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Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


October 9, 1957

[Speech at the Enlarged Third Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.]

This conference has been a success. With the participation of comrades from the provincial and prefectural Party committees, such an enlarged plenary session of the Central Committee is in fact a conference of cadres from three levels and is good for clarifying policies, exchanging experience and achieving unity of will.

Perhaps it is necessary to convene this sort of conference once a year. For work is very complicated in a large country like ours. We did not call such a conference last year; we suffered in consequence and a Right deviation occurred. There had been a high tide the year before last, but last year saw a let-down. Of course we held the Eighth Congress last year and didn't have time. Next time such a conference is convened, a few secretaries of county Party committees and of district Party committees in some large cities may be included; for instance, it would be all right to have an additional hundred or so. I suggest every province should also convene an all-province conference of cadres from three or four levels, with some from the co-operatives, to thrash out problems. This is the first point.

Second, a few words about rectification. Be bold, thorough and resolute in letting people air their views and in making reforms. We must have this kind of resolve. Then, is it necessary to add a campaign against the Rightists, and a vigorous one at that? No, it isn't. Because the anti-Rightist campaign is on the right track and in some places has already ended. Now the stress should be on airing views and making reforms at the grass-roots levels, that is, at the three levels of county, district and township. In some departments at the central and the provincial and municipal levels, the airing of views should continue but the emphasis should be on reform.

In the course of this year the masses have created a form of making revolution, a form of waging mass struggle, namely, speaking out freely, airing views fully, holding great debates and writing big-character posters. Our revolution has now found a form well suited to its content. This form could not have emerged in the past. Since we were then engaged in fighting, in the five major movements [1] and the three great transformations,[2] it was impossible for this form of unhurried debate to come into being. It would have been impermissible to devote a whole year to unhurried debate, to presenting facts and reasoning things out. Now it can be done. We have found this form, a form suited to the content of the current struggle of the masses, to the content of the present class struggle and to the correct handling of contradictions among the people. Grasp this form and henceforward you will find things much easier to manage. Major and minor questions of right and wrong as well as problems in revolution and construction can be solved through airing views and holding debates, and more quickly. The Left should freely air views and hold debates not only with the middle but also openly with the Rightists and, in the villages, with the landlords and rich peasants. Not being afraid of "losing face", we have published in our newspapers such nonsense as "the Communist Party monopolizes everything", "the Communist Party should abdicate" and "get off your sedan-chair". We have just got "on" our "sedan-chair", and already the Rightists want us to get "off". Speaking out freely, airing views fully, holding great debates and writing big-character posters are the form best suited to arousing the initiative of the masses and enhancing their sense of responsibility.

Our Party has a democratic tradition. Without this tradition it would have been impossible to accept such free airing of views, great debates and big-character posters. During the rectification movement in Yenan people took notes, made self-criticisms and helped each other, seven or eight to a group, and this lasted for several months. All those I have met are grateful for that rectification, they say it was only then that they began to shed their subjectivism. In the days of the agrarian reform, we consulted the masses whenever problems arose in order to straighten out ideas. In our army units, company commanders would personally see to it that their men were properly covered at night and would have friendly chats with them on an equal footing. Forms of democracy abounded in the rectification movement in Yenan, in the agrarian reform, in the democratic life of the army units, in the Three Check-ups and Three Improvements,[3] and later on in the struggles against the "three evils" and the "five evils", and in the ideological remoulding of intellectuals. But the free airing of views and the holding of great debates, to be followed by consultation and persuasion in the nature of "a gentle breeze and a mild rain" -- it is only now that all this can come about. We have found this form which will immensely benefit our cause and make it easier for us to overcome subjectivism, bureaucracy and commandism (by commandism we mean striking or cursing people or forcing them to carry out orders) and for leading cadres to become one with the masses.

This year has seen a great development in our democratic tradition, and this form of speaking out freely, airing views fully, holding great debates and writing big-character posters should be handed down to future generations. It brings socialist democracy into full play. Democracy of this kind is possible only in socialist countries, not in capitalist countries. On the basis of such democracy, centralism is not weakened but further strengthened, as is the dictatorship of the proletariat. For the proletariat must rely on its broad allies to exercise dictatorship, it cannot do so all by itself. The proletariat in China is small in number, some ten million only, and it must rely on the several hundred million poor and lower-middle peasants, city poor, badly-off handicraftsmen and revolutionary intellectuals in order to exercise dictatorship --otherwise it cannot. Now that we have aroused their enthusiasm, the dictatorship of the proletariat is being consolidated.

Third, agriculture. The forty-article Programme for Agricultural Development has been revised and will soon be issued. Comrades, please do a good job of organizing debates and discussions on it in the villages. I have asked some comrades whether prefectures should draw up agricultural plans. They said yes. Should districts do likewise? Again the answer was yes. What about the townships? Yet again they said yes. And the co-operatives too should draw up such plans. Then there will be six levels in all, provincial, prefectural, county, district, township and co-operative. Please take heed and lose no time in drawing up these agricultural plans. A plan and a programme are one and the same thing, and since we have been in the habit of using the word plan, let's call it that. We must persist in making comprehensive plans, giving more effective leadership, having Party secretaries pitch in and having all Party members help run the co-operatives. Apparently not all Party members helped run the co-operatives in the second half of last year and Party secretaries rarely pitched in. This year we must persist in doing what we had done before.

When will the plans be ready? I've asked some comrades and learned that they are ready in some places and not quite in others. With stress now being laid on the three levels of province, prefecture and county, can their plans be ready this winter or next spring? If not, they must at all events be ready in the coming year, and at all six levels. For we have had several years of experience and the forty-article National Programme for Agricultural Development is almost ready. This programme and the plans at the provincial and other levels should all be discussed in the villages. But since it would be too much to discuss all seven plans at the same time, it is preferable to stagger the airing of views and debates by the masses. Here we are talking about long-term plans. What should be done if a plan turns out to be unsuitable? It will have to be revised after we've had a few more years of experience. For instance, the forty articles will need further revision in a few years. This is inevitable. I think they will probably need a minor revision every three years and a major one every Eve years. It is always better to have some plan than none. The programme covers a period of twelve years, and now two years have passed, leaving only ten; unless we grasp the matter firmly, there will be the danger of failing to fulfil the targets set in the forty articles for the yields of grain per mou for the three different regions, namely, four, five and eight hundred catties. Grasp the matter firmly and these targets can be fulfilled.

In my opinion, China must depend on intensive cultivation to feed itself. One day China will become the world's number one high-yield country. Some of our counties are already producing one thousand catties per mou. Will it be possible to reach two thousand catties per mou in half a century? In future will it be possible for the region north of the Yellow River to produce eight hundred catties per moo, that north of the Huai River one thousand catties and that south of it two thousand? There are still a few decades left before these targets are reached at the beginning of the 21st century, or maybe it won't take that long. We depend on intensive cultivation to feed ourselves, and even with a fairly large population we still have enough food. I think an average of three mou of land per person is more than enough and in future less than one mou will yield enough grain to feed one individual. Of course birth control will still be necessary, and I am not encouraging more births.

Please investigate how much grain the peasants actually consume. We must encourage diligence and thrift in running the household and economy in the use of grain so as to have reserves. When the state has a reserve and each co-operative and family has one too, we shall be quite well off with these three kinds of reserves. Otherwise, if all the grain is eaten up, what prosperity will there be to speak of ?

This year there should be a little more accumulation wherever a good harvest has been reaped or natural disasters have not occurred. It is most necessary to make up for possible shortages with surpluses. In co-operatives in some provinces, in addition to the accumulation fund (5 per cent), the public welfare fund (5 per cent) and management expenses, production costs account for 20 per cent of the total value of output and capital construction expenditures in turn account for 20 per cent of production costs. I discussed the matter with comrades from other provinces, who said these capital construction expenditures were probably a bit too high. What I am saying today is to be taken as suggestions, which you may carry out if feasible, otherwise not. Moreover, it is not necessary for all provinces and counties to act in exactly the same way, and I leave the matter to you for consideration. The management expenses of co-operatives in some places have so far assumed too large a proportion and should therefore be reduced to 1 per cent. They consist of allowances to cadres of co-operatives plus administrative expenses. They should be cut and capital expenditures on farmlands increased.

The Chinese people should have high aspirations. We should teach everyone in the cities and villages of the country to have lofty aims and high aspirations. To indulge in eating and drinking, to eat and drink everything up, can this be considered a high aspiration? No, it can't. We should be diligent and thrifty in running our households and should make long-term plans. When people wear red or white, that is, at weddings or funerals, the practice of giving lavish feasts can well be dispensed with. We should practice economy in these matters and avoid extravagance. This is a matter of changing old customs. To this end it is necessary to argue things out through airing views in a big way, or maybe in a small way. Then there is gambling. In the past it was impossible to ban this practice, which can be changed only through the free airing of views and debate. In my opinion, changing old customs should also be included in the plans to be drawn up.

Then there is the question of eliminating the four pests and paying attention to hygiene. I'm very keen on wiping out the four pests, rats, sparrows, flies and mosquitoes. As there are only ten years left, can't we make some preparations and carry out propaganda this year and set about the work next spring? Because that is just the time when flies emerge. I still think that we should wipe out these pests and that the whole nation should pay particular attention to hygiene. This is a question of civilization, the level of which should be significantly raised. There should be an emulation drive; every possible effort must be made to wipe out these pests and everyone should pay attention to hygiene. Progress is liable to be uneven in different provinces and counties, anyway let's see who is champion. China should become a country of "four without's", without rats, without sparrows, without flies and without mosquitoes.

There should also be a ten-year programme for family planning. However, it should not be promoted in the minority nationality areas or in sparsely populated regions. Even in densely populated regions it is necessary to try it out in selected places and then spread it step by step until family planning gradually becomes universal. Family planning requires open education, which simply means airing views freely and holding great debates. As far as procreation is concerned, the human race has been in a state of total anarchy and has failed to exercise control. The complete realization of family planning in the future will be out of the question without the weight of society as a whole behind it, that is, without general consent and joint effort.

There is also the question of comprehensive planning. I've just talked about agricultural plans, but there are also plans for industry, commerce, culture and education. It is absolutely necessary to make a comprehensive plan which brings industry, agriculture, commerce, culture and education together and co-ordinates them.

The cultivation of experimental plots is an experience worth spreading everywhere. The leading cadres of counties, districts, townships and co-operatives should each cultivate a small plot and experiment to see if a high yield can be reached and what methods serve that end.

We must get to know farming techniques. It is no longer possible to engage in agricultural work without acquiring these techniques. Politics and the professions form a unity of opposites, in which politics is predominant and primary, and while we must fight against the tendency to ignore politics, it won't do to confine oneself to politics and have no technical or professional knowledge. Whatever line our comrades are in, whether it is industry, agriculture, commerce, or culture and education, they should all acquire some technical and professional knowledge. I think a ten-year plan should also be made here. Our cadres in all trades and professions should strive to be proficient in technical and professional work, turn themselves into experts and become both red and expert. It is wrong to talk about becoming expert before becoming red, which is tantamount to being white before being red. For in fact those who talk thus intend to remain white to the end, and becoming red later is just empty talk. Nowadays some cadres are no longer red since they have succumbed to rich peasant thinking. Some people are white, like the Rightists in the Party who are politically white and technically inexpert. Others are grey and still others pinkish. It is the Left who are really red, blazing red, like the colour of our five-star red flag. But being red alone won't do, one should have professional and technical knowledge as well. At present many cadres are only red but not expert and lack professional or technical knowledge. The Rightists say that we don't have the ability to lead, that "laymen cannot lead experts". We rebut them by asserting that we can. When we assert we can, we mean that politically we can. As for technical knowledge, we still have a lot to learn, and we will certainly be able to learn it.

The proletariat cannot build socialism without its own vast contingent of technicians and theoretical workers. We should form a contingent of proletarian intellectuals within the next ten years (the plans for the development of science also cover twelve years, and there are still ten years left). Our Party members and non-Party activists should all strive to become proletarian intellectuals. Plans for training proletarian intellectuals should be worked out at all levels, particularly at the three levels of province, prefecture and county, or else time will have passed with no such people trained. An old Chinese saying goes, "It takes ten years to grow trees but a hundred years to rear people." Let's subtract ninety from the hundred years and rear people in ten. It's not true that it takes ten years to grow trees, since it takes twenty-five years in the south and even longer in the north. But it is quite possible to bring up people in ten years. We have had eight years and if we add ten, we will have had eighteen years; it can be expected that by then a contingent of working-class experts with Marxist ideology will have basically been formed. After that for another ten years the task will be to enlarge this contingent and raise its level.

Talking about the relationship between agriculture and industry, we should of course concentrate on heavy industry and give priority to its development; this is a principle about which there can be no question or wavering. But with this pre-condition, we must develop industry and agriculture simultaneously and build up a modern industry and modern agriculture step by step. We often talk about making China an industrial country, which actually involves the modernization of agriculture. The stress of our propaganda should now be on agriculture. Comrade Teng Hsiao-ping has also spoken about this.

Fourth, concerning the two methods. There are at least two methods of doing things, one producing slower and poorer results and the other faster and better ones. Here both speed and quality are involved. Don't consider just one method, always consider at least two. Take railway building for example. There should be several plans, so that out of several routes one can be chosen. There can be several, and at least two, methods for comparison. For instance, should views be aired in a big way or in a small way? Should there be big-character posters or not? Which of the two is better? Questions of this sort are legion, but somehow no free airing of views has been allowed. None of the authorities in the thirty-four institutions of higher education in Peking have allowed this, or allowed it readily and unhesitatingly. For them this is a matter of drawing the fire upon themselves! To make them let people air views freely calls for plenty of persuasion and, what is more, considerable pressure, that is, issuing an open call and holding many meetings, so that they kind themselves checkmated and "driven to join the Liangshan Mountain rebels".[4] When we made revolution in the past, diverse opinions arose in the Party with regard to this or that method and this or that policy, but in the end as we adopted the policy best suited to the prevailing conditions, greater progress was made in the periods of the War of Resistance Against Japan and the War of Liberation than in the preceding periods. Likewise there can be this or that policy for construction, and here too we should adopt the policy best suited to the actual conditions.

The Soviet experience in construction is fairly complete. By complete I mean it includes the making of mistakes. No experience can be considered complete unless it includes the making of mistakes. To learn from the Soviet Union does not mean to copy everything mechanically, which is exactly what dogmatism does. It was after we had criticized dogmatism that we encouraged people to learn from the Soviet Union, and so there was no danger. Since the rectification movement in Yenan and the Seventh Congress, we have stressed learning from the Soviet Union, which has not only done us no harm but has proved beneficial. In revolution, we are experienced. In construction, we have just begun and have had only eight years of experience. In our construction the achievements are primary, but we are not free from mistakes. We shall still make mistakes in the future, but we hope fewer. Learning from the Soviet Union must include studying its mistakes. Having studied them, we need make fewer detours. Can't we avoid the Soviet Union's detours and do things faster and better? We should of course strive for this. In steel production for instance, can't we reach 20,000,000 tonsin a period of three five-year plans or a bit longer? We can, if we make the effort. For this purpose we shall have to set up more small steel plants. I think we should run more steel plants that turn out 30,000 to 50,000 or 70,000 to 80,000 tons annually because they are very useful. It is also necessary to set up medium-sized plants with an annual capacity of 300,000 or 400,000 tons.

Fifth, several things were swept away last year. One was the principle of doing things with greater, faster, better and more economical results. The demand for greater and faster results was dropped, and with it the demand for better and more economical results was swept away, too. No one, I think, objects to doing things better and more economically; it is just doing things with greater and faster results that people don't like and some comrades label "rash". As a matter of fact "better" and "more economical" are meant to restrict "greater" and "faster". "Better" means better in quality, "more economical" means spending less money, "greater" means doing more things, and "faster" also means doing more things. This slogan is self-restricting, since it calls for better and more economical results, that is, for better quality and lower cost, which precludes greater and faster results that are unrealistic. I am glad that a couple of comrades have spoken on this question at the present session. Besides, I've read an article on it in the newspaper. Our demand for greater, faster, better and more economical results is realistic, in conformity with the actual conditions and not subjectivist. We must always do our utmost to achieve greater and faster results; what we oppose is only the subjectivist demand for greater and faster results. In the second half of last year, a gust of wind swept away this slogan, which I want to restore. Is this possible? Please consider the matter.

The forty-article Programme for Agricultural Development was also swept away. These forty articles went out of vogue last year but are now staging a "come-back".

Committees for promoting progress were swept away, too. I once raised this question: Are the Central Committee of the Communist Party, the Party committees at all levels, the State Council and the people's councils at all levels -- in short, the multitude of "committees" among which the Party committees are primary -- are all these committees intrinsically for promoting progress or for promoting retrogression? They ought to be committees for promoting progress. To my mind, the Kuomintang is a committee for promoting retrogression and the Communist Party a committee for promoting progress. Can't we now restore those committees for promoting progress which were swept away by last year's gust of wind? If you all speak against their restoration and are bent on organizing committees for promoting retrogression, then, with so many of you for retrogression there is nothing I can do about it. However, judging from the present session, everyone wants to promote progress and there hasn't been a single speech in favour of retrogression. It was the Rightist Chang-Lo alliance that wanted us to go backward. In those cases where things are really moving too fast and beyond proper bounds, temporary and partial retrogression is permissible, that is to say, we have to take a step backward or slow down a step. But our general policy is always to promote progress.

Sixth, the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, between the socialist road and the capitalist road, is undoubtedly the principal contradiction in contemporary Chinese society. Our present task is different from that in the past. Previously the principal task for the proletariat was to lead the masses in struggles against imperialism and feudalism, a task that has already been accomplished. What then is the principal contradiction now? We are now carrying on the socialist revolution, the spearhead of which is directed against the bourgeoisie, and at the same time this revolution aims at transforming the system of individual production, that is, bringing about co-operation; consequently the principal contradiction is between socialism and capitalism, between collectivism and individualism, or in a nutshell between the socialist road and the capitalist road. The resolution of the Eighth Congress makes no mention of this question. It contains a passage which speaks of the principal contradiction as being that between the advanced socialist system and the backward social productive forces. This formulation is incorrect. At the Second Plenary Session of the Seventh Central Committee we stated that after nation-wide victory the principal contradiction would be, internally, that between the working class and the bourgeoisie and, externally, that between China and imperialism. Though we made no public reference to this statement after the session, we have been acting on it ever since, because our revolution has developed into the socialist revolution and that is what we have been engaged in. The three great transformations constitute a socialist revolution, a revolution mainly in the ownership of the means of production; they have been basically accomplished. They have all been sharp class struggles.

In the second half of last year there was a slackening in class struggle, a slackening that was brought about deliberately. But once we allowed it, the bourgeoisie, the bourgeois intellectuals, the landlords, the rich peasants and part of the well-to-do middle peasants started the attack on us. That was what happened this year. We allowed the slackening and they started the attack--that suited us fine, we gained the initiative. As an editorial in the People's Daily puts it, "The tree may prefer calm, but the wind will not subside." [5] They wanted to raise a gale, a typhoon of some force! Well then, we started building a "shelter belt". This was the anti-Rightist struggle, the rectification movement.

Rectification consists of two tasks: one is to fight against the Rightists, including the fight against bourgeois ideology, and the other is to carry out reforms, which also entails a struggle between the two lines. Subjectivism, bureaucracy and sectarianism are all bourgeois phenomena whose presence in our Party should be blamed on the bourgeoisie. Will it still be possible to blame it on the bourgeoisie a century or two hence? That would be rather difficult, I'm afraid. Will there still be bureaucracy and subjectivism then? Yes, there will, but the blame will be placed on backwardness. In society there will always be the Left, the middle and the Right, and there will always be the advanced, the middling and the backward. By that time, if you are guilty of bureaucracy and subjectivism, you will be backward.

The rectification movement will go on till May 1 next year, there is that much time for it. Is there going to be a slackening again after May I? I think yes. Can such a slackening be called a Right deviation? I think not. Take a meeting for example. If it goes on and on, night and day for six months on end, I'm afraid many people will simply disappear. Therefore we should do our work according to circumstances, now speeding it up, now slowing it down. Last year we scored such a big victory that the capitalists beat drums and struck gongs to show their allegiance; if we hadn't allowed a slackening, we would have found it hard to justify ourselves, as there was no adequate excuse. We have said that the problem of ownership is solved basically but not completely. Class struggle has not died out. Hence slackening is not a concession in principle but is called for by the circumstances.

I think that the rectification should go on till May 1 next year and that it should stop in the latter half of the year. We shall see then whether there is any need for another rectification or another debate in the countryside and shall discuss the matter next year. Anyway, there must be another rectification the year after next. If we do not launch one then, or worse still, for several years, the old and new Rightists and the ones currently emerging will, start wriggling again; besides, some elements to the right of centre, some middle elements and even some on the Left are liable to change. There are some queer characters in the world whose Right deviationist sentiments will surface and who will come forward with unwholesome comments and Rightist observations if you slacken for any length of time. It is also necessary to carry out constant education in our army units on the Three Main Rules of Discipline and the Eight Points for Attention. If you suspend it for a few months, morale will slacken. Morale should be boosted several times a year. Education should be conducted among the new recruits. Even the ideology of veterans and senior cadres would change without rectification.

A word in passing about our differences with the Soviet Union. First of all, there is a contradiction between us and Khrushchov on the question of Stalin. He has drawn such a black picture of Stalin, and we do not agree with him. He has made Stalin so terribly ugly! This then is no longer a matter that concerns his country alone, it concerns all countries. We have put Stalin's portrait up in Tien An Men Square. This accords with the wishes of the working people the world over and indicates our fundamental differences with Khrushchov. As for Stalin himself, you should at least give him a 70-30 evaluation, 70 for his achievements and 30 for his mistakes. This may not be entirely accurate, for his mistakes may be only 20 or even 10, or perhaps somewhat more than 30. All things considered, Stalin's achievements are primary and his shortcomings and mistakes are secondary. On this point we take a view different from Khrushchov's.

Next, we also disagree with Khrushchov and his associates on the question of peaceful transition. We maintain that the proletarian party of any country should be prepared for two possibilities, one for peace and the other for war. In the first case, the Communist Party demands peaceful transition from the ruling class, following Lenin in the slogan he advanced during the period between the February and October Revolutions. Similarly we made a proposal to Chiang Kai-shek for the negotiation of peace. This is a defensive slogan against the bourgeoisie, against the enemy, showing that we want peace, not war, and it will help us win over the masses. It is a slogan that will give us the initiative, it is a tactical slogan. However, the bourgeoisie will never hand over state power of their own accord, but will resort to violence. Then there is the second possibility. If they want to fight and they fire the first shot, we cannot but fight back. To seize state power by armed force -- this is a strategic slogan. If you insist on peaceful transition, there won't be any difference between you and the socialist parties. The Japanese Socialist Party is just like that, it is prepared for only one possibility, that is, it will never use violence. The same is true of all the socialist parties of the world. Generally speaking, the political parties of the proletariat had better be prepared for two possibilities: one, a gentleman uses his tongue, not his fists, but two, if a bastard uses his fists, I'll use mine. Putting the matter this way takes care of both possibilities and leaves no loophole. It won't do otherwise. Now the Communist Parties in a number of countries, the British Communist Party for example, only advance the slogan of peaceful transition. We talked this over with the leader of the British Party but couldn't get anywhere. Naturally they may well feel proud, for as their leader queried, "How can Khrushchov claim to have introduced peaceful transition? I advanced it long before he did!"

Besides, the Soviet comrades do not understand our policy of letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend. What we want is to have a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend within the framework of socialism, within the ranks of the people and with the exclusion of counter-revolutionaries. Of course, realignment may take place among the people themselves, a section of whom may turn into our enemies. Take the Rightists for instance. In the past they were among the people, but now it seems to me that they are one-third people and two-thirds counter-revolutionary. Shall we deprive them of the right to vote? On the whole, it is preferable not to do so, except for those few who are to be punished by law or reformed through labour. Some of them may even be allowed to sit on the National Committee of the Political Consultative Conference, because anyway it is all right for the committee to have about a thousand people. In appearance the Rightists are still in the ranks of the people, but in reality they are our enemies. We openly declare that they are our enemies and that the contradiction between us and them is one between the people and the enemy, because they are against socialism, against the leadership of the Communist Party and against the dictatorship of the proletariat. In short, their words and deeds do not conform to the six criteria! [6] They are poisonous weeds. A few poisonous weeds will always crop up among the people, no matter when.

Lastly, we should bestir ourselves and make arduous efforts in our study. Mark these three words, "make", "arduous" and "efforts". We must bestir ourselves and make arduous efforts. Now many of our comrades do not make arduous efforts, and some comrades devote their surplus energy after work chiefly to playing cards and mahjong and to dancing, and this I think is bad. We should devote our surplus energy after work chiefly to study and should make study a habit. What then should we study? For one thing, we should study Marxism-Leninism, for another, technology and for a third, natural science. Besides, there is literature, and especially the theories of literature, which leading cadres must know something about. They should also have some knowledge of journalism and education. In short, there is a very wide range of knowledge, of which we should get some general understanding. For we are supposed to exercise leadership over these matters! What kind of specialists can people like us be called? We can be called political specialists. How can we carry on without knowing about these matters and exercising leadership over them? All provinces have their own newspapers, which were neglected in the past, and their own literary and art journals and organizations, which were also neglected, as were the united front and the democratic parties, and as was education. All these things were neglected, and so it was precisely in these fields that rebellion erupted. But once these things were attended to, the whole situation changed within a few months. Lo Lung-chi asked, how could little proletarian intellectuals lead big petty-bourgeois intellectuals? He was wrong there. He says he is petty bourgeois but actually he is bourgeois. The "little intellectuals" of the proletariat will do precisely that -- exercise leadership over the big bourgeois intellectuals. The proletariat has had a group of intellectuals in its service, the first of whom was Marx, then there were Angels, Lenin and Stalin, and now there are people like us and many others. The proletariat is the most advanced class, it will lead the revolution all over the world.


1. The five major movements were the agrarian reform, the movement to resist U. S. aggression and aid Korea, the elimination of counter-revolutionaries, the movement against the "three evils" and the "five evils", and the ideological remoulding.

2. This refers to the socialist transformation of agriculture, handicrafts and capitalist industry and commerce.

3. "The Democratic Movement in the Army", Note I, Selected Works of Mao Tsetung, Vol. IV.

4. Liangshan Mountain in Shantung Province was a rebel peasant base in the Sung Dynasty. Most of the rebel leaders in the classical novel Water Margin were forced to take refuge on Liangshan Mountain as a result of oppression by the authorities or despotic landlords. The expression "driven to join the Liangshan Mountain rebels" has since come to mean that one is forced to do something under pressure.

5. Han Ying (Western Han Dynasty), Commentary on the Book of Songs, Chapter 9.

6. See page 412 above.

Transcription by the Maoist Documentation Project.
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Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung