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Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung

Contradictions Under Socialism

April 5, 1956

[Extracted from an editorial in the People's Daily of 5 April 1956 entitled 'On the Historical Experience of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat'.]

Some naive ideas seem to suggest that contradictions no longer exist in a socialist society. To deny the existence of contradictions is to deny dialectics. The contradictions in various societies differ in character as do forms of their solution but society at all times develops through continual contradictions. Socialist society also develops through contradictions between the productive forces and the conditions of production. In a socialist or communist society, technical innovations and improvement in the social system inevitably continue to take place; otherwise the development of society would come to a standstill and society could no longer advance. Humanity is still in its youth. The road it has yet to t ravcrse will be no one knows how many times longer than the the road it has already travelled. Contradictions between progress and conservatism between the advanced and the backward, between the positive and the negative will constantly occur under varying conditions and different circumstances. Things will keep on like this: One contradiction will lead to another, and when old contradictions are solved new ones will arise. It is obviously incorrect to maintain as some people do, that the contradiction between idealism and materialism can be eliminated in a socialist or communist society. As long as contradictions exist between the subjective and the objective between the advanced and the backward and between the productive forces and the conditions of production, the contradiction between materialism and idealism will continue in a socialist or communist society and will manifest itself in various forms. Since man lives in society he reflects in different circumstances and to varying degrees the contradictions existing in each form of society. Therefore not everybody will be perfect, even when a communist society is established. By then there will still be contradictions among the people, and there will still be good people and bad people, people whose thinking is relatively correct and others whose thinking is relatively incorrect. Hence there will still be struggle between people though its nature and form will be different from those in class societies. Viewed in this light the existence of contradictions between the individual and the collective in a socialist society is nothing strange...

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung