an article. Once a resolution is made, it‘ll be printed and distributed.
The eighth problem: the problem of cadres participating in manual labor. Officials, no matter who, whether big or small, including us here, all should participate in physical labor as long as they‘re physically able, excepting only those too old or too weak. We have millions of officials; adding those in the army there are more than 10,000,000. We don‘t even have a clear idea as to exactly how many officials. Cadre children number in the tens of millions, and they are in a favored position from which to become officials. When one has been an official for a long time, it‘s easy to get separated from reality and the masses. The construction of the Ming Tombs Reservoir has been completed; many people went to the reservoir to perform manual labor for a few days. Can we do manual labor for one month a year, making assignments according to the four seasons of the year? Workers, peasants and commercial personnel are all able to combine manual labor and their ordinary work; everybody should be like that. If other people can do manual labor, is it acceptable that our officials should not? And then there are all those many cadre children. In the Soviet Union, graduates of agricultural colleges don‘t want to go to the countryside. Isn‘t it absurd to run agricultural colleges in the cities?! Agricultural colleges should all move to the countryside. All schools should run factores. Even the Tientsin Conservatory is running a few factories; that‘s very good. Participating in manual labor is easy for cadres at the county and township levels, but it‘s hard to manage for those at the central, provincial and prefectural levels; they probably can‘t operate a machine! How is it that people who can eat with chopsticks and write with brushes can‘t operate a machine? Isn‘t it easier to operate a machine or to climb a mountain?
The ninth problem: the problem of the labor system. It should be worked out by the Ministry of Labor.
The tenth problem: the problem of sending tens of thousands of people to the border regions.
The eleventh problem: the problem of maintaining technological security.
The twelth problem: the problem of the international situation. It was I who raised this problem, because everywhere people are asking whether there‘ll be another world war. What to do if the war starts? What exactly is the nature of the Western military bloc? To whose advantage is a tense international situation? Is it better for the U.S. and British forces in the Middle East to withdraw soon or to stay a bit longer? Embargo or not embargo — to whose advantage would it be? Is it advantageous for the United Nations to recognize us or not to? In the last analysis who fears whom? Who fears whom more? These questions have not been completely resolved even within the Party. Some say: „The East wind prevails over the West wind“; but it‘s clear that the East wind has not prevailed, otherwise how dare the U.S. and British land in the Middle East? Our views are not unanimous on this problem: both within and outside the Party there‘s fear of the West, there‘s U.S.-phobia. Who fears whom more? I think perhaps it‘s the West that fears us a bit more. There are three „-isms“ in the world: communism, imperialism and nationalism. The latter two are both capitalist. One is national capitalism, the other is the capitalist which oppresses other people — imperialism. Nationalism was originally the rear base of imperialism; but once it opposes imperialism, it becomes our rear base. India and Egypt both practice nationalism, but their position is more to our advantage. If our two „-isms“ stand together, our strength will be greater. Both sides have nuclear bombs; but the might of the people is greater on our side, so there won‘t be a war. But a war is still possible, so we had better be prepared to fight. It‘s hard to predict monopoly capitalism. If they want to fight, is it better to fear fighting or not to fear it? Steel yourselves; be implacable towards the enemy; fight with all your might; destroy first and rebuild later. Let‘s say clearly it‘s better not to fear a fight.
As for the three groupings of imperialism,7 in our propaganda we say that imperialism is an aggressor because it launches aggression against nationalism and socialism, but we should not see this as anything that alarming. It will only attack us under one circumstance: that is, if we‘re in great disorder, and are overthrown by counter-revolutionaries. The Hungarian counter-revolution has already been suppressed; they dare not return. The socialist camp is consolidating; with 70-80,000,000 tons of steel our China will be consolidated. As for those imperialist treaties, they‘re not so much for offense as for defense. They are organizations suffering from calcification like lungs affected by tuberculosis and shouldn‘t be taken too seriously. The Baghdad Pact sprang a leak; its center collapsed, and in a single morning Iraq was turned around. Communist ideology can infiltrate; I quite appreciate Liu Shao-chi‘s saying that they fear our penetration. The imperialist military blocs are protected by walls of thin boards, standing on shaky foundations. NATO is relatively more consolidated; it‘s keeping the intermediate zones in order. They have no chance of keeping us in order, so they do it to the intermediate zones. They also give each other a hard time: the British and the U.S. keep France in order and restrict West Germany. In our propaganda, we say that we oppose tension and strive for relaxation, as if relaxation is to our advantage and tension is to their advantage. But can we or can‘t we look at the situation the other way around? Is tension to our comparative advantage and to the West‘s disadvantage? Tension is the West‘s advantage only in that they can increase military production, and it‘s to our advantage in that it will mobilize all our positive forces. On the morning of the 14th of July the lid was taken off Iraq. Tensions can help gain militants for communist parties in different countries. It can help us increase steel as well as grain production. It‘s better if the U.S. and Britain withdraw from Lebanon and Jordan later rather than sooner. Don‘t make the U.S. seem kindhearted people. Every extra day they stay is an additional advantage to us. We can capitalize on the U.S.‘s mistakes and make an issue of it. U.S. imperialism will become a target of public criticism, but in our propaganda we can‘t talk like this. We still have to say they should withdraw immediately.
As for the embargo, the tighter the better; the longer the U.N. refuses to recognize us the better. We have experience in this. During the Anti-Japanese War, Chiang Kai-shek and He Ying-chin8 refused to give us supplies or money. We raised the slogan of unity and self-reliance, developing production on a large scale. The value of our production was more than 400,000 yuan. We even had cotton-padded clothes to wear, many more than what He Ying-chin gave us. It was like that then, so it‘s to our advantage now to have various countries put an embargo on us. It would be best if they recognized us seven years from now. Divide seven years into three periods: struggle hard for three years, then another two years, then still another two years. By that time, we produce from XXX to XXX million tons of steel. To have an enemy in front of us, to have tension, is to our advantage.
The thirteenth problem: the problem of communist education in the villages this Winter and next Spring.
The fourteenth problem: the problem of cooperation.
The fifteenth problem: the problem of deep ploughing. Currently the main orientation in agriculture is the problem of deep ploughing. Ploughing deeply is like creating a big reservoir for water and a big cistern for manure, otherwise no amount of water and manure will work. In the North we should deep plough to a depth of over a foot, in the South to seven or eight inches, then apply manure in different layers so as to enhance the granular structure of the soil. Every granule is both a small reservoir and a small manure cistern. Deep ploughing brings water above ground into contact with underground water. Close planting is based on deep ploughing: otherwise it is useless. Deep ploughing helps weeding. Digging up roots in turn helps eliminate insects so that one mou of land can produce as much as three mou. Now each person countrywide has three mou of land. Once we go down to the grass roots, we can increase production. What‘s the use of planting that much land? In the future we can use 1/3 of the land for afforestation, and after a few years again decrease the acreage for grain by another mou per capita. In the past we weren‘t able to afforest the plains, but by that time we will be able to. Without deep ploughing there‘s no such possibility.
Our views on population should change. In the past I said that we could manage with 800,000,000. Now I think that 1,000,000,000+ would be no cause for alarm. This shouldn‘t be recommended for people with too many children. When people‘s level of education increases, they will really practice birth control.
The sixteenth problem: the problem of fertilizer.
The seventeenth problem: the problem of the people‘s milita. The coordinating regions or the larger provinces can produce small arms, such as rifles, machine guns, light artillery and so forth; they arm the militia, establish large cooperatives and then everything is under one roof: industry, agriculture, commerce, education and military affairs. Producing that many guns is probably a waste, since we are not at war. But a little waste is still necessary. „Everyone a soldier“ helps boost morale and courage. Sing more of Mu Kui-ying9, of Hua Mu-lan10 and of Sichow11 fortress, sing less of Chu Ying-tai12. In another six years there will be a gun for 1/4 of the population, countrywide we‘ll need 100,000,000 guns; everyone will be given a score or more of bullets, which should all be used.
2. THE SPEECH OF AUGUST 19TH, 1958
The provincial Party 1st secretaries must personally grasp industry.
„Unified, that is, centralized, planning; management by levels; priority construction projects; branches and leaves supporting each other.“ The Tientsin prefecture has set up a steel mill of 40,000 tons capacity. This is their priority project. Lower levels of management are under centralized planning, a small portion, or 2/10, of the total projects will be under the management of the Center (both investments and profits can be the Center‘s business); the majority, or 8/10, will be assigned to local regions for management. By 1962 we‘ll produce XXX tons of steel. How to manage at that time, we‘ll have to wait and see Where we should put our priority projects will depend on where we find appropriate conditions. Decentralization without dictatorship will not do. If we are to pursue speed, Wuhan Steel Mill can go a bit faster; but if all counties and communes champion „steel activism“, it will be disastrous. We must have control; we cannot talk only about democracy. The ways of Marx and Ching Shih-huang have to be combined.
The entire Party running industry, each level running industry, but all must be under unified planning; and there definitely must be priority projects. There must be branches and leaves. Whatever does not impinge upon priority projects, people at large can run; but those which do must all be centralized. Each level should run only those things it is able to; it‘s not necessary for every APC to produce steel. APCs should mainly process grain, produce indigenous fertilizer, repair and produce farm tools, and dig small coal mines. Only when you don‘t do everything, can you then do something. Every coordinating region must have a complete set of economic activities, but the provinces should divide up the work properly among them, and not try to run every kind of project themselves. How much grain, and how much steel should each province produce? Eventually every province should produce and consume its own products. No province should think of selling its products elsewhere while planning to receive some allocations from the Center. Fukien province produced XXX,000 tons of steel. Where should it be used? Big steel mills belonging to the Center; small- and medium-sized mills can be run by more or less every province.
Decentralization of power to the localities: Every level (province, prefecture, county, township, APC) should have power. The substance and scope of that power may very. Management by different levels, but do not divide up all the raw materials.
All levels should gradually strengthen their planning system. Production and distribution in APCs should also gradually be brought under unified management. It won‘t do not to have tight planning and organization. Grain production should also be well planned. Should so many types of potato be planted next year or not? Do we want to plant so much cotton or not? If we strive hard again next year, and get the per capita grain figures up to XXX catties, then we‘ll see what‘s next.
A socialist State is a tightly organized network. In 10,000 years there‘ll be many people, many cars; we‘ll have to line up even to go shopping. There‘ll be many airplanes, and it won‘t do not to have control of air traffic. When apes were evolving into human beings, there was much freedom; later there was less and less freedom. On the other hand, humanity experienced a major liberation, consciously taking control of the cosmos, uncovering limitless forces.
We must eradicate the ideology of bourgeois right. For instance, competing for position, competing for rank, demanding overtime pay, high salaries for mental workers and low salaries for physical laborers — these are all vestiges of bourgeois ideology. „To each according to their worth“ is stipulated by law; it‘s also bourgeois stuff. In the future should we ride cars according to rank? We do not necessarily need specially assigned cars. It‘s okay to make some allowances for the old and infirm; for the rest there should be no ranking.
Do we need to strive hard for grain production next year or not? We do, indeed. Struggle arduously for three years, storing up one year‘s worth of grain (500 catties per capita). But we can reduce the output of sweet potatoes a bit.
All plans should be made public; there should be no concealment of production. It won‘t do not to have control over prefectures, counties and townships. If you can‘t transfer things, then transfers must be enforced by administrative orders. From now on, performance appraisal among localities must be by comparing assignment fulfillment, technological creativity, work methods, organizational discipline, social order and responsible dictatorship. But only after great contending and blooming can you practice dictatorship. At present, iron can‘t be transferred out of localities, neither can steel; there exist hundreds of thousands of governments — how outrageous!
We still need to talk about current affairs. On the domestic front, we need to talk about taking the whole country as a big commune; on the international front, we need to talk about the possibility of the imperialists launching a war. With the whole country as a big commune, it‘s impossible not to have priority projects; it‘s impossible not to have unified planning. From the Center down to the APCs, there must be unanimity. There must be flexibility; but flexibility has to do with the branches and leaves, it can‘t impinge upon the main trunk. Next year‘s target of XXX,000,000 tons of steel must be fulfilled; this year‘s XXX,000,000 tons of steel must be guaranteed.
When the provincial Party secretaries return home, they should immediately establish proletarian dictatorship with effective regulations: one chief for each region, one head to a province. „Every injustice has its perpetrator, every debt has its debtor.“ Someone from an APC in Handan, Hopeh, drove a cart to the Anshan Steel Mill and wouldn‘t leave until given some iron. In every place there are so many people roaming around uncontrolled; this must be banned completely. We must work out an equilibrium between levels, with each level reporting to the next higher level — APCs to the counties, counties to the prefectures, prefectures to the provinces — this is called socialist order. A Center, too, has only one head. The Center‘s head for steel is Wang He-shou13 and the head for machinery is Chao Er-lu.14
The Center‘s plans should be formulated with the participation of all provinces and cities; provincial level plans should be formulated with the participation of prefectures and counties. Perhaps things can‘t be resolved in one sitting, so we must talk a few more times.
Now on the problem of the people‘s communes. What should they be called? They may be called people‘s communes, or they may not. My inclination is to call them people‘s communes. This name is still socialist in nature, not at all overemphasizing communism. They‘re called people‘s communes, first, because they‘re big and second, because they‘re public. Lots of people, a vast area of land, large scale of production, and all their undertakings are done in a big way. They integrate government administration with commune management to establish public mess halls, and private plots are eliminated. But chickens, ducks and the young trees in front and behind a house are still private. These, of course, won‘t exist in the future. If we have more grain, we can practice the supply system; for the present it‘s still reward according to one‘s work. Wages will be given to individuals according to their ability and won‘t be given to the head of the family, which makes the youth and women happy. This will be very beneficial for the liberation of the individual. In establishing the people‘s communes, as I see it, once again it‘s been the countryside that‘s taken the lead; the cities haven‘t started yet, because the workers‘ wage scales are a complicated matter. Whether in urban or rural areas, the aim should be the socialist system plus communist ideology. The Soviet Union practices the use of high rewards and heavy punishments, emphasizing only material incentives. We now practice socialism and have the sprouts of communism. Schools, factories and neighborhoods can all establish people‘s communes. In a few years big communes will be organized to include everyone.
In Tientsin municipality 1,000,000 people could have participated in manual labor yet did not. In the 2nd Five-Year Plan period, mechanization can finally be basically realized. Only with mechanization can the labor force be completely liberated.
There must be centralized power on major issues; decentralized power applies to minor issues only. Once the Center makes a decision (the Center and the localities decide jointly), each locality should implement that decision; implementation also means making decisions, but not in violation of principles. Party committees should take the responsibility of investigating work as it is carried out. These points still need emphasis. Centralized power is the main trunk; decentralized power is the branch and leaves. On the one hand there‘s policy-making; on the other, there‘s investigation of results. The special small group for steel must carry out a checkup every ten days. After you‘ve returned home from this conference, do nothing else but concentrate on industry for a few months. Without giving up something, you can‘t specialize. Without a specialization, you have no priorities. The grain problem has basically been solved; high output satellites should not be given too much attention. Imperialism oppresses us; and so within three, five or seven years we must build our country into a great industrial power. For this goal we must concentrate our strength on building up our large-scale industrial basis; we must grasp the main things; and as for things of secondary importance, if we don‘t have enough capability, then get rid of some. It‘s just like pruning cotton plants for the growth of cotton balls. Will this hurt the initiative of the lower levels? If APCs don‘t produce steel, they can produce something else. Who produces and who does not produce iron and steel must be on the basis of a decision. We must issue an emergency order requisitioning iron and not allowing it to be dispersed. The plans of medium- to large-sized steel mills must be fulfilled, and we must strive for overfulfillment. In a specified period, only a few things can be done. If you want to sing Hsiao Yao Chin,15 then you cannot sing other operas at the same time. We must drive home the principle „only when you don‘t do everything, can you then do something“.
We must go all out for the next two years on the production of iron, steel, copper, aluminum, molybdenum and other nonferrous metals. It won‘t do not to go all out. Steel targets must be fully met; iron can be a little less, but we must also strive to fulfill that target.
When we sent people to Vietnam, I said to them: „You should cherish and protect every tree and every blade of grass in Vietnam. That‘s not just the business of Ho Chi Minh, but global business, the business of all laboring people. Attacking the enemy is also Ho Chi Minh‘s business, but equally global business, and the business of all laboring people. If you should die in battle there, then be buried there.“ In the future we‘ll establish a global committee and make plans on global unification. Then wherever grain is short, we will supply it as a gift. But this will be possible only when the opposing classes are eliminated. Now each of the two classes has its own plans. In the future we‘ll achieve the goal of from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs; there‘ll be no distinction between what‘s one‘s own and what‘s another‘s; and when we help a place in dire straits, we won‘t ask for even a single penny. We‘ve fought wars for so many years, so many people have died, yet no one asked for compensation for losses. Now construction is also a fierce battle; struggle desperately for a few years, and after these few years we will still have to struggle. But at least all this kills fewer people than fighting wars. We can‘t count time by the clock or, how could we be considered to have superior morality? Hopeh province has estimated that teenagers of 15 years could graduate from university after a further 15 years; with part-work, part-study, people‘s consciousness will be raised. Too great a reliance on material rewards, with high rewards and heavy punishments, won‘t do. We won‘t hand out any medals from now on. Officers should go down to the ranks to be ordinary soldiers; those who‘ve had no experience of being soldiers should have the experience; it‘s also good for those who have had the experience to do it again. Division and army commanders should go down to be under the command of squad leaders for three months, then come back to be division and army commanders again. There‘s a division commander in Yunnan province who spent a few months as an ordinary soldier, getting to understand the soldier‘s life and mentality. That‘s very good. Some say that cadres should participate in manual labor for two months a year; even one month would be fine. It‘s beneficial for us to be as one with the workers; our feelings will change, and this will influence some tens of millions of cadre children. Tsao Tsao‘s condemnation of Emperor Hsian of the Han as „born in the secluded courts, raised at the hands of ladies“ was justified.16 As long as everyone struggle hard with all their might, with all their effort, in three or five years, we‘ll have achieved something.
It won‘t do for the economic coordinating regions not to engage in politics; they must engage in some politics. In the past some people said that coordinating regions only do economic work, not politics. I think we still need politics-in-command; only when our thinking is unified can we run the economy well. Grasp planning with politics in command. To establish big communes, to have unified planning, to have priority construction projects, and to get rid of some branches and leaves, that‘s all politics.
3. THE SPEECH OF THE MORNING OF AUGUST 21ST, 1958
If priority projects can be guaranteed, next year XXX-XXX,000,000 tons of steel and XXX tens of thousands of machine tools can be produced; completion of these will be a victory. Therefore, we must struggle with all our mighy. We must stress this point once a week; since we still have over a dozen weeks left this year, it should be stressed over a dozen times. At the conference of Party secretaries for industry and on factory Party committees on the 24th of this month, we‘ll see whether there can be any certainty of fulfilling our targets. We‘ve given repeated injunctions that whoever refuses to hand over their iron will be disciplined. For those practicing dispersionism: first, warning; second, record a demerit; third, relief from duty while remaining in office; fourth, dismissal; fifth, probation within the Party; sixth, expulsion from the Party. Otherwise it will be disadvantageous to the fulfillment of the plan. I‘m afraid there‘s a danger of not fulfilling the plan of producing XXX,000,000 tons of steel. I asked Wang He-shou in June whether or not steel production could be doubled. It was I who brought up the subject; if the plan can‘t be realized, I will have to make a self-criticism. Some people don‘t understand that failure to produce XXX,000,000 tons of steel is a serious matter affecting the interests of the people of the entire country.
We must work hard, with all our might. In Shanghai over 100,000 tons of scrap steel were resmelted. We should retrieve scrap steel in a big way. Those railways that are temporarily of no economic value, such as the Ningpo and the Chiaotung lines, can be dismantled or moved to economically important places. First of all, we must guarantee production of metallurgical equipment, blast furnaces, open-hearth rolling mills, electrical machinery, major railways, priority engineering projects, lathes and cranes. We must make it clear to the cadres and the people that only by first guaranteeing a number of important tasks can be obtain 10,000 years of happiness. Every injustice has its perpetrator, every debt has its debtor; a province can have only one head: I‘d like to see whether you agree or not. If you agree, then permit no one to roam around uncontrolled. You can still make a few adjustments outside the State plan between various coordinating regions and between provinces. There are still 133 days, 19 weeks left in the year; pay special attention to it once every week, take good care of it.
Our people are very disciplined; this has impressed me profoundly. During my trip to Tientsin tens of thousands of people gathered around me, but at a single wave of my hand everybody dispersed. There are 29,000 households with a population of 130,000 in Hsiuwu county, Honan, and they have established a big commune with four levels: commune, wings, squadrons and action groups. Being big, communes are easy to manage and easy to incorporate into the general plan. With the concentration of labor force and land management, you acquire a different level of capability. When the crops double at the Autumn harvest, the masses will realize the advantages. We‘ve drawn water up hills from the Tiao River in Kansu province; the completion of such a large project is the result of the Party‘s directorship and the people‘s communist spirit. Why is the enthusiasm among the people so great? The reason is that we take little from the people; and unlike the Soviet Union, we don‘t use a system of obligatory sales. We are one Party with one „-ism“ and the masses support us. We have become one with the masses, and since the great rectification of 1942, of one heart. The Hungan experience is a good model.17
Our comrades must be made to understand that the theories of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin on the relations of prodcution consist of the interrelationships among three elements: the system of ownership, the interrelationships among the people, and distribution. They have heard about these ideas but have not begun to understand them. I don‘t think economic theory has clarified this properly. The Soviet Union, too, has failed to resolve this matter since the October Revolution. This interrelationship among the people when laboring is the important element in the relations of production. To stress relations of production and not stress human interrelationships is impossible. Equality among people will not automatically emerge following the transformation of ownership. If China fails to solve the relationship between people, the Great Leap Forward will be impossible.
After the transformation of the system of ownership, bourgeois right still exists, such as the system of ranks and the relationship between directors and the masses. Since rectification, the system of bourgeois right has been almost completely destroyed; directors no longer direct by virtue of their power and prestige or bureaucratic airs, but instead rely on serving the people, seeking benefits for the people and on persuasion. We should consider the question of eliminating the wage system and restoring the supply system. The army of the past had no salaries, no Sundays off, no eight-hour work system; superiors and subordinates were as one; officers and soldiers were as one; the army had bbecome one with the people, and thus we were able to mobilize tens of thousands of people. This communist spirit is very good. If human beings only live to eat, isn‘t that like dogs eating shit? What meaning is there to life if you don‘t help others a bit, or don‘t practice a bit of communism? If the wage system is eliminated, there will be, one, food to eat — nobody will die — two, physical health. When I was in Yenan I wasn‘t very healh, but once Hu Tsung-nan18 launched his attack, six of us — I, the Premier, Hu Chiao-mu19, Chiang Ching and so on — moved into a two-room cave dwelling and my health got better. In Hsipaipo20, too, I had only a small house. Since coming to Peking my housing has become better and better, but my health has deteriorated; I come down with the flu more often. Since the Great Leap Forward, my health has improved again. One night in three or four, I stay up all night. We should put into practice some of the ideals of utopian socialism. The life of protestant puritans was very hard. Sakyamuni who created buddhism was also a product of an oppressed people. The buddhist „Sutra of the Six Patriarchs“ of the Tang Dynasty records that the monk Huineng, from Hupeh, was illiterate but very knowledgeable; while doing his missionary work in Kwangtung, he affirmed the emptiness of everything. it was idealism through and though, but he highlighted the role of subjective activity, a great leap forward in the history of Chinese philosophy. Huineng dared to negate everything. Someone asked him: „Will we reach the Western Paradise after death or not?“ He replied: „Not necessarily so. If we all reached the Western Paradise, what about the Westerners?“ He lived in the period of Tang Tai-tsung; his theories prevailed during the time of Empress Wu Tse-tien. In the turbulent years at the end of the Tang Dynasty people had no spiritual sustenance, and his theories became very popular.
Marx‘s thinking on equality, democracy, persuasion and on the interrelationships among people, and becoming one with the masses have not been brought into full play. The people‘s relationship in labor is a relationship of equality and a relationship of becoming one with each other. The Soviet Union didn‘t do well on this point after the October Revolution. The old system of hierarchical rights was not completely destroyed; as a result mental labor is divorced from physical labor and education is divorced from production. Lenin once said the Soviet Union should abolish the standing army and instead should arm the people. As long as imperialism exists, there remains a need for a standing army. But the hierarchical system and the relatonship between officers and soldiers in the Soviet armed forces have been influenced somewhat by the tsarist period. The majority of Soviet Communist Party militants are cadres‘ children; ordinary workers and peasants are not admitted as Party militants. That‘s why we need to find our own road. We must thrust cadres‘ children in among the masses; they should not enjoy the advantage of being in a favored position. Our army officers should be like the division commander in Yunnan who served as a soldier for one month in the year; I think this is a good method. Perhaps we should extend this practice everywhere; then our army will be forever invincible.
Red Flag will publish the regulations of Chayashan Commune. Other places need not necessarily copy them; they may create various patterns. We should give this some good publicity. In their organization, big communes should integrate the natural environment, population and local education levels. Comrade Liu Tsi-hou21 in Hopeh got together ten or so people to promote the communist ideological work style, and they were all quite enthusiastic about it. You, too, should do this kind of promotion when you return to your posts. Since entering the cities, some have commented that we have a „rural work style“ or a „guerrilla work style“. This criticism is bourgeois ideology corroding us. We have cast aside some of our good things; the rural work style has become unpopular; cities demand regularization of procedures; government offices proliferate; and we have become distant from people. We should become one with the people, use persuasion and not coercion. This has been our tradition for years: How is it that now they have become problems? It is because we have become divorced from the masses and have become privileged. We have always advocated unity between superiors and subordinates, unity between officers and soldiers, unity between the army and the people, support the government and cherish the people, support the army and give preferential treatment to the families of revolutionary martyrs. The supply system was more equitable, clothing was more or less the same; but since entering the cities, this has changed. After going through the 1957 rectification, the masses said the 8th Route Army has again returned. Clearly it had earlier disappeared. It is precisely the cities should should carry out the „rural work style and guerrilla practices“. Chiang Kai-shek‘s ghost remains in the cities; the bourgeois stink is influencing us; and when we meet them face to face, we want to cut our hair, shave, assume a gentleman‘s air and put on a bourgeois style — really distasteful. Why shave? Isn‘t it good enough to shave and cut your hair four times a year? A secretary of the Hunan Provincial Party Committee, Chou Hui, says when he worked in a county, he could be one with the masses; when he worked in a prefecture Party committee, he could still be close to the masses; but in the three years since he‘s been on the provincial committee, it‘s been hard for him to find the cadres and the masses. Last year‘s rectification produced changes. In the past, millions of us steeled ourselves through class struggle into communist fighters supported by the masses. We practiced the supply system, led a communist life — this was a marxist style of work as opposed to a bourgeois style of work. In my view, the rural work style and guerrilla practices are, after all, better. In 22 years of war we were victorious: Why is it that building communism doesn‘t work? Why do we have to use a wage system? This is a concession to the bourgeoisie; we are allowing the rural work style and guerrilla practices to be used to belittle us, and the result is the development of individualism. The emphasis on persuasion and not coercion has also been forgotten. Should the cadres take the lead in restoring the supply system or not? In the old support bases of North China we conducted tunnel warfare, so all the cadres in the North have been steeled through war. Hopeh adopts militarization because it‘s used to this pattern. Many places in the South were not steeled through war, so the life style of cadres who grew up there is somewhat different. The cadres of the 25,000 miles Long March have even produced some bad eggs, for example, XXX and XXX. XXX is very backward in his consciousness, very secretive; it‘s hard to see what he‘s thinking. It seems that the Party‘s Control Commission hasn‘t been effective; even Kao Kang and Jao Shu-shih were not „controlled“. The commission merely checked on the „Chingsen No. 5“ rice in Honan and Hopeh. What really worked was the 1,400-person conference of the Military Affairs Commission22 this time.
We have already destroyed the system of bourgeois right to a great extent, but not thoroughly enough yet. We must continue working a bit. Don‘t immediately advocate the abolition of the wage system, but in the future it will be eliminated. We must stress the rural work style and guerrilla practices, participating in manual labor one month a year, and going down to the countryside in groups to do so. Lenin wrote an article on his visit to a worker‘s family on the eve of the October Revolution. The worker could find no bread; later he did and was very happy, saying: „This time I finally found some bread.“ Lenin only learned of the importance of bread from this. If our cadres participate in manual labor one month a year and become as one with the people, it will greatly influence their state of mind. This time we must restore our military tradition — the tradition of the Red Army, the 8th Route Army and the People‘s Liberation Army — the tradition of marxism; and we must get rid of bourgeois ideological work styles. We may be a bit „uncouth“, but our ways are genuine and most civilized. The bourgeoisie appear a bit more civilized, but in reality they‘re hypocritical and uncivilized. Restoring the supply system seems like „retrogression“, but „retrogression“ means progress, because we‘ve retrogressed since we came into the cities. Now we must resume our forward march and take the lead in getting the 600,000,000 people to adopt the communist work style.
The people‘s communes contain the sprouts of communism. When products are bountiful, we will implement communist distribution of grain, cotton and edible oils. By that time morality will have greatly improved. Labor will no longer require supervision; even if you want someone to rest, they won‘t. The Chianhua Machinery Plant practices the „Eight Proletarian Points“. In the people‘s communes, people practice cooperation in a big way, bringing their own tools and food. The workers beat drums and gongs and don‘t ask for piecerate wages. All of these are the sprouts of communism, and they destroy the system of bourgeois right. I hope everyone will publicize this way of looking at the problem, read the two relevant documents and publicize the actual situations in which there is increasing growth of the elements of communist morality.
In the past during the revolution numerous people died without asking anything in return. Why can‘t it be like that now? If we can eat without paying for it, this will be a tremendous change. Probably in about ten years our production will be very bountiful and the people‘s morality will be very noble; then we can practice communism in eating, clothing and housing. Eating without paying in public mess halls is communism. In the future everything will be called a commune. We won‘t say factories; for instance, Anshan Steel Mill will be called Anshan Commune. Cities and villages will be called communes, and universities and neighborhoods will establish communes. Townships will be integrated with communes, local government will be integrated with commune management; temporarily we put up two signs. Set up a „department of the interior“ (administrative section) in the people‘s communes to administer registry of bith and death, marriage, census and civil administration.
Some people ask: „Should there still be flexibility after centralization?“ Flexibility is still needed. Apart from the guarantee of XXX,000,000 tons of steel, flexibility is permitted. This is like fruit trees or cotton plants that need pruning, while others do not. Centralization is needed mainly in the production of steel and in machinery. Allocate XXX,000,000 yuan to stimulate production so that the vitality of the APCs will have something to aim at. XXX,000,000 tons of steel should be guaranteed for the State, leaving the remaining XXX,000,000 tons of steel to be used by the provinces, prefectures and counties at their discretion; if we can surpass the target a bit, all the better. Plans can‘t be completely accurate; it‘s impossible for everything to be planned ahead of time: Some things are difficult to anticipate; blindness is unavoidable; there may be a little chaos, but the achievements would be great, unprecedented. We didn‘t pay attention to this in the past; now the whole Party should manage it. The 1st secretaries should grasp industry in their right hands and agriculture in their left hands. Party committees at all levels should have several secretaries.
4. THE SPEECH OF THE AFTERNOON OF AUGUST 21ST, 1958
The problem of grain policy for 1959: Should our effort be greater than this year‘s or about the same? I believe the greater the effort we make, the better. Our effort next year should be still greater than this year. Don‘t worry about a bumper harvest containing the seeds of famine, don‘t diminish your efforts for fear of overproduction. But there should be a rhythm to production. At present, the intensity of labor is very high; the peasants must be allowed to have proper rest, two days a month, one day a fortnight. During the busy season, rest a little less; at other times, rest a little more. Those living relatively far away from the work site can eat and sleep there, so as to save on commuting time and have more rest. This point should be written in the documents but not be talked about too much.
There‘s plenty of grain, but edible oils are still insufficient. The production of grain, cotton and edible oils should all be increased, and the key is deep ploughing. This year most places didn‘t plough deeply, and close planting has also been insufficient. Of course, planting so closely that no air gets through is no good, either. Only by ploughing deeply can you plant closely, conserve water, store manure and kill insects.
(XXX interjected: „Close planting above 10,000,000 plants may fail, though 5,000,000 should pose no problem; large scale close planting will create experience.“)
Some of the problems in the theory of political economy and historical materialism should be written afresh. We‘ve solved a theoretical problem in marxism. First take care of agriculture, while at the same time taking care of heavy industry. The arguments Khrushchev had with Molotov were precisely over too much heavy industry. We take a road opposite to that of the Soviet Union: We first take care of agriculture in order to facilitate industrial development; we first take care of the green leaves, then the red flowers. What‘s wrong with this approach? It seems some questions need reinterpretation. Economic theory and historical materialism require new development and amplification. The three aspects of the relations of production, namely the system of ownership, the interrelationship among workers and distribution, all have yet to be brought into full play. The collective farms and handicraft cooperatives in the Soviet Union are still under collective ownership. Why haven‘t they introduced the system of ownership by the whole people? Ownership by the whole people means that things belong not just to the Center but to all the people. In the past, our system of ownership was expressed in the ownership of Wang He-shou and Chao Er-lu; this is the way of the Soviet Union. At present, we can‘t even manage 28 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions except to hold four conferences a year. We did even less in the past, merely issuing some directives and reporting on developments. Now 20% is controlled by the Center and 80% by the localities. Provinces should also decentralize power, even down to the individual enterprises which should also have prescribed jurisdiction and independence. The Shichingshan Steel Mill has responsibility for investment. It can raise production from 600,000 tons to 1,300,000 tons per year; in the second state it can produce 3,000,000 tons. What‘s the reason? Is there some trick to this? Think about it. It‘s simply that the initiative of the masses has come into play. When Wang He-shou was in charge it was actually the dictatorship of the planners. Here‘s a problem for you all to ponder. In my opinion this is a problem to do with the people and the motivations which are the same as in national independence movements. Activism in independent India is higher than it was under British rule; once there is independence, there is more activism. Of course, this has manifested itself in class struggle. In the neighborhoods, factories and people-run schools, progress has been made in a transformation from collective ownership to ownership by the whole people.
The problem of the struggle between flexibility and „inflexibility“. The struggle between „flexibility and inflexibility“ will exist 10,000 years from now; should we control „inflexibility“ or not? No inflexibility won‘t do; overly inflexible control won‘t do, either; and absolutely no inflexibility won‘t do. If the target for steel for 1959 is XXX tons, XXX tons of it must be inflexible and XXX tons is flexible; if the target is XXX tons, then something like XXX tons is flexible; if XXX tons is surpassed it can be allocated like edible oils; if you have more, eat more; less, then eat less. This is flexibility. Guaranteeing priority projects is what‘s inflexible; what‘s outside the priority projects and won‘t impede the priority projects is what‘s flexible. Implementing a responsibility system in a big way contains both inflexibility and flexibility; everybody should keep an eye on this. Inflexibility and flexibility are expressed in terms of centralization and decentralization; both are needed. The responsibility system is expressed in this unity of the contradiction between inflexibility and flexibility. This is the principle of centralizing power on major issues and decentralizing power on minor issues. After all, who‘s in charge of the Center? To what extent should we centralize power on major issues? Is it enough to have only a State Economic Construction Commission? Is it possible to establish both an Industrial Production Commission and a Basic Industrial Construction Commission? In the final analysis, „every injustice has its perpetrator“. Contracts and responsibility for tasks will give people something to strive for. We talk about the six points on discipline as a war of nerves, primarily meant to scare people, not to send them to jail; just as long as people don‘t break the law, that‘s fine.
The problem of the superstructure in historical materialism is the problem of political power; it‘s already been solved. The people‘s communes integrate government administration and commune management. Gradually political power will disappear there. Estimate one scoundrel for every few people in the people‘s communes and so dictatorship is exercised. Sentencing 1,300,000 criminals to remolding through labor from a population of 600,000,000 is not really very many. The army in the past said it was backward; but since they met in that conference, the interrelationships among their people have improved and a new atmosphere emerged. At the moment, the army is holding conferences everywhere; the Great Leap Forward in the army is starting; it can do all kinds of things. By taking 1/3 of its time to engage in politics, culture and manual labor, will the army‘s military training be affected? Not only will it not be affected, but it will be improved. Public Security and the courts are in the midst of rectification, too. This business of law, it won‘t do to be without it, but we have our own way — investigation and research settle problems on the spot and mainly through mediation — or is the way of Upright Judge Marx better? Since the Great Leap Forward, everyone‘s been engaged in production, blooming and contending in a big way, and freely writing big-character posters, so they haven‘t had time to break the law. In dealing with thieves it won‘t do not to rely on the masses.
„Liu Shao-chi interjects: „In the end do we rule by law or rule by people? Judgments are dependent on people; laws can function only as references in the conduct of business. If everyone acts according to the decisions of the Nanning Conference, the Chengtu Conference, the 2nd Session of the 8th National Party Congress and the Peitaiho Conference, then… The Meilin company in Shanghai practices two sets of laws; as soon as it‘s pu23blished in the newspapers, it will be adopted countrywide.“)
We can‘t rule the majority of the people by relying on law. The majority of people can be ruled only be relying on the cultivation of good habits. The army‘s reliance on rule by law didn‘t work; what‘s actually worked has been the 1,400-person conference. Who could remember so many clauses of a civil code or a criminal law? I participated in the formulation of the Constitution, even I can‘t remember it. Han Fei-tsi24 advocated rule by law; later the confucianists advocated rule by people. Each of our draft resolutions is law; holding conferences is law, too. Observing public security regulations is possible only when people have cultivated good habits. If this becomes public opinion and everyone becomes conscious of it, then communism is achievable. The great majority, some 90%, of our rules and regulations are created at the departmental and bureau level. Essentially we do not rely on these; mainly we rely on resolutions, holding conferences — four held annually — and not on a civil code or a criminal law to maintain social order. The National People‘s Congress and the State Council in conference have their ways, and we rely on our ways. This has to do with the superstructure.
The impact of ideology, world outlook, methodology, newspapers, culture and education is enormous. The more bourgeois freedom is destroyed, the more proletarian freedom there is. The Soviet Union didn‘t completely destroy bourgeois freedom, and consequently hasn‘t fully established proletarian freedom. Our revolution in politics and ideology has been relatively thorough: the cadres participate in production and become one with the masses, and rules and regulations have been thoroughly reformed. This is precisely the complete destruction of bourgeois freedom, and the enthusiasm of the workers has been soaring. These questions are touched upon ever so slightly in a few sentences in the text on political economy.
On the problem of distribution: Wage grades among Soviet cadres are too numerous and the gap between the cadres and the workers and peasants is too wide. The peasants are obliged to sell their grain, shouldering 48% of the burden of the State‘s economic investment, which has restricted agriculture from developing for 40 years. We only take 5-8% (aside from indirect obligation), thus storing wealth among the people. „With ample grain, how can army provisions be insufficient?“ When Khrushchev came to power he talked only of how much grain the State must have, but not of how much to produce. We are the ones who talk about production. People know that we are in the end doing so for them, so their enthusiasm is very high. Some say: „With a big country and a large population it‘s hard to get anything done.“ It depends on what methods you use. As long as the methods are right, even with an additional billion or more people, we can easily get things done. Our method is big contending and blooming, and the exercise of self-management. We obey the truth; if truth is on the side of the subordinates, then the superiors obey; if the soldiers are wiser than the officers, then the officers obey the soldiers; if students can compile textbook material better than the teachers, then the teachers obey the students. The compilation of teaching materials needs the „three-in-one“ combination of activist elements in the Party and among students and teachers. We must sort out the bourgeois monopoly in science, field by field, and achieve our own breakthrough. The director of the Research Institute on Traditional Medicine in the Academy of Sciences, Chao Cheng-ku, was able to extract herbs (from snake root grass) for treating high blood pressure, but all along he refused to tell others how. Young scientists refused to admit defeat, and after a few days of struggling, they got it as well. Therefore we should pay special attention to young scientists so as to isolate these professors. This is a fierce kind of struggle, so it may take a few years.
Now, on to the importance of ideology: Ideology is the reflection of objective reality. It concerns itself with the economic basis and serves that basis. Reform the system of rules and regulations. Holding conferences this making ideology; this Peitaiho Conference is making ideology. At least year‘s 3rd Plenum of the 8th Central Committee, this year‘s Nanning Conference, the Chentu Conference and the Party Congress, we put forward the slogan of doing away with superstition; it‘s had quite an impact. The Great Leap Forward was possible only because of this. Incorrect reflection of objective reality is very harmful. Eight-legged essays and the thoughts of Confucius have been passed down for thousands of years; there are people who‘d eat the shit and dirt the Dalai Lama offers — idiotic in the extreme. Chang Tao-ling had every worshipper donate five tou of rice; anyone donating five tou of rice could then eat for free. But the Celestial Master Chang, introduced to the people of Kiangsu, changed for the worse.25 There‘s a pattern in the consumption of grain: Both big and small eaters should eat three tan, six toua year. Let them eat to their heart‘s content. Hsueh Jen-kui26 ate one tou of rice every day, but this is rare. In running the public mess halls, we can let the people take food to eat at home. The provision of free meals can be gradually adopted. We won‘t decide on it for the time being. Whether or not we adopt it in 1959, we‘ll see next year, and also whether clothing can be free, too. Eating without payment may not have to wait until the 3rd Five-Year Plan. The dormitories for workers and staff should be arranged in proper proportions. Large dormitories are better than small houses. The vestiges of bourgeois right cannot be completely eradicated; therefore university professors can eat better than students. Honan cultivates 8,000,000,000 square meters of land and doubles its grain output. If Honan can do it, the whole country should do it.
Next year will be the 10th anniversary of the founding of our State. Should we propagandize this in a big way or in a small way? Since we‘lll be propagandizing for the Chinese people and to motivate them, we need not consider impressing foreign countries. Actually foreign countries will be affected. If we propagandize in a big way, should we invite foreigners or not? If yes, then how many should we invite?
When you return from this Conference, tell your comrades in the army, officers must serve as soldiers one month a year, beginning with a few officers. Once someone starts, others will want to do it. Once there‘s one October Revolution, the whole world wants to make revolution; once one APC produces 1,000 catties of grain per mou, the entire country will want to do the same. After all, does the minority obey the majority or the majority obey the minority? It‘s always been the majority obeying the minority, because the minority has always reflected the opinion of the majority. When you came to this Conference, wasn‘t it because of a notice from Teng Hsiao-ping? Isn‘t this the majority obeying the minority? Darwin‘s theory of evolution and Copernicus‘ theory of the Solar System were each created by a single individual; others all follows. Marx and Engels both reflected objective laws or the opinions of the majority. The formula for protein has not yet been discovered, but the 167 types of reactive dyes have. The world‘s first, marsh gas, is H4C; farts are H2S; gypsum is calcium sulphate. From this perspective, the opinion of the minority reflects the opinion of the majority.
Hsushui county in Hopeh province is working on militarization, combatization and disciplinization. These three slogans may or may not be raised. Organization need not necessarily conform to regiments, battalions, companies, platoons and squads; brigades, detachments and teams will also do. Actually it‘s a problem of labor organization and democratization. Imperialism has spread rumors about this development, but we‘re not afraid of it. Coercion and orders, of course, are not good, but a bit of coercion is also necessary. This is discipline. Your coming to Peitaiho for this Conference is a case in point. War communism in the Soviet Union was a system of collecting surplus grain. We‘ve had 22 years of military tradition and the supply system is our war communism. If we practice communism among our cadres, not including the common people, then they will be affected. Engels said that many things start in the army, and indeed they do. When we went from the cities to the countryside, we united with the semi-proletariat to form the Party and the Army. We ate from the same pot, no deference, no salaries. This was the communist supply system. Since coming into the cities, we‘ve acquired an inferiority complex. The old ways no longer worked. We want woolen garments, we want to shave and we want the cadres to become intellectualized. The salary system has negated the supply system. Garments are divided into three colors and grain into five grades, and we have followed the mass line insufficienly in the cities. From liberation until 1952 it was still alright. The years 1953-56 mainly reflected China‘s bourgeois ideology. The second problem has been our indiscriminate imitating of the Soviet Union. In the past we were compelled to have bourgeois advisors. We were unaware of the concept of bourgeois right. We have hundreds of millions of peasants, 7,000,000 industrial workers, over 20,000,000 cadres and teaching personnel. As the sea of the bourgeoisie has risen up to our chests, it has drowned some. Liu Shao-tang27 has become a Rightist, but Yao Wen-yuan is not bad, better than Liu Sha-ho28.
Once the Draft Resolution on the People‘s Communes is issued, every county must conduct tests at one or two selected points. It is not necessary to get them fully under way immediately. Neither do you have to start with regiments, battalions, companies, platoons and squads. But there must be directorship and we must proceed with the planning in a systematic manner. It won‘t do not to start now; that would be to commit an error. The increase in the size of private plots, livestock being raised mainly by private individuals, big cooperatives having to establish small cooperatives, and so on, were concessions to the rich peasants. It was alright to go through this stage; it was not an error of principle. In the conditions of that time such measures even had a certain positive significance. But now it has again been negated. One or two pigs may be raised by private individuals. The bigger the commune, the better. The characteristics of the people‘s communes are one, big, and two, public; most important is that many cooperatives combine into one big commune. The several commnets in Socialist Upsurge in China‘s Countryside said big cooperatives were good; mountain areas could establish big cooperatives, too, in order to develop a diversified economy and to ensure all-round development. However, establishing slightly small cooperatives to begin with also had its advantages. The youth and women are happy about the new wage system. The rationale of increasing private plots and so on were all proposed by the Party‘s Rural Work Department. As early as 1955 I recommended establishing big cooperatives. Establish 15-25,000 communes countrywide, averaging 5-6,000 households or 20-30,000 people per commune — rather large and convenient for running industry, agriculture, commerce, education and military affairs side by side, as well as farming, forestry, animal husbandry, sideline production and fisheries. With this way of doing things, I think in the future a few large cities will be dispersed; residential areas of 20-30,000 people will have everything; villages will become small cities where the majority of philosophers and scientists will be assigned. Every large commune will have highways constructed, wider roads of cement or asphalt, with no trees planted alongside so that airplanes can land — they will be airports. In the future, every province should have a couple of hundred airplanes, averaging two planes per township. Large provinces will set up their own factories for aircraft production.
Each area need not implement communization according to Hsushui county‘s methods. Each area should have the three slogans (militarization, combatization, disciplinization). The general regulations of Sputnik Commune will be published in Red Flag and in the main they can be followed; each area should use them as a reference in their own implementation.
5. THE SPEECH OF AUGUST 30TH, 1958
The people‘s communes have been set up as a result of the masses‘ initiative; it wasn‘t us who advocated it. We advocated uninterrupted revolution, eradicating superstition, liberating thought and daring to think, daring to speak and daring to act; and the masses have risen to the occasion. We did not anticipate this at the Nanning Conference, the Chengtu Conference or the 2nd Session of the 8th National Party Congress. The spontaneity of the masses has always been an element inherent in communism. First there was utopian socialism, classical materialism and dialectics; then came the summation of these theories by Marx and others. Our people‘s communes have been developed on the basis of the APCs; they‘ve not come into being from nowhere. We need to understand this clearly in order to systematize this question. The characteristics of the people‘s communes are one, big, and two, public. They have vast areas of land and abundant resources as well as a large population; they can combine industry, agriculture, commerce, education and military affairs, as well as farming, forestry, animal husbandry, sideline production and fisheries — being „big“ is terrific. With many people, there‘s lots of power. We say public because they contain more socialism than do the APCs, and they will gradually eradicate the vestiges of capitalism. For example, the eradication of private plots and private livestock rearing, the running of public mess halls, nurseries and tailoring groups so that all working women can be liberated. They will implement a wage system and agricultural factories in which every single man, woman, old person and youth receives their own wage, in contrast to the former system of distribution to the head of the household. Direct payment of wages is much welcomed by the youth and by women. This eradicates the patriarchal system and the system of bourgeois rights. Another advantage of communes being public is that labor efficiency can be raised higher than in APCs.
Currently there are 700,000 APCs countrywide. It would be best to establish big APCs of 10,000 people or 10,000 households. Honan advocates 2,500 households or so in each; that‘s alright, too. This is a new problem, but once you disseminate the news, explain the reasons, then perhaps in only a few months — through the Autumn, Winter and Spring — it could be accomplished, more or less. Of course, it will still require a transition period to achieve a wage system and free meals, perhaps a year; for some places perhaps three years. In our Draft Resolution there‘s a passage about it taking one to two or four to five years or even a big longer to make the transition form the system of collective ownership to the system of communist ownership — almost the same as in factories — that is, public ownership of all eating, clothing and housing. The Soviet Union still encourages the construction of houses by private individuals. We will eliminate private housing in the future.
The problem of making things green, of afforestation: beautification of the landscape, the cities and countryside — all should look like Chongshan Park or the Summer Palace. It‘s not good that Chongshan Park does not produce grain. China has just started its construction. We must think how the construction can be done more rationally and better. Some say: „In the cities, unlike in the countryside, factories take up too much land.“ In China there are three mou of land per person, but two mou would be sufficient for us. If the production per mou is raised in a few years, then 1/3 of the land can be used for planting trees, 1/3 for grain and 1/3 allowed to lie fallow. If the production per mou is 1,000 catties, as much as today‘s „satellites“, then one mou will equal 40 mou or 80-90 mou in output, so why then plant so much? Planting trees must be done in a planned way. Sowing the land must be planned. The French have made their streets, houses and boulevards very beautiful. If capitalism can do it, why can‘t we? We should do it in a more orderly manner. In an antithetical couplet praising the West Lake, Kang You-wei said: „I have not found gardens like this, touring the four continents.“ Actually, why tour the four continents? Once we start the greening process, you‘ll be able to tour the whole country — why must you visit the West Lake? In the West Lake the water is shallow; the trees aren‘t good either. Housing must be arranged well. It can‘t be done in a big way this year. We can make a start on a few this year, some next year. If we can produce XXX catties of grain per capita (perhaps XXX catties this year, double that next year), then we can go ahead with our plans for transforming places into parks, making things green, animal husbandry and housing, and so forth. I took a look in Hopeh and Honan to see what they meant by making things green. How can it be called afforestation without trees? True afforestation, I think, can only be carried out in a big way when we produce several thousand catties of grain per capita so that 1/3 of the land can be taken out for planting trees. Agriculture, forestry and animal husbandry are interrelated and interactive.
There are still many problems about the people‘s communes, as yet unknown, so that continued study is still needed. There is already a set of regulations; the „24 Articles“ of Honan‘s Sputnik Commune, its „constitution“. Once it is published, many will respond to the call throughout the country. Can the people‘s communes make the transition from collective ownership to ownership by the whole people in the next two or three years (next year and the year after)? As for implementing State ownership of land, the wage system and establishing agricultural factories, there‘s a document that says the transition to communism will starty from the 3rd Five-Year Plan; I added or the 4th or 5th Five-Year Plan. One document says next year will be the decisive year. This is well said. To double grain production again, to produce XXX to XXX tons of steel and to strive for XXX tons, that‘s a big battle. We still can‘t rest; the machines can‘t rest. There are still four months left in this year. I made a mistake: It would have been better to have paid attention to this matter a month earlier. I raised the subject on June 19th, but failed to suggest any concrete measures. Everyone went off to work on the plans. Their enthusiasm is worthy, but attention to production this year has slackened. I didn‘t do well; the responsibility is mine, not yours. From August 21st there were still 19 weeks or 133 days left in the year, not a day more, not a day less. Now another ten days have passed. It‘s quite dangerous. We must have emergency mobilization. I have doubts about whether we can fulfill our targets. I‘m a „tide-watcher“. Can we fulfill our targets by January 1st next year or not — I‘m up in the air about it. If we fail to fulfill our targets, then, one, the wrong subject was raised in the wrong way and, two, the work was not paid close enough attention to, and those were my mistakes. When the Ministry of the Metallurgical Industry estimated in its briefing report a production figure of 9,000,000 tons, i said: „Be quick about it! Double it — why procrastinate?“ I asked many people about producing 11,000,000 tons of steel; they all said it was possible, there was hope. The target for 1956 was even more solid but the actual increase in production was not much, only XXX catties of grain. Whether it‘s realistic or not to aim for 11,000,000 tons of steel this year, I have doubts. It only counts when we see it. „The work in iron and steel is not yet completed. Comrades should continue to exert themselves.“ Next year we‘ll produce XXX tons, increasing another XXX tons the year after; struggle hard for three years, that is, 1958-60, to obtain XXX tons — then the foundation will be laid. In a further two years, that is, by 1962, if we produce XXX to XXX tons of steel, then we‘d be close to XXX tons. How many tons of steel should we have for a population of 700,000,000? One ton per capita, I think; make it 700,000,000 tons. Grain production could be half the figure for steel; make it 3,500,000,000,000 catties. Grain production should be diversified, it shouldn‘t always be the good old sweet potato.
The first precondition for communism is plenty; the second is to have a communist spirit. Once an order is issued, everyone automatically goes to their work, idlers are few or none. Communism does not differentiate between superiors and subordinates. We have a 22 year history of war communism, with no salaries which is different from the Soviet Union. In the Soviet Union it‘s called the system of surplus grain collection. We didn‘t practice that. Ours was called the supply system, in which army and civilians, officers and soldiers are equal, and there‘s also „Democracy in the Three Great Spheres“. Originally we divided up the leftovers from the mess and had small subsidies. After we came into the cities, it was said that the supply system was backward, guerrillaism, a rural work style and that it couldn‘t boost initiative, nor stimulate progress. They wanted to establish a salary system. They endured for three years, and in 1952 the salary system was established. They said bourgeois ranks and rights and such were very fine and called our old supply system a backward method, a guerrilla practice that affected activism. In effect they turned the supply system into a system of bourgeois right, thereby promoting bourgeois ideology. Did initiating the 25,000 mile Long March, the Land Revolution and the War of Liberation rely on salaries? 2-3,000,000 people during the Anti-Japanese War, 4-5,000,000 during the War of Liberation lived a life of war communism, no Sundays off — didn‘t they all risk their lives? The Party, the administration, the Army, the civilians — numbering several million — all were together with the masses, supporting the administration and cherishing the people. The Party, the administration and the Army under a unified directorship had nothing „to spend“, but with unity between officers and soldiers and between the army and civilians, and the support for the administration and cherishing the people, we drove off the Japanese devils and defeated Chiang Kai-shek. Nor did we have anything „to spend“ when we fought the USA. Can it be said we did all this because we handed out salaries? Now we have something „to spend“, issuing salaries according to rank, dividing them into generals, field rank officers and junior officers; but some of them have not even been in battle. Whether or not they‘re any good has yet to be tested. The result is divorce from the masses; the soldiers don‘t cherish their officers, and the masses don‘t cherish their cadres. Because of this we‘re not much different from the Kuomintang: our garments are in three colors, our food is divided into five grades, even the desks and chairs of our offices are ranked; and so the workers and peasants don‘t like us, saying: „You‘re officials — Party officials, government officials, military officials, commercial officials“ — so many officials, how can there be no „-isms“? Too many bureaucratic airs, too little politics, so bureaucratism emerges. Since the Rectification Campaign we have been rectifying bureaucratic airs and putting politics in command. Since then the cases of competing for rank and scrambling for special treatment have not been many. I think we should get rid of this thing. The salary system does not have to be abolished immediately, because there are professors. But we should prepare for it in one or two years. Once the people‘s communes are established, this will force us gradually to abolish the salary system. Since we came into the cities, we have been under the influence of the bourgeoisie. When we launched a campaign, it was a really marxist practice and a democratic work style, but they branded us as using „rural work style“ and „guerrilla practices“. „Guerrilla practices“ are capitalists‘ words. It was probably during the period from 1953 to mid-1957 when they did things together with the bourgeoisie, local tyrants and evil gentry that they began to straighten their clothes, sit properly and study the bourgeois style — having haircuts and shaves, shaving three times a day — all learned from the same source. Just after Liberation, in 1950 and 1951 when we were performing Yangke29, we prevailed over the bourgeoisie. They dared not say anything. Later the Yangke became unpopular, it was said there was nothing to it. Mei Lan-fang appeared; the opera Yu Chou Feng30 prevailed over the Yangke, and shaving had to be done once every three days. What was truly marxist stuff became unpopular. Now it‘s back again: „rural work style“ and „guerrilla practice“ are marxist work styles. Thus, speak of equality, the equality between officers and soldiers and between the army and civilians, and no Sundays off; the common people say: „The old 8th Route Army has come back.“ They are seeing the 8th Route Army of the past again.
I asked Comrade Chen Po-ta to compile a book, Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin on Military Affairs. I have read one or two chapters. One of the quotations says that from ancient times many things started in the army. Our communism, as well, started in the Army. China‘s Party is a very special party. Through several decades of battle, it always practiced communism. During the eight years of the Anti-Japanese War and four years of the War of Self-Defense, the masses witnesses our hardships and supported us at the front. There were no wages; they brought their own food. In battle people died; even so they supported us the way they did. Some say that egalitarianism produces idlers. In the past 22 years, how many idlers have been produced? I haven‘t seen many idlers. Only grade-ism produces idlers. What are the reasons? Primarily, putting politics in command, class struggle, beating Japan, beating the reactionaries, sharing a common goal and suffering on behalf of the majority of the people. Now we struggle with imperialism abroad, and at home our main struggle is with nature. Our goals are also clear. We‘re now engaged in production and construction. Whom do our more than 10,000,000 cadres throughout the land serve? They serve the happiness of all the people, not just a few. Today, if one invents something, one is given 100 yuan, which in the end will produce laziness and strife, but not activism. Were the many creations and inventions of the past bought with money? Piece-rate wages are not a good system. I don‘t believe the adoption of the supply system will make people lazy, inventions fewer or activism lower. Because decades of experience prove otherwise. The sources of our problems are twofold: one is socialism, which has been borrowed from our older brother, the Soviet Union, and the second is capitalism, which is home born and bred.
In some places the people‘s commune has adopted a military organization with divisions, regiments, battalions and companies, and in other places they have not; but „Organize along military lines, work as if fighting a battle, live in a disciplined way“, this „Three Transformations“ slogan is very good. This is a great industrial army, capable of increasing production, improving life, providing rest; capable of learning; and capable of engaging in military democracy. It seems as soon as we talk of the military, we just exclude democracy, but democracy — namely „Democracy in the Three Main Spheres“ of military affairs, politics and economics — originated precisely in the military. In battle everyone helps each other. When officers oppress soldiers in our Army, it‘s a violation of our discipline, it‘s a disgrace. The „Three Transformations“ in the communes are very good. In the past few years we have learned this stuff, first from the bourgeoisie which is indigenous, second from the proletariat — our Soviet older brother. Luckily, it hasn‘t been too long, so the roots are not deep; revolution is still easy to make. Since the 1957 rectification, various kinds of rules and regulations have almost all been discarded, and much of the bourgeois stuff has been jettisoned. This time the Army is going to hold a conference to eliminate „spending“. We‘ve written a resolution on cadres participating in manual labor: the members of the Center must do a month a year; other cadres will need to do more, excluding the old and infirm. How can it be as little as a month when you plant an experimental field? A division commander in Yunnan went down to be an ordinary soldier in a company. I think many „commanders“ — army commanders, division commanders and so on — all ought to serve as soldiers for at least a month a year. In the first year, it‘d be best to do it for two months. They must obey the commands of squad leaders and platoon leaders. Every year you command the others for 11 months — why can‘t you let others command you for one month? Some were ordinary soldiers once, but have not been for many years. Now they should become soldiers again for a while. Civilian cadres should participate in manual labor for at least one month a year. During the construction of the Ming Tombs Reservoir, even many ministers participated in manual labor. Learn agriculture one year and industry another. Learning them in turn, one is bound to master these two skills. Militarizing the people‘s communes is not militarization in a bourgeois manner. There is discipline and democracy; the interrelationship is one between colleagues, persuasion rather than coercion. Manual labor needs strict discipline.
As the whole people begin to run industry, a certain amount of chaos has temporarily appeared, because the boundaries of authority are not yet clearly drawn. At this Conference, industry, agriculture, commerce, education and the Army have all been topics; but the priority is industry, the whole Party and the whole people running industry. From now on the provincial 1st secretaries will be enlisted in the field of industry. In the past we enlisted them in the field of agriculture; we used agriculture to repress industry, checked industry‘s king. Agriculture has taken off; it‘s on track, but not industry as yet. Industry must be the focus. Some say: „Sleep on the work sites and sleep beside the machines: Only that way will it get off the ground; it won‘t work if we do not sleep beside the machines.“ The three provinces in the North-East focused on industry in the past, but they have not done well in agriculture. The North-East should pay attention to industry, on the one hand, and pay attention to agriculture, on the other. Other provinces and autonomous regions must focus on industry. Next year is the year of the decisive battle and the most important thing is to direct industry, particularly steel and machinery. With steel and machinery, digging coal, producing electricity, everything will be easy. They are called „marshals“ for a reason. We must grasp this and actively, not inattentively. When we are tested in the future, it will be on this. The six rules of discipline are: first, warning; second, demerit; third, relief from duty while remaining in office; fourth, dismissal; fifth, probation within the Party; sixth, expulsion from the Party, but without imprisonment, as imprisonment wastes labor power. These rules are all a war of nerves, we can‘t do without them. They are penal in nature. Nine of our fingers stand for explaining, relying on politics and conscience; only one finger is for discipline. Marxism doesn‘t depend on punishments. Once you depend on punishments to get the job done, you commit errors. Our Party has consistently relied on persuasion, education as well as class struggle. For instance, XXX, XXX, Ku Da-tsun31, Sun Tsuo-pin32 and whatcha-ma-call-it Labalayefu33 in Sinkiang, in all only a few dozen people, such a small minority, just one finger of ten. If you can‘t persuade them, they deserve punishment. Exhort and warn them first; in emergency cases there could be summary dismissal. Pai Hua34 is a Rightist in the Army (but not counted among the Rightists); XXX is a local Rightist; Wang Ming is also a Rightist. Why elect Wang Ming to the Central Committee? Because he‘s a senior Party militant, he‘s worked for many years, we can‘t let him off the hook so easily. He must serve on the Central Committee. You don‘t want to serve, I want you to serve. Don‘t think everything will be alright if you don‘t serve as a member of the Central Committee. His modus operandi is to take sick whenever there is a conference. Letting him be a member has its benefits. It‘s also good for XXX to be a member. Either he changes or not, in which case sooner or later he‘ll be expelled from the Party. This is the relationship between persuasion and discipline.
The problem of life and death, not the „death“ of corpses, but inflexible and flexible control. It won‘t do not to have this kind of „death“ in this world. It is unacceptable for our steel target of 11,000,000 tons to be short a single ton. This is „inflexibility“. Next year‘s target of XXX to XXX tons: we should strive for XXX tons, of which XXX tons are „inflexible“ or „inflexible steel“. Beyond that, XXX to XXX tons are flexible, placed under the disposal of the localities. Some comrades fear there will be no flexibility. Complete flexibility won‘t work; there must be inflexibility as well as flexibility, unified planning and decentralized management. All levels should run industry, and all people should run industry. There are priorities; there are branches as well as leaves. Only when a tree has a main trunk can there be branches and leaves. Human beings rely on their backbone, they are vertebrates and superior animals. Dogs are superior animals quite capable of understanding human nature, but the only thing is that they don‘t understand marxism, they don‘t understand steel production — more or less like capitalists.
Our next conference will be held two-and-a-half months from now. We‘ll hold a small conference in mid-November in the South. It won‘t be as long as this one, because we still won‘t be able to summarize our work then. After October there will still be about a month‘s time before the next conference; there‘s still time to grasp matters.
I would like to ask that the book Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin on Communism (Stalin didn‘t do very well) be printed in every province and widely distributed for everyone to read. It‘s very enlightening, although there are still some inadequacies, because of the limitations imposed by conditions in the authors‘ times. They had little experience, so naturally their views are vague and inexplicit. Don‘t think the ancestors all fart fragrantly and fart no foul farts. When you talk about the future, there must inevitably be some vague spots. The Soviet Union has had 41 years of experience; we‘ve had 31 years. We should break free of superstition.
On eliminating the „Four Pests“: We can focus on this during the National Day holidays, the New Year and the Lunar New Year. The less we have of these „Four Pests“, the better for us; because these „Four Pests“ harm the people and directly affect the health of the people. We must wipe out various kinds of disease on a large scale. At one place in Hangchow, only one person took sick last year. The rate of attendance at work exceeded 90%. When the physicians have nothing to do, they can go till the fields and do research. The day China eliminates the „Four Pests“ we should hold a celebration. It should be recorded in history books. The capitalist States have not done it; those so-called civilized States still have many flies and mosquitoes.
1Li Fu-chun — Chairman of the State Planning Commission.
2Tan Chen-lin — Member of the Political Bureau who took charge of agriculture during the Great Leap Forward.
3Chen Cheng-len — Deputy Director of the State Council‘s 7th Office, which was in charge of agriculture and forestry, and Chairman of the National Water and Soil Conservation Commission.
4Li Pao-hua — Vice-Minister at the Ministry of Water Conservancy from the founding of the People‘s Republic of China and son of Li Ta-chao.
5Li Hsien-nien — Minister of Finance.
6Lu Ting-yi — Alternate member of the Political Bureau and director of the Central Committee‘s Propaganda Department. The article in question, „Education Must Be Combined with Productive Labor“, was published on 01.09.1958 in the Red Flag.
7The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the South-East Asian Treaty Organization and the defunct Central Treaty Organization.
8He Ying-chin — General who served as Chiang Kai-shek‘s Minister of War (1930-44). He was also chief-of-staff (1938-44) and subsequently army commander-in-chief (1944-46). In September 1945 he accepted the formal Japanese surrender in Nanking on behalf of the Kuomintang.
9Mu Kui-ying — A fictional heroine of the Northern Sung Dynasty, commanded troops in defeating invading Liao forces.
10Hua Mu-lan — A folk heroine, in male disguise took up arms in her father‘s place and fought brilliant battles.
11Sichow fortress — In Sichow county, Anhui province, was the site of the defeat of a female water demon.
12Chu Ying-tai — The main female character in a popular romance, which ends with her suicide.
13Wang He-shou — Minister of the Metallurgic Industry.
14Chao Er-lu — Minister of the 1st Ministry of Machine Building.
15Hsiao Yao Chin — The name of a Peking Opera.
16Tsao Tsao — A leading Han general who controlled North China as that dynasty disintegrated into three parts in the 3rd century A.D. This quotation comes from the Peking opera Hsiao Yao Chin.
17Hungan county in Hupeh province pioneered the experimental plot movement. Cadres transferred to the grass roots experimented with new methods of cultivation on small plots. This system was lauded for two reasons: it united cadres and masses and it aided output, thus being red and expert. The Central Committee had publicized and promoted the experimental plot system since February 1958.
18Hu Tsung-nan — A leading Kuomintang general. His forces captured Yenan on the 19th of March, 1947, after the communist forces had slipped out.
19Hu Chiao-mu — Chairman Mao‘s political secretary in Yenan.
20Hsipaipo — A Village in Pingshan county in the Chin-Cha-Chi Border Region in Southern Hopeh, where the 7th Central Committee held its 2nd Plenum in March 1949.
21Liu Tsi-hou — The recently appointed governor of Hopeh.
22This conference took place from the 27th of May to the 22nd of July, 1958.
23Han Fei-tsi — A leading philosopher of the legalist school of statecraft in the 3rd century B.C.
24Han Fei-tsi — A leading philosopher of the legalist school of statecraft in the 3rd century B.C.
25Chang Tao-ling — Also known as Chang Ling. A taoist priest in the 2nd century A.D. who founded the „Southern School“. He personified the transformation of ancient taoist principles and doctrine into a religion with a magic-making priesthood. Regarded as a miracle worker, he came to be called „Celestial Master“; but his custom of asking dues in rice also brought him the sobriquet „rice-thief“ and his teachings „The Way of the Five Pecks of Rice“.
26Hsueh Jen-kui — A general of the Tang Dynasty.
27Liu Shao-tang — A prominent young writer who was criticized when he opposed the Hundred Flowers Campaign.
28Liu Sha-ho — A Szechwanese poet purged in the Anti-Rightist Campaign.
29Yangke — Dramatized combinations of folk songs and peasant dances used by the Communist Party of China in Yenan in the 1940s.
30One of Mei Lan-fang‘s most popular Peking operas. In the act usually performed, there is much dancing.
31Ku Ta-tsun — Exposed as a Rightist at the 2nd Session of the 8th National Party Congress, but allowed to retain his Central Committee membership, partly as a result of Chairman Mao‘s intervention.
32Sun Tsuo-pin — A senior official in North-West China in the early 1950s who had been dismissed from the Party earlier in 1958 for promoting local nationalism.
33Labalayefu — Gibberish which sounds like a Uyghur name. Possible Sepollayev (Saifulayefu), Party secretary of the Sinkiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in 1956-58. He favored a decentralized State in the style of the USSR‘s council republics, instead of China‘s unified State.
34Pai Hua — A young writer in the General Political Department of the People‘s Liberation Army. Purged as a Rightist in 1957, but mitigated by the intervention of Marshal He Lung and General Hsiao Hua.