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Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung

Speeches At The Second Session
Of The Eighth Party Congress

May 8-23, 1958

[SOURCE: ’Long Live Mao Zedong Thought,’ a Red Guard Publication.]

The First Speech May 8, 1958

Let us discuss the breaking down of superstition. Didn’t a comrade mention it just a while ago? Some of our comrades have many fears. Some are afraid of being college professors, but they have gradually lost or reduced their fear after the rectification. Some have already accepted letters of employment as professors. I read in the newspapers that comrade K’o Ch’ing-shih accepted the professorship at Fu-tan university. It was a manifestation of fearlessness. Others are preparing to serve as college professors. The above concerns the fear of being bourgeois professors. Is there also the fear of being proletarian professors? I think there is. For instance, there is the fear of Marx. He lived in a very tall building, and one had to climb many flights of stairs to reach him, something unattainable in a lifetime. As I mentioned at the Ch’eng-tu conference, do not be afraid, because Marx was also a human being, with two eyes, two hands, and one brain, not much different from us, except that he had a lot of Marxism in his mind. He wrote many books for us to read. We do not have to read all of them. Is Comrade X X X here? (Answer: Here.) Have you finished reading them? If you have finished reading them, then you have ascended the stairs. I have not finished reading them; therefore I am still downstairs. As we have not finished reading his books, we all belong downstairs, but do not be afraid. It is not necessary to read all of Marx’s books. Reading some of the fundamental things will be sufficient, but what we have done has surpassed Marx. What Lenin said and did surpassed Marx in many aspects. Marx did not undertake the October Revolution, but Lenin did; therefore, Lenin surpassed Marx in the practical aspect. At that time, he had the conditions of the time. Marx never undertook China’s great revolution; therefore, our practice also surpassed Marx. Principles are created in practice. Marx did not succeed in his revolution, but we did. When such revolutionary practice is ref! lected in ideology, it becomes theory.

Our theoretical level is not high. It is not high now, but we must not be afraid. As long as we exert ourselves, we will go forward. Stairs can be made, and so can elevators. We must not belittle ourselves or hold ourselves in contempt. As I have often said to some comrades, China was oppressed by imperialism for over 100 years and the people were intimidated by the propaganda of obedience to foreigners and foreign countries spread by imperialism; they were afraid of everything. Feudalism propagandized obedience to Confucius, making us feel inferior. We were inferior in the face of Confucius. Since the Opium War[1], we have been inferior in the face of foreigners, and we were afraid of them. Before that we were afraid of Confucius. Old Tung did you not once obey Confucius? What was the reason? At that time, the saying was “rejecting the Sage is violating the law.” Opposing the Sage was violating the constitution. In regard to the foreigners, I am inferior to them; in regard to Confucius, I am inferior to him. What kind of reasoning is this? I once asked some comrades around me whether we lived in heaven or on earth. They all shook their head and said that we lived on earth. I said no, we live in heaven. When we look at the stars from the earth, they are in heaven. But if there are people in the stars, when they look at us, wouldn’t they think that we are in heaven? Therefore I say that we live in heaven while also on earth at the same time. The Chinese like the gods. I asked them whether we were gods. They answered no. I said wrong. The gods live in heaven . We live on earth, but also in heaven; so, why shouldn’t we be considered gods also? If there were people in the stars, wouldn’t they also consider us as gods? My third question was whether the Chinese were also foreigners? They said no, only the foreigners were foreigners. I said wrong, the Chinese were also foreigners, because when we consider the people of fore! ign countries as foreigners, wouldn’t they also consider us as foreigners? It explains the superstitious ideas on the this point.

There is a kind of microbes which are called germs. Though small in size, from a certain standpoint, they are more powerful than men. They have no superstition and are full of energy. They strive for the upper reaches and for greater, faster, better, and more economical results. They are not afraid of heaven or earth. They do not respect anyone. If they want to eat people, they will crawl into them regardless of who you are. Even if you should weigh 80 kilograms, they can destroy you. No one counts as far as they are concerned. Isn’t their fearless spirit much stronger than certain people?

Since ancient times, whenever the scholars or inventors created a new school of thought, they have always started young, possessed not much learning, and were scorned and oppressed. Not until later did they grow into adults and become learned. Are all the people like this? Is it a universal law? We cannot be completely sure, and it requires investigation and study. However, one can say that the majority are like that. Why did they become inventors, scholars, or heroes? They succeeded because their bearing was correct. Regardless of the amount of learning, if the bearing is wrong, it is of no use. “Man dreads fame and a hog dreads fat.” The famous people are often the most backward, most fearful, and most lacking in creativity. Why? Because they have already attained fame. They have seniority and position, and are no longer oppressed. Being busy, they do not study any more. Of course, we cannot discredit all famous people. There are exceptions. Instances of young people knocking down the old people, or the uneducated knocking down the highly educated, are numerous.

There was a man named Kan Lo in the Kingdom of Ch’in during China’s Warring States period. He was probably the grandson of Kan Mao. He became prime minister at the age of 12. He was truly a “red scarf.” When his grandfather Kan Mao did not know what to do, he did. He solved a major problem in the Kingdom of Chao.

Chia I in the Han Dynasty was sought by Emperor Wen when the former was only 17 years old and was promoted three times in one day. Later on he was exiled to Ch’ang-sha. There he wrote two poems entitled “Mourning Ch’u Yuan” and “The Enormous Bird.” Returning to the court, he wrote two books entitled The Strategy to Maintain Peace and The Faults of the Ch’in Dynasty. I think he was also an expert on the history of Ch’in and Han. Is Comrade Fan Wen-lan here? Am I correct? Please look into it. Chia I wrote dozens of books and what we have today are the two poems and two treatises discussed above. At the time of his death he was only 33 years of age.

Liu Pang of the Han Dynasty was older. Hsiang Yu launched an uprising at age 24 and became a feudal prince five years later. Subsequently, he conferred on himself the title of the King of Ch’u. He died at age 32. He was very young when he said his famous farewell to his queen. Now he wears a beard in the opera. I think it is wrong. He should be portrayed only as a young man.

Han Hsin was also scorned. During his youth, he suffered the insult of being forced to crawl between someone’s legs.

Confucius had no position in his youth. He worked as a bugler and drummer and served as the master of ceremony at funerals. Later on he taught. Although he became a government official and once served as the chief of the judicial department in the Kingdom of Lu, it was only for a short time. The Kingdom of Lu had a population of only la few hundred thousand, not any bigger than one of our counties. Confucius’ position as chief of the judicial department was only equivalent to a section chief in our county government. He also served as a minor official in charge of money, equivalent to an accountant in our agricultural cooperative, but he acquired much skill.

Yen Yuan was a disciple of Confucius. He could be considered as a second grade sage. He died at age 32.

Shakyamuni created Buddhism in his youth, while still in his teens or possibly 20. He belonged to an oppressed race in India at that time.

Hung Niang in the Western Chambers was a famous figure, known to everyone[2]. She was a young slave girl, but she was just and brave. She had the courage to break through the conventions and render aid to Ts’ui Ying-ying and Scholar Chang. What she did at that time was illegal and in violation of the marriage law. The old mistress gave her a sound beating, but she would not capitulate. Instead, she reprimanded the old mistress. Was the old mistress or Hung Niang better educated? Which one was creative? Which one was an inventor?

Hsun Kuan-niang (of Lin-yin County, Honan) of the North and South Dynasties was a 13-year-old girl, with an educational level of first year middle school at the most. When she and her father were trapped in Hsiang-yang, she had the courage to lead several dozen men to break through the enemy line and get help from Ch’ang-sha. How capable she was!

Poet Li Ho in the T’ang Dynasty died at age 27.

Li Shih-min, the first emperor of the T’ang Dynasty, was only 18 when he launched an uprising and only 26 when he became emperor. Both Li Ho and Li Shih-min were of aristocratic origin.

Lo Shih-hsin of Tung-li-ch’eng at the end of T’ang Dynasty started an uprising at age 24. He fought battles at age 14 and was very brave. Tu Fu-wei (of Chang-ch’iu, Shantung) became a general at age 16.

Wang Po, the author of the poem entitled “T’eng-wang-ko” and one of the four eminents at the beginning of T’ang Dynasty, was also a young man. At the time of his death, he was only 29.

Yueh Fei, the famous general in-the Sung Dynasty, was only 38 when he died.

Comrade Fan Wen-lan, am I right? You are a historian. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Marx did not create Marxism during his adulthood or old age, but in his youth. He was only 29 when he wrote the Communist Manifesto.

Lenin was only 32 years old when he founded Bolshevism in 1903.

Both Chou Yu and K’ung Ming were young men. K’ung Ming served as the military chief of staff at age 27. Sun Wu’s original commanding general Ch’eng P’u was an old man, but when Sun Wu attacked Ts’ao Ts’ao, he used Chou Yu as the commanding general, ranking him above Ch’eng P’u. The latter resented it, but Chou Yu won the battle. Chou Yu died at age 36. Huang Kai, who came from Li-ling, Hunan, established merits in the same battle. I felt honoured for his deeds as we came from the same place.

Wang Pi of the Ch’in Dynasty wrote annotations to Chuang-tzu and I-chang. He was a philosopher at age 18. His grandfather was Wang Su. He died at age 24.

The inventor of the sleeping pill was not an expert. It is reported that he was in charge of drugs in a small pharmacy. I read about it in a pamphlet. He almost lost his life when he experimented on the sleeping pill. After he succeeded in his experiments, the French Government did not approve of him and accused him of violating the law. The Germans invited him over, held a celebration in his honour and published his books.

The inventor of penicillin was a dyer. When his daughter fell sick, he had no money to send her to hospital. So, he scooped up a handful of dirt from the vat and mixed it with something. The daughter recovered after taking the mixture. Later on, after experimenting, penicillin was discovered.

Darwin, the great inventor, was also a young man. He was religious in his early days and was also scorned by others. He studied biology and traveled everywhere, North and South America and Asia, but he did not get to Shanghai.

Recently Hu Shih[3] returned to Taiwan and ran the Academy of Science. Two American inventors, Li Cheng-tao and Yang Chen-ning, were included among the members. These two men are also young.

Hao Chien-hsiu, a national people’s congress delegate, created an advanced spinning method when she was only 18.

Nieh Erh, the great musician who wrote the national anthem, is also a young man.

No-cha, the son of Heavenly King Li Chin, was also a young man. But he was very talented!

King Lan-ling of the North and South Dynasties was also a young man. He was skilled in battle and very brave. There is a song which eulogizes him entitled “The Song of King Lan-ling Entering the Battle.” I hear that this song is in Japan.

Many outstanding cadres in the townships and communes are young people. In general, there are many capable young men.

My purpose in citing so many examples is to show that the young people must surpass the old and the less educated can excel the more educated. Do not be intimidated by famous people and scholars. We must be courageous in thinking, speaking and doing. We must not be afraid to think, speak, or do. We must liberate ourselves from the condition of having our hands and feet tied.

The initiative and creativity of the laboring people have always been abundant. In the past, they were held in restraint under the old system. Now they have been liberated and have begun to produce results.

Our method is to lift the lid, break down superstition and let the initiative and creativity of the laboring people explode.

In the past, many people felt that to develop industry was something too high to attain and very mysterious. They said: “it is not easy to achieve industrialization!” In general, there was a big superstition in regard to industry.

Neither do I understand industry. I know nothing about it, yet I do not believe that it is unattainable. I discussed the subject with several persons in charge of industry. It seems to be incomprehensible at the beginning, but becomes comprehensible after a few years of study. There’s nothing much to it! I think that in 10 years or so our country will become an industrial nation. We must not consider industrialization as something so serious. We must first hold it in contempt and then give it serious attention.

“Make the high mountain bow its head; make the river yield the way.” It is an excellent sentence. When we ask the high mountain to bow its head, it has to do so! When we ask the river to yield the way, it must yield!

Is such a hypothesis groundless? No, we are not insane; we are pragmatists; we are Marxists seeking truth from facts.

We do not want big nation chauvinism. It means ugly and evil behaviour and low class interest.

Chia Kuei is a character in the play entitled Fa-men Temple. He served under Liu Chin. The latter was a court eunuch in the Ming Dynasty, but actually the “prime minister”, possessed great powers. One time Liu Chin asked Chia Kuei to take a seat. Chia Kuei said: “I am used to standing; I do not dare to sit.” It was a slavish behaviour. The Chinese people served as slaves to imperialism for a long time. It is inevitable that a tail from this slavish behavior is carried over to the present. This tail must be chopped off; the work style of Chia Kuei must be knocked down.

There are two kinds of modesty One is ordinary modesty and the other is modesty compatible with reality.

The dogmatists copy from foreign countries. This is excessive modesty. Why do they not use their brains in whatever they do? In China’s classical poetry, there is a kind, which is imitation classical poetry. It is excessive modesty Without any creative style of their own, they have to imitate others.

The revisionists are also guilty of excessive modesty. Tito, for instance, does nothing but copy from Eduard Bernstein and borrow from his bourgeois mentors.

When a proletariat copies from the proletariat of another country, it is dogmatism, copying the bad as well as the good. This is not good. One must copy, but what one should copy is the spirit, the essence, not the superficial. The nine common outlines of Moscow (said to be five outlines in Re-discussion, but there are nine in the Moscow Declaration), for instance, are things in common among the nations and not one can be left out. The universal truth must be combined with China’s concrete reality. If not combined, it will be copying, and excessive modesty. Anything which is not a universal truth cannot be copied as is. Even things domestic must not be copied without modification. At the time of the land reform, the Central [Government] did not stress the experience of any one particular area. It was for fear of copying. This issue must be given attention in the current work.

The revisionists are influenced by the bourgeoisie; they copy the bourgeoisie. Tito’s copying Eduard Bernstein is one example.

We must study Lenin and be courageous in hoisting the red flag, the redder the better. We must be courageous in advocating something new and establishing something different. There are two kinds of advocating something new and establishing something different: Hoisting the red flag is proper; hoisting the white flag is improper. Lenin advocated something new and established something different for the Second International and it was proper for him to hoist another red flag. The red flag has to be hoisted in any case. If you fail to do so, the bourgeoisie will hoist the white flag. Rather than permitting the bourgeoisie to hoist the flag, it is better for our proletariat to do so. We must be courageous in hoisting the flag, leave no room [for the bourgeoisie]. We must uproot and discard the flags hoisted by the bourgeoisie. We must be courageous in hoisting and uprooting.

Lenin once said: “Progressive Asia and backward Europe.” It was the truth. Even now it is still thus. We are progressive; Western Europe is backward.

We regard with contempt the bourgeoisie, the gods and God, but we must not belittle small nations or our own comrades.

When we become a modernized, industrialized and highly cultured great power 15 years hence, we may possibly become too cocky and raise our tail sky high. We must not be afraid. Let us make it clear now. When a dog raises his tail, he doesn’t necessarily indicate that he is ready to fight. He can be off with a splash of cold water. Sometimes we also need to have cold water splashed on us.

Improper self-confidence, mediocre self-confidence and false self-confidence are all not permissible. Modesty without a scientific foundation is not true modesty. True modesty must be compatible with reality. For example, when we tell the foreigners that China is still an agricultural nation and its industrial construction is just beginning . . ., it is reality, but the foreigners will find us modest. Modesty must be compatible with reality. Some kind of modesty is less than reality, or excessive modesty. Generally speaking, it has to be compatible with reality.

This view is similar to Lu Hsun’s satire. Lu Hsun said: Depicting true things with a well tempered or slightly exaggerated pen is satire.

I was happy to read a recent article by Comrade Fan Wen-lan. It was straight talk. Many facts cited in the article prove that respecting the modern and belittling the ancient is a Chinese tradition. He quoted Ssu-ma Ch’ien[4], Ssu-ma Kuang . . . but it is regrettable that he did not quote Ch’in-Shih-huang. He was an expert in respecting the modern and belittling the ancient. Of course I do not like to quote him either. (Comrade Lin Piao interrupts: “Ch’in-shih-huang burned the books and buried the scholars alive”.) What did he amount to? He only buried alive 460 scholars, while we buried 46,000. In our suppression of the counter-revolutionaries, did we not kill some counter-revolutionary intellectuals? I once debated with the democratic people: You accuse us of acting like Ch’in-shih-huang, but you are wrong; we surpass him 100 times. You berate us for imitating Ch’in-shih-huang in enforcing dictatorship. We admit them all. What is regrettable is that you did not say enough. We have had to say it for you. (Laughter.)

Things will always march toward the opposite side.

The dialectics of Greece, the metaphysics of the Middle Ages, the Restoration. . . . It is the negation of negation.

It is also true in China. The hundred scholars expressing themselves in the time of the Warring States was dialectics. The classics of the feudal era were metaphysics. Now dialectics is being promoted.

Am I right? Comrade Fan Wen-lan, you are familiar with such things.

I feel that after 15 years we will become cocky and big nation chauvinism may appear. We are not afraid of the appearance of big nation chauvinism. Should we stop struggling for the construction of a socialist power just because we are afraid of big nation chauvinism? Even if it should appear, it will march toward the opposite direction and something correct will replace it. What is there to fear? In a socialist nation, it is impossible for all the people to become big nation chauvinists. Lenin’s dialectics, Stalin’s partial metaphysics and today’s dialectics are also the negation of negation.

Stalin was not completely a metaphysicist. He understood dialectics, but not very thoroughly.

The creativity of the people exists objectively. It is important to set up an opposite. Opposites exist objectively. With regard to the rightists, for example, we let them express themselves. We do so purposely, our goal is to set up the opposite. After rectifying the rightists, some comrades overlooked rectification and reform. Thus, we stressed the big character posters and the double antis, thus setting up the opposite. After publishing 100 million big character posters, they were forced to reform.

When we say setting up the opposite, it does not mean setting up something not in objective existence. The so-called opposite can only be set up when it is in objective existence. What is not in objective existence cannot be set up.

I have finished my speech. The subject matter is breaking down superstition. Do not be afraid of being professors or of Marx.


The Second Speech

May 17 1958

1.  The International Situation

There are many troubles in the capitalist world. We have less in our world. We are firmly united. Yugoslavia is not in our camp; it doesn’t count. We did not exclude it. It does not want to join us. The situation of the 12 nations in our camp is very good. It has always been good. There hasn’t been any bad day. But at times there are dark clouds in the sky. Some people feel that we are not capable while others are. We say that we are capable. I listed 10 pieces of evidence at the Moscow conference[5] to prove that we have always been capable. When Chiang Kai-shek was in Nanking and we in Yenan, which one was capable? At that time Yenan had only 7,000 people, including the suburbs. Nanking is very big. Big cities like Nanking and Shanghai were all in Chiang Kai-shek’s hands. He had millions of troops while we had only several hundred thousand guerrillas. It has always been the case for the small to defeat the big and for the weak to conquer the strong. The small and the weak have vigor, while the big and the strong do not. The general situation is very good. We need not talk about Hitler, Chiang Kai-shek and U.S. imperialism. We have always regarded U.S. imperialism as a paper tiger. Pity there is only one U.S. imperialism; even if there were 10 of them, it would not bother us. It will perish sooner or later.

The Japanese in Peking apologized to me for attacking us. I said: you did a good deed. Precisely because of your invasion and occupation of more than half of China we were able to unite, lead the people of the entire nation to chase you away and come to Peking. When we were in Yenan, we wondered when we would be able to see the operas of Mei Lan-fang and Ch’eng Yan-ch’iu. Some thought they would never have a chance in their lifetime. However, we did get to see the operas. The revolutionary situation has been developing rapidly. In seven years, the entire party united and overthrew Chiang Kai-shek. Now we want to unite and undertake construction. The “Seventh Party Congress” had a program[6]. This congress was also a congress of unity, a congress of victory. It also had a common program. The entire party unanimously formulated a general line for the building of socialism, which also serves as the general line of the people of the entire country. The situation at home is one of unity in the party and among the people.

The international scene is troubled with much disorder. There are internal squabbles in the imperialist camp. The world is not at peace. There are troubles in France, Algeria, Latin America, Indonesia and Lebanon. All the troubles are in the capitalist world. But they all concern us. Anything that is adverse to imperialism is advantageous to us. Imperialism is squabbling within itself; it is suppressing Indonesia, Lebanon and Latin America and fighting over Algeria. (I shall not repeat the details. I refer you to the materials.) Generally speaking, sometimes the situation seems to be bad, dark clouds in the sky. At such times we must be far-sighted. We must not be confused by the temporary darkness and feel that things are wrong with us and with the world and that we will have bad luck. There is no such thing! In the past, our worst period was the Long March[7], blocked in front and pursued from behind and our troops, our land and our party were reduced, with only one of our ten fingers left. Overcoming these difficulties tempered us. Later on, new opportunities appeared and we again developed ourselves. Our one finger grew into ten. We developed all the way to the founding of the People’s Republic of China and gained a national victory. The very first page of the first chapter of the Soviet Communist Party History discussed the dialectics of growing from small to big. The Soviet communists developed from a cell organized by a few individuals into a great party leading the nation. They had not even a single rifle. Yet, first the Czar and then the Kerensky Government, both fully armed numbered among their enemies. Which one was stronger, the fully armed or the one without a rifle? I say that the latter was stronger. Who conquered whom at the end? The condition of our party was similar to it. In 1921 our party was founded, consisting of only a few dozen members. Chou Fu-hai of the First Party Congress was a “good comrade” (sound o! f laughter) and Ch’en Kung-po another “good comrade” (sound of laughter)[8]. Ch’en Tu-hsiu did not come to the meeting, but because of his prestige, he was elected the secretary general. But he was unfit. He subscribed to Bernstein-ism. He was a radical and willing to promote a democratic revolution, but he did not understand the socialist revolution or the theory of the continuous revolution; therefore, he made mistakes. Let us recall our party history and see how much difficulties we have encountered! There was the Long March and there was also the period from the Third to the Fourth Plenum [of the Sixth Central Committee?][9]. The Fourth Plenum was held in Shanghai and there were very few people left. It was life or death. The party was splitting.

At the time of the Long March of 25,000 li, the party was also splitting. After splitting, it united again. Chang Kuo-t’ao took off and unity was restored. Subsequently in Yenan, Chiang Kai-shek and the Japanese surrounded us, cutting us into more than 10 bases. Under such a difficult situation, was Yenan or Nanking stronger? Were we or was Chiang Kai-shek stronger? Now it has been proven that we were stronger, for how else would we be holding a meeting in Huai-jen Hall? Why did he flee to Taiwan? Who was the victor?


2.  The Domestic Situation

China is an important component of international society. When we discuss the international situation, we must discuss China. China is the proof that the laboring people, the oppressed, have vigor. Currently, socialism has many allies. The national independence movement of Asia, Africa and Latin America is our ally. They are the rear areas of imperialism and we have allies there. Lenin said: Progressive Asia and backward Europe.” England, France, Italy, West Germany, Belgium and Portugal in Europe are all backward; the U.S. is also backward. Are they progressive or are we? Stalin understood this point. In June 1949, when Comrade XXX led our party delegation to the Soviet Union and Stalin toasted China at a banquet for surpassing the Soviet Union in the future, Comrade XXX said: “I cannot drink this toast. You are the teacher and we the pupil. When we catch up with you, you will have progressed even further.” Stalin replied: “Incorrect. If the pupil cannot surpass the teacher, he is not a good pupil. You must drink this toast.” After a deadlock of 20 minutes, Comrade XXX finally drank the toast. When the teacher teaches the pupil, the latter will be undeserving if he does not catch up with the former. The incident indicated that not just Lenin, but even Stalin saw the East as progressive. When the teacher is eminent, the pupil is outstanding. We must not be arrogant and cocky, nor must we feel inferior, considering ourselves worthless without cause. We must break down superstition and place ourselves in the proper level. We should be courageous in thinking, speaking, and doing, with Marxism-Leninism as the foundation. Tito has courage in thinking, speaking, and doing, but his foundation is imperialism and capitalism, not Marxism-Leninism. Our foundation is Marxism-Leninism; therefore, we are correct, and we will not get into trouble when we think, speak, and do with courage.

Let us discuss the domestic problem. The peasant alliance remains to be the domestic problem. China’s revolution has always been the issue of this alliance. Without it, the working class could not have gained liberation; it would not be able to build a powerful nation. Prior to the liberation, China’s working class numbered only four million (excluding handicraft). Now there are 12 million, or three times as many. When we include the family members, the number is only around 40 million, while the peasant population reaches over 500 million. Therefore, China’s problem has always been the problem of the peasant alliance. Some comrades are not very clear about this, not even after having worked in the rural village for decades. Why did we make anti-adventurist mistakes in 1956? The major cause rested with the problem of the peasant alliance. The thinking and feelings of the peasants were not thoroughly understood; therefore, there was no basis and, the moment there was a storm, vacillation could easily occur. In 1956 we published a book on the rural socialist high tide, including material from 190 cooperatives in the provinces and regions:[10] Each province contributed several articles except Tibet. In fact, we did not need that many. Just the material of the Wang Kuo-fan Cooperative, Tsun-hua County, Hopeh Province, would have been enough[11]. Then, there was the case of a poor cooperative in central Hopeh. All the middle peasants fled, leaving only three poor peasant households, but these three families held on. They pointed out the direction of the 500 million peasants. Each and every province had many cooperatives with production increases. The increases ranged one to several folds. Do you still refuse to believe it? The 40 articles of agriculture will definitely be realized. Can you still refuse to believe it? I feel that they can be realized. In 1955, 1956 and the fi! rst half of 1957, the number of disbelievers was considerably big and there were many tide-watchers in all levels including the Central. At present, XXX are talking about settling accounts after the fall. They look only for the negative elements, not the positive. When a few cadres are overheard to say that the rural village is not so good, three or four individuals would whisper into one another’s ears that the cooperative is not so good, the future looks bleak, the peasants do not have enough to eat, there is no output increase nor reserve grain, etc. When the family writes for money, they will always exaggerate, making life sound harder than it is and complaining about the lack of grain, oil and fabric, for otherwise you will not remit. You must analyze all these. Is it true that there is no grain, oil, or fabric? Comrade K’o Ch’ing-shih[12] told me about the statistics of Kiangsu Province. In 1955, 30 percent of the cadres of the county, district and township levels made loud protests, complained about the “hardships” on behalf of the peasants and objected to the excessive “control” in the “unified” purchasing and selling. What kind of people were those cadres? They were all well-to-do middle peasants, or formerly poor and lower-middle peasants who had become well-to-do middle peasants. The so-called hardships of the peasants were the hardship of the well-to-do middle peasants. The well-to-do middle peasants wanted to hoard their grain instead of surrendering it and they wanted to promote capitalism. Therefore, they squawked about the hardships of the peasants. The lower levels squawked, but did someone in the regional, provincial, or central level complain also? Was there anyone who was not more or less influenced by his family in the home village? The question is the standpoint you take in looking at a problem. Do you take the standpoint of the working class and poor and lower-middle peas! ants, or do you take that of the well-to-do middle peasants?

Now it is a little better. The rural areas have made a great leap forward. After the rectification, the anti-rightist movement, cadre participation in labor and worker participation in a part of the management, the urban and rural political atmosphere has changed. One can say that the agricultural “pessimism” and “hopelessness”, and the lack of confidence in realizing the “40 articles” have been swept clean. However, some of the “tide watchers” and “fall account settlers” have not been swept clean. Therefore, attention must be given to this work. The XXX report suggested guarding against fancy words without substance, surface without depth and generalization without detail. The suggestion was made by Kiangsu. What they mean is to see one’s own defects. Among the 10 fingers, nine of them are bright and the remaining one in darkness. “Fancy” means flowery, blooming without bearing fruit. In regard to “generalization without detail”, Chang Fei[13] gave attention to the details even though he dealt in generalization. We want to be Chang Fei and give attention to the details. We must not bloom without bearing fruit or give attention to the general while ignoring the details, for otherwise we may not attain our quota in the fall. Comrades of all occupations, professions and units must pay attention, regardless of their type of work, whether industry, agriculture, commerce, culture and education, or writing novels.

The domestic situation is very good and the future looks bright. In the past, thinking was not unified. There was no confidence in achieving greater, faster, better and more economical results. Industry, agriculture and communication are concerned with these results. The basic issue is agriculture, the issue of the 40 articles. Now confidence has increased because of the great leap forward in agricultural production. The agricultural leap forward creates a pressure on industry and causes it to catch up, leaping forward together and motivating the entire work. A proposal was made at the Nan-ning Conference. The provinces should make plans on just how long it would take, five, seven, or so many years, for the value of industrial production to catch up with or surpass that of agricultural production. In only three months after the proposal, industries at the local provincial, county and township levels flourished. Now this is understood by many comrades. In the second half of 1956 some of the Central comrades did not understand is very clearly. After 1956 and the first half of 1957, the problem has been solved. Comrade Chou En-lai’s report at the People’s Congress in June of last year was very good, declaring war on the bourgeoisie with the posture of the proletarian warrior. That article should be read over again. At that time, the problem was truly solved, but profound understanding did not come until later.

Now the Center has decided that its responsible comrades must go into the field for four months out of the year to do detailed work, visit plants and cooperatives, settle among the masses and familiarize themselves with the conditions of the people. Settling roots is to settle one’s roots among the people. I thank the first secretary of Ch’ang-ko County, Honan Province, for his report. It is very good. (I have re-read it). He reports on turning the soil over deeply in the entire 1.12 million mou of land once a year to a depth of 1.5 ch’ih. in order to attain the output of 900 catties per mou. This brings up a new problem. Can all the counties do it? Since Ch’ang-ko County can do it, do you mean to say that the other counties cannot? If it can’t be done once every year or every two years, what about every three years? I feel once every five years should be possible. The second five-year plan of Ch’ang-ko County calls for turning over once all the soil in the county. If you do not have good tools, then use those similar to Ch’ang-ko County and follow their method. If you have no method for the second five-year plan, then follow their method. Maybe there are still other methods. Their method is as follows: First pile the surface ripe soil on one side. Then apply fertilizer on the raw soil. Turn over the raw soil with shovels and mix it with the fertilizer. After breaking up the clods, leave the fertilizer mixed soil where it is. Then start with the next row and move the ripe soil of the second row on the raw soil of the first row. Continue to do the same row by row. Thus, the top soil remains on top. This is a big invention. One deep soil turn-over results in an output increase of 100 percent, or at least 90 percent. Soil is the first consideration for production increase. Water, fertilizer, soil improvement, seeds and close planting should be considered as another item. Close planting must be rational. In Kwangtung, each mou is divided into 30,000 “to” 1;, in each “to” is planted three rice seedlings, each seedling produces three sprouts, bearing 27 ears of grain and each ear averages 60 [kernels of] grain, totalling 16.2 million [kernels of] grain. 20,000 [kernels of] grain equal one catty and one mou produces 810 catties. Isn’t this the way to compute the 800-catty per mou output? The same computation can be used for wheat, corn, spiked-millet, kaoliang and soybeans in the North. Close planting is the full utilization of air and sunshine. Currently are we not in the process of eliminating waste? Then we must also eliminate the waste of air and sunshine. Sunshine works hard everyday and yet you do not utilize it! When absorbed by plants, the carbon dioxide in the air turns into carbohydrates which become matters needed by plants by means of photosynthesis. Carbohydrates are carbon dioxide plus sunshine. Grain is the storehouse of heat. The structure of each grain is similar to a miniature reservoir. I am going too far afield. Mainly I want to discuss settling one’s roots and contacting the people, such as visiting a few cooperatives and plants, a few units in the troops, a few schools in education and a few stores in commerce. There is no need to contact too many. Anyway, a few units in each occupation and profession should be studied in detail before one can have a profound impression. One must respect materialist dialectics. Materialism is the most important. Why? The words philosophy, epistemology and methodology are one and the same. Where does man’s thinking come from? Does it come with one’s birth, or after observation and practice? Man’s thinking is not endowed by nature, but consists of concepts formed through the reflection of external matters. Deductions and judgments only become possible after the preliminary formation of concepts, such as dog, man, child, tree, horse, rock, etc. If a three-year old child is asked whether his mother is a human being or a dog, he will be able to reply that she is a h! uman being, not a dog. This is the judgment of the child. Mother is an individual, while human being is general, yet there is an identity between the two. It is the unity of opposites between the individual and the general. It is dialectics. Thus, a three-year old child understands the unity of contradictions and dialectics. Our thinking can only be formed through the stimulation of our senses by the objective world. It is formed from objective practice. Where do concepts come from? They come from the objective world. The current concept of greater, faster, better and more economical results has been formed only through the accumulation of many experiences, including those of China, of the Soviet Union, of our base and of several years of construction. The phrase “go all out and strive for the upper reaches” is also indispensable. We cannot do without it. Without energy, or sufficient energy, it is hard for an individual, a group of people, or a party, to do anything successfully. Naturally we want to strive for the upstream, all the way up to Szechuan, not the lower stream, which is Kiangsu. This is illustrating the issue with natural geography. We must keep pace with the advanced.

Our comrades must associate with the masses, truly understand their feelings and impress our mind with their thinking and emotions. If our mind is not deeply impressed with the feelings of the masses, it becomes easy to waver. If our mind is thus deeply impressed, even if we should run into problems in our work, we will be able to handle them. In the past we often encountered difficulties in battles. Sometimes we couldn’t find a solution even by midnight. But, after sleeping over it, we would have the solution the next day. Difficulties appear constantly. Sun Yat-sen said that he accumulated 40 years of experience. We have accumulated decades of experience. We well know that, whenever we encounter a difficult problem, we can solve it by consulting with the masses, sleeping over it and holding a meeting. Currently, do we not have problems, or difficulties? Do not be frightened by temporary darkness. We constantly have two elements: Light and dark. Now the northern part of Hopeh has no rainfall. Do you think the comrades of Hopeh are not worried? They produced four billion catties last year and are planning for eight billion this year. Even if there should be drought, the output will be increased to five or six billion cattiest The domestic situation is pretty good. Do not be afraid of any darkness. There are two sides: Light and dark. The comrades who made mistakes understood the matter in June of last year. There are still many “tide watchers” and “fall account settlers”, but it doesn’t matter. Let us explain the reasons more frequently and convince them by persuasion. Let us set forth the domestic situation and carry out an education.


3.  Elimination of the Four Pests

Let us discuss the elimination of the four pests. Is it good to eliminate the four pests? I find it very interesting. According to Reference News, the Indians are also interested and they also wish to eliminate pests. They have the pest of monkeys which eat up a lot of grain. No one dares to touch them because they are considered sacred.

We do not propose the slogans “cadres decide everything” or “technology decides everything,” or the slogan “communism is the Soviet Union plus electrification.” But does it mean we do not want electrification? We want electrification just the same and even more urgently. The first two slogans were Stalin’s way and rather one-sided. If “technology decides everything,” then what about politics? If “cadres decide everything”, then what about the masses? Dialectics is missing here. Stalin sometimes understood dialectics and sometimes not. I mentioned this at the Moscow Conference.

Our slogan is: A little more, a little faster, a little better and a little more economical. I think our slogan is a little more intelligent. We should be more intelligent, because the pupil should be better than the teacher. Green comes from blue, but it excels blue. The late-comer should be on top. I feel our communism may arrive in advance of schedule.

There must be tenseness and relaxation when we do something. To be constantly tense is no good. One must be both tense and relaxed. Excessive exhaustion is no good. Honan is extensively promoting red and expert schools. It is very good. But everyone is too tired. Some people dozed off in class. The teachers are also too tired, but they dared not doze off. Excessive exhaustion is not good. There must be a few days of rest. We must be both tense and relaxed, with both democracy and centralization. This principle applies everywhere.

We must struggle against the “tide watchers” and “fall account settlers.” But the goal of such struggle is to rally them, not to exclude them from revolution. What hurt Ah Q most was, not being permitted to engage in the revolution. One must refrain from criticizing without helping the wrongdoers to correct their mistakes. Whether it is in struggling against or helping others, one must have good intentions. It is not good to be without good intentions. It would merely be knocking you down so that I could get on top. Should we have more people or less people? More people are better. We must activate all positive elements.

Dialectics should develop in China. We are not concerned about other places; we are concerned about China. What we do are more compatible with dialectics and with Lenin, but not very compatible with Stalin. Stalin said that the socialist society’s production relations completely conformed to the development of the production force; he negated contradictions. Before his death, he wrote an article to negate himself. He stated that complete conformity did not indicate the absence of contradictions and that improper handling could develop into antagonistic contradictions. One couldn’t say that he lacked dialectics. He had some. While there were superstition and one-sidedness, his method did succeed in building socialism, defeating the enemy, producing 50 million tons of steel, possibly 55 million tons this year and in putting three satellites in orbit. His was one kind of method. Can we find another method? The purpose is to promote socialism and Marxism-Leninism. Take the class struggle as an example. We have adopted Lenin’s method, not Stalin’s. When discussing the socialist economy, Stalin said the post-revolutionary reform was a peaceful reform proceeding from the top to the bottom levels. He did not undertake the class struggle from the bottom to the top, but introduced peaceful land reform in Eastern Europe and North Korea, without struggling against the landowners or the rightists, only proceeding from the top to the bottom and struggling against the capitalists. We proceed from the top to the bottom, but we also add the class struggle from the bottom to the top, settling the roots and linking together. We struggled against the bourgeoisie in the “five-evils movement.”[14] Now we are promoting construction and the mass movement. We require some things from the top to the bottom, such as government directives and orders, regulations and systems, but the masses must undertake a large number of things. We are! opposed to favoritism and peaceful land reform. We call the method of Eastern Europe and North Korea favoritism. Peaceful land reform, without class struggle and without struggling against the landowners and capitalists, is of the wrong line and will produce harmful results.

Why is the speed of our construction faster than the Soviet Union? Because our conditions are different. We have 600 million people. We follow the road traveled by the Soviet Union; we have its technical aid. Therefore, we should develop faster than the Soviet Union. We expand the tradition of the October Revolution and the mass line of Lenin and rely on the masses, on the poor peasants in the rural areas, except that Lenin did not say this.

Yesterday a comrade said that one couldn’t go wrong if one followed a certain individual. By “a certain individual,” he meant me. This statement needs modification. One should follow and yet not follow. An individual is sometimes right and sometimes wrong. Follow him when he is right and do not follow him when he is wrong. One must not follow without discrimination. We follow Marx and Lenin and we follow Stalin in some places. We follow whoever has the truth in his hands. Even if he should be a manure carrier or street sweeper, as long as he has the truth, he should be followed. Our cooperativization is for the poor and lower-middle peasants. We advocate the concept of greater, faster, better and more economical results because it came from the masses. We look for the advanced and the good among the plants, rural villages, stores, schools, troops. . . . Wherever truth is, we follow. Do not follow any particular individual. It is dangerous to follow an individual without discrimination. One must have independent thinking.

Our comrades are often not clear about the principle of the 10 fingers. The moment there is trouble, they forget that there are 10 fingers. The internal contradictions among the laboring people and the mistakes made by them are always the issue of the nine fingers and the one finger.

Our comrades who have committed mistakes are also like them. I am not talking about XXX. The statements of XXX, XXX XX and XXX are very good. Why was XXX not discussed in Anhwei’s statement? Chekiang said too little about XXX. You must share what you have for everyone’s edification. Why didn’t you? The trouble with those individuals is not a question of nine fingers and one finger. XXX has 10 blackened fingers; XXX has nine blackened fingers, leaving only one clean. What I am talking about now are those who waver in times of mighty storms. With them it is the question of nine fingers and one finger. Now it is clear. They are different from those with nine or 10 blackened fingers. We must rally and protect them. We must firmly protect the positive elements of all levels. They might have made mistakes, but they are positive. They are afraid of expressing themselves freely and being unable to make a graceful exit. Given firm protection, they will. Their mistakes are only 10 percent. We must firmly protect such cadres in the rectification. The issue of protecting the cadres was discussed in the documents of the Tsingtao Conference[15]. It was discussed even before that. The internal contradictions among the laboring people are generally the relations between the nine fingers and one finger, with individual exceptions. Among the bourgeois middle-of-the-roaders, the problem is five fingers and five fingers (five fingers of capitalism and five of socialism) with the middle-middle, six and four with the middle-left and six to seven blackened fingers with the middle-right. The brains of the bourgeois intellectuals cannot be cleansed all at once, but require several repetitions. The bourgeoisie may still make trouble, not big ones, but possible small ones. . . . Storms may appear in the bourgeoisie. In the face of typhoons of the 12th grade, some of our comrades will waver. With the experience of last year and the tempering undergone by! the party, we will be able to ignore the storms and remain steady in our boat. Our boat was not overturned in the mighty storms of last year. Some say that the editorial entitled “Why Is This?” was premature. It was not premature. If postponed, some leftists might have rotted away. Actually, over 100,000 rightists were found among elementary school teachers after December of last year, constituting one-third of the 300,000 rightists in the nation. They dared to launch reckless attacks. Do you mean to say that Chang and Lo would not attack any more after being classified as rightists? They will just the same. As soon as the temperature is suitable, reaching 37 or 38 degrees, those rascals will emerge.

Do not forget the issue of the nine fingers and one finger. The anti-adventurist case of 1956 was a result of forgetting this issue and failing to look at problems concretely. This lesson must be learned.


4.  Preparation for the Final Disaster

I now wish to discuss the gloomy side of things. We must prepare for major disasters. With thousands of li of bare earth, great droughts and great floods are possible. We must also prepare for major wars. What should we do if the war maniacs drop atom bombs? Let them drop the atom bomb! The possibility is there as long as the warmongers exist. We must also prepare for troubles in the party  —  splits. There will be no splits if we handle it right, but it is limited to certain situations and one cannot say that splits are impossible. Was there not a split in the Soviet Union?. . . .

Between war and peace, the possibility of peace is greater. Currently the possibility of peace is greater than in the past. The strength of the socialist camp is greater than the past and the possibility of peace is greater than at the time of World War II. The Soviet Union is powerful and the national independence movement is our strong ally. The Western nations are not stable. The working class, a part of the bourgeoisie and the American people do not want war; therefore, the possibility of peace is greater than that of war. Nevertheless, there is also the possibility of war. There are the maniacs and imperialism wants to extricate itself from economic crises. The duration of atomic warfare today will be short, three instead of four years. We must be prepared. What should be done if war really comes? I want to discuss this problem. If there is war, we will fight. Let imperialism be swept clean and we will start construction again. Thereafter there will not be any more world war. Since a world war is possible, we must prepare for it. We must not spend our time napping. Do not be alarmed either if there should be war. It would merely mean getting people killed and we’ve seen people killed in war. Eliminating half of the population occurred several times in China’s history. The 50 million population in the time of Emperor Wu in the Han Dynasty was reduced to 10 million by the time of the Three Kingdoms, the two Chin Dynasties and the North and South Dynasties. The war lasted for decades and intermittently for several hundred years, from the Three Kingdoms to the North and South Dynasties. The T’ang Dynasty began with a population of 20 million and did not reach 50 million until Emperor Hsuan. And Lu-shan staged a revolt and the country was divided into many states. It was not reunited until the Sung Dynasty, some 100 or 200 years later, with a population of just over 10 million. I once discussed this with XXX. I maintained that modern weapons were not as powerful as the big sword of C! hina’s Kuan Yun-Ch’ang, but he did not agree with me. Not very many people were killed in the two World Wars, 10 million in the first and 20 million in the second, but we had 40 million killed in one war. So, how destructive were the big swords! We have no experience in atomic war. So, how many will be killed cannot be known. The best outcome may be that only half of the population is left and the second best may be only one-third. When 900 million are left out of 2.9 billion, several five-year plans can be developed for the total elimination of capitalism and for permanent peace. It is not a bad thing.

If the party should split, there would be chaos for a time. If there are people who do not consider the overall situation, like XXX and Kao Kang, the party will split and imbalance will appear, though balance will return finally. When imbalances move in opposite directions, the result is balance. It is even more important for the members of the Central Committee to consider the overall-situation. Whoever failing to do so will fall. . . . Did those disregarding the over-all situation and clamoring for splits have a good ending? Chang Kuo-t’ao clamored for splits, but what did he get our of it? Clamoring for and promoting splits are wrong. Only one kind of split is permissible: During the Second International, Germany’s Social Democratic Party voted for the imperialist war and Lenin broke with them. We must make legitimate struggles and fight for the majority. We must not promote splits and ignore the over-all situation.

We wish to activate the strength of the 600 million people. We want to work on even the rightists, assimilate them and get seven out of 10 to reform. After their reform is completed in eight or 10 years, they will take our side. After their rightist cap is taken off, if they promote rightism again, they will be made to ware it again.


The Third Speech May 20, 1958

1. I will discuss again the breaking down of superstition. The First Ministry of Machine Building issued a pamphlet containing the biographies of 41 inventors. Seven of them were engineers, with social position and the remainder came from poor families, or were workers or peasants. Watt was a worker. The pamphlet began with the 18th century and covered over 100 years. Regardless of the period, it is beneficial to the breaking down of superstition. It will help us break down superstition and discard our inferiority complex. The agricultural, forestry, water conservation, political-legal, cultural-education and public health units should follow suit and collect such material.

2. I will discuss again the issue of taking the attitude of the common laborer. This issue is very important. It is important because some people feel that they are first in the world, look down on others, do not treat others as equals, rely on their qualifications to make a living, especially the high level officials and do not take the attitude of the common laborer. If this problem can be tackled by the majority, things will be easy to do. In the past many bureaucrats did not take the attitude of the common laborer. “I have authority over you.” Relying on these words to conduct business, they blocked the development of creativity. Such things must be eliminated. The bureaucratic air must be swept aside in the majority of the people. Whoever has the truth will be obeyed, be he a manure carrier, coal miner, street sweeper, or a poor peasant. No matter how high the official position, if truth is not in his hands, there is no reason to obey him. When the majority get rid of their bureaucratic air, the minority will become isolated and will not dare to make trouble. One should say that bureaucratic air is a sort of low class interest, not high class, not of the communist spirit. On the contrary, appearing with the attitude of the common laborer is high class interest. By so doing, the big nation chauvinism, which we condemn, will be prevented. If the majority of the party members especially the leadership cadres are modest (scientific modesty), chauvinism can be prevented and even if it should appear, we do not need to worry.

3. The non-professional leading the professional is a general rule. One cannot almost say that only the non-professional can lead the professional. Last year the rightists brought up this question and created a lot of trouble. They claimed that the non-professional could not lead the professional.

Can one say that only the non-professional can lead the professional? On this issue, we are in a passive position. In the past, the newspapers were not systematic in criticizing the rightists over this issue and their discussions not penetrating. Why do we say that the non-professional leading the professional is a general rule? Because everyone is a professional and a non-professional. There are 10,000 fields in the world and 10,000 sciences and technologies, but a person is only expert in one. Take the famous Peking Opera star Mei Lan-fang for instance. He can only play the female role. The female role is further subdivided into five different types and he can only do one of them. Then there are still many other roles, such as old man. young man. . . . A person can only master one profession out of the 10,000. Thus we say that everyone is a professional and everyone can become a professional. But everyone is also a non-professional, because he cannot master the remaining 9,999 professions. If a person can master two or three, or four or five professions, he will be amazing. If a person can master the 18 military arts, similar to Hsueh Jen-kuei, there are still 9,982 things which he doesn’t know. There are more non-professional than professionals. So, isn’t it true that everyone is also a non-professional? In leadership work, besides the leader’s own field, he must have some knowledge of other fields and become familiar with a few of them. Common sense is necessary. Those in party work, for example, must be familiar with industry and agriculture. But it is impossible to be expert in them. I can ride in an airplane, but I cannot fly one. The middle school has a few science courses; the college has more. Many things are a result of spare-time pursuits. Take Sun Yat-sen, for example. At the beginning he was not respected. He was a minor physician and undertook the revolution at 20 years of age. It was not legitimate. As a physician he was a professional and politics was his sideline. S! ubsequently, concentrating on the revolution, politics became his main field. He no longer practiced medicine, which became his sideline. He even gave up medicine and became a non- professional. But he could be in control of the physicians. Politicians handle the mutual relations among men; they promote the mass line. we must study this issue carefully, because many engineers and scientists do not respect us and many among us do not respect ourselves, arbitrarily insisting on the difficulty of non-professionals leading professionals. We must have the ways and means to refute them. I say that the non-professionals leading the professionals is a general rule. Mei Lan-fang, for example, cannot serve as the president; he can only sing operas.

4. One must hoist the red flag and determine the wind direction. The red flag is our five-star red flag. What flag should one hoist? The red flag or the white flag? Flags have to be hoisted everywhere in the world, from the North Pole to the South Pole, wherever there are inhabitants. If it isn’t the red flag, it is the white flag, or maybe even gray flag. If it isn’t the proletarian flag, it is the bourgeois flag. What flag did the organizations, schools and plants hoist in May and June of last year? Both sides fought. Currently what kind of flag is still hoisted by a few backward plants, or workshops in the plants, cooperatives, schools, military units and organizations or parts of them? If it isn’t the white flag, it is the gray flag. We should visit the backward places and activate the masses to hoist the red flag.

Mediocre modesty is failure to hoist the red flag. Failure to hoist the red flag is a low class orientation and false modesty. Such modesty should be criticized. There is a sort of social public opinion which encourages a sort of work style: Do not come forward fearlessly; do not think, speak and do courageously. This is an influence of Ju-lin Wai-shih. To hoist the flag, one must sharpen one’s sense of smell, learn the wind direction and determine what wind is blowing. If it is not the east wind prevailing over the west wind, then it is the west wind prevailing over the east wind. These were the words of Lin Tai-yu of Soochow. There will always be parties and factions in the world and the people in society will always be divided into left, middle and right, some in an advanced position, others in the middle or backward positions. The current task is for the advanced elements to fight for those in the middle and make them shift to the left and hoist the red flag. The white flag hoisted by the rightists is the flag of the bourgeoisie. The flag of the middle is gray or white. According to Liu-Chih of the T’ang Dynasty, to write history, one must have talent, learning and understanding. Understanding does not indicate knowledge it indicates a knowledge of the wind direction. We must give special attention and be expert in determining the wind direction and possess the power to make distinctions. This is extremely important. Even though some people may be very talented and learned, they may be slow in distinguishing wind direction. Stalin stressed foresight. Foresight is to distinguish wind direction and foresee a gale when there is only a breeze. It is not good to stand on the observation deck and see nothing. The lack of foresight is not seeing what is already there. Such condition affords the rightists an opportunity. If you don’t see them, they will come.

Do not be afraid of hoisting the red flag. Wherever it should be hoisted, hurry up and hoist it. It should be hoisted in each and every hilltop and rural settlement. It should be hoisted in each and every party committee, organization, military unit, plant and cooperative. Wherever there is no red flag, it should be hoisted. Currently there are many places without the red flag. They are not evenly advanced. Some of them become backward again right after hoisting the red flag-and the flag is no longer red. Constant change is also a natural condition. If the flag turns color, it should be replaced.

There are red and white happy events. Last time I discussed the handling of possible disasters, mainly war and party splits. There are big, medium and small disasters. What I discussed were the big ones: war and splits.

The Chinese people consider weddings as red happy events and funerals white happy events. I find them very rational. The Chinese know dialectics. Weddings will produce children. A child is split out of the body of the mother. It is a sudden change, a happy event. One individual is split into two or three, or even 10, like the aircraft carrier.

The common people find the deaths, changes and occurrences of new matters happy events. When a person dies, a memorial meeting is held. While the bereaved weep in mourning, they feel it is also a happy event. Actually, it is. Just imagine if Confucius were still living and here at this meeting in Huai-jen Hall, he would be over 2,000 years old and it wouldn’t be so good! If one subscribes to dialectics and yet disapproves of death, it will be metaphysics. Disasters are social phenomena, natural phenomena. Sudden changes are the most fundamental law of the universe. Birth is a sudden change; so is death. In the several decades from birth to death, it is a gradual change. If Chiang Kai-shek should die, we would clap our hands in joy. If Dulles should die, none of us would shed a tear. This is because the death of matters of the old society is a good thing, hoped for by everyone. While the birth of new things is good, their death is naturally not good. The failure of Russia’s 1905 revolution and the loss of our base in the South were equivalent to the seedlings destroyed by hailstorm and downpour. It is naturally not good. And the problem of replacing the destroyed seedlings arises. We communists hope for changes. The so-called leap forward means a change from the past. . . Sudden change is better than quantitative change. But without quantitative change, there can be no sudden changes. Quantitative change is indispensable and negating it will lead to adventurism. The destruction of balance constitutes leaping forward and such destruction is better than balance. Imbalance and headache are good things. The First Ministry of Machine Building, the Ministry of Metallurgy and the Ministry of Geology, for example, are experiencing a hard time and receiving pressure from all sides. Therefore, they must develop extensively, which is a good thing. Balance, quantitative change and unity are temporary and relative. Imbalance, sudden changes and disunity are absolute and permanent. Many disunities have b! een overcome and changed to unity. Unification is proposed because of disunity. There is unity in one person, but disunity occurs when there are two persons. Our party has 12 million members, with all kinds of backgrounds. Meetings must be held often in order to unite them. Therefore, we talk about unity every year, because there is disunity every year. Each person has his own way of thinking and the levels of the party members differ. Therefore, meetings must be held. The standing delegates made a correct draft. In the past we did not have the systems of holding a delegates’ congress every year; we held other kinds of meetings. Now we hold a congress every year. As our ideas are different, we can, at a meeting, adopt the more rational ideas, make resolutions, publish a report and reach unanimity in the whole nation. The participation of some local and county secretaries makes our meeting even more successful. They have many good ideas.

Not only must we talk about unity every year, but must do so everyday, because there are splits everyday. Fission of the cells, metabolism  —  if the old cells do not die, it will be detrimental to the development of the child. Metabolism means discarding the old and bringing in the new. In the Yangtze River, the wave behind pushes the wave ahead. All matters change. Currently there are 102 chemical elements. At the beginning there weren’t so many, but they increased through changes. Several hundred million years later, possibly there will be over 200 elements instead of 102. Matters always change and convert toward their opposite. Among our 12 million party members and everyday there are those leaving the party, every day there are struggles, and everyday there are those undergoing criticism. In Hupeh there were a brother and a sister competing in big character posters. The brother was an old hand and had the bureaucratic style. The truth, however, was in the hands of the sister. In the end the brother lost and the sister won. In Chekiang, a father and his son argued about close planting. The son was for it, but not the father. In the end the father lost and the son won. It is a general law. The father and brother always run a considerable risk, but it does not matter much. They only have to admit their defeat to the son and sister. One must take the attitude of the common laborer, in order to avoid risks.

We must prevent possible big disasters, such as world war, or party splits. Our party underwent four splits, involving Ch’en Tu-hsiu, Lo Chang-lung, Chang Kuo-t’ao and Kao Kang[16]. They set up their own Central Committees and collapsed. Wang Ming appeared in a legal way with his “leftist” line three times. We adopted toward him the attitude of curing the illness to save the patient and rallied him by means of criticism. New splits may occur. As long as there is a party, splits are possible. They are possible even 100 years from now. Our method is unity-criticism-unity, punishing as a deterrent and curing the illness to save the patient.

Maybe this way of talking is making everyone uncomfortable, but I can only be comfortable after speaking my mind. Do not be superstitious. By talking about it, everyone will be mentally prepared. Isn’t Yugoslavia promoting a split? There is also America’s Foster. In the past we had Ch’en Tu-hsiu, Lo Chang- lung, Chang Kuo-t’ao and Kao Kang promoting splits. Recently we had Li Feng, Sha Wen-han, Li Shih-nung, Sun Tso-pin, Ch’en Tsai-li. . . . also promoting splits. Peking’s political-legal system collapsed; the cultural-art system collapsed even more. What is bad about such collapses? There are always splits in the world. It is merely metabolism! Every year there are splits and every month there are splits, like the death of cells. There is unity every year and every month, like the growth of cells. The First, Second and Third Internationals all underwent the process of birth, development and death. The Information Bureau is no longer in existence. Now we can use the form of the Moscow Conference to replace it. By agreement of 12 nations, the Soviet Union serves as the convener and calls a meeting whenever necessary.

There are two kinds of opposites.

One includes things already in existence in society. The rightists, for example are in existence to start with; but whether to bring them out or not is a policy issue. We are determined to bring them out, set them up as opposites, launch the laboring people to debate and compete with them and knock them down. There are many rightists among the elementary school teachers, numbering 100,000 among the 300,000 rightists. The 300,000 rightist opposites exist and bringing them out to educate our 600 million people is beneficial to us.

The other includes what is not in existence in nature. It has some material conditions. To build a dam, for example, we can use artificial means to set up an opposite. The water level is raised to make it flow and produce a fall, resulting in power generation and shipping. Building a plant also involves setting up opposites. The An-shan Steel Mill was built by the Japanese. The Ch’ang-ch’un Motor Vehicle Plant is new, an opposite established artificially. What is absent in nature can be manufactured by man, but there must be a material foundation. The satellite in orbit is man-made. It can be placed in orbit when the law is found.

We are optimists. We are not afraid of splits, as they are natural phenomena. . . . The splits of Ch’en Tu-hsiu, Lo Chang-lung, Chang Kuo-t’ao and Kao Kang were helpful to us. The two Wang Ming lines and the three “leftists” lines during the civil war period taught our party a lesson. All these opposites had their benefits. Naturally, it is not necessary to create Ch’en Tu-hsiu, Kao Kang, etc., artificially. They will emerge when the climate is favorable. There is nothing to fear. We will overcome them.

Optimism is our main outlook. We also have worries. Can we not worry when the rightists emerge? I am somewhat worried. If we worry, then we must think of a way. We must give attention to leadership skill. With good leadership, a split will turn from something bad into something good. If it is foreseen, it may not come at all, like weeding. We will have no fear if 20,000 or 30,000 of our party members among the 12 million possess a higher consciousness. Higher consciousness means foresight. What is there to fear? Fear will do no good. We do not want to fight a world war, but if we have to, we are not afraid either.

Punishment as a deterrent, curing the illness to save the patient, we must permit the wrongdoers to correct themselves, such as P’an XX. Currently we are very united. Nothing is happening. Both the central and the local governments are very good. The anti-adventurist matters have been clarified and we have reached a new unity on a new foundation. Let us elaborate a little: We are optimists. We want to make everyone conscious and ready.

Among workers, peasants, soldiers, students, merchants and ideology, it is good for Heilungkiang to place ideology first, letting the abstract lead the concrete, politics lead the professions and the red lead the expert. Thus, the order becomes ideology, workers, peasants, soldiers, students and merchants. Stalin’s two slogans lack dialectics. If technology decides everything, what about politics? If cadres decide everything, what about the masses? Lenin said it well: The Soviet plus electrification equals communism. The Soviet is politics and electrification, technology. The combination of politics and technology creates communism. Politics and technology are the unity of opposites. Their wedding will produce a son.


The Fourth Speech May 23, 1958

Our congress has been successful. We have worked conscientiously and have formulated our general line. Conscientiousness is most important in whatever one does. As long as one is conscientious, one will find a way regardless of the difficulties. China’s population is the largest in the world and its land vast. The people have been liberated, the bourgeois democratic revolution has succeeded, the socialist revolution has achieved basic victory and construction has developed greatly. These accomplishments have enabled us to see into our future. In the past it was riot very clear. We did not know when we would extricate ourselves from the passive and backward situation. In the past we commanded no prestige or respect in the world. Dulles does not think much of us. It is not compatible with our position, but he does have his reasons. Though we have a large population, we have not yet demonstrated our strength. One day when we catch up with Great Britain and the U.S., Dulles will respect us and acknowledge our existence as a nation. Our policy is that we will not invite him as a guest, but if he should knock on our door, we would entertain him. Things were not very clear in the past several years, even as recent as the year before the last. There were still those opposing the general line and many doubted the policy of greater, faster, better and more economical results. This was inevitable, because it existed objectively. Many people doubted or opposed the building of socialism with better. . . . and more economical results. Some people could see the point, while others could not. Those who could not see the point must undergo some tortuosity. After a period of time, more people saw the point. The road is always tortuous; there will be twists and turns in the future. The congress adopted the general line to go all out, aim high and achieve greater, faster, better and more economical results. But it has to be proved in objective practice. Some of it has been proved in the past. The past three years w! ere like a saddle, high at both ends and low in the middle. The year before the last was high, last year low and this year high again. With such changes, the congress this time is successful. It reflected the people’s sentiments, demands and stamina in building socialism with greater, faster, better and more economical results. Such results were not very evident at the time of the third plenum [of the 8th central committee] in November 1956 but began to manifest themselves from the time of the third plenum in September 1957.

In the winter of 1956, two events were unexpected  —  the international antagonism toward Stalin and the Poland and Hungary incidents. An anti-Soviet and anti-communist high tide appeared in the world, affecting the whole world and our party. Domestically, we did not expect the resistance against adventurism or the international incidents. As was mentioned at the Ch’eng-tu Conference, all the comrades present here should pay attention to twists and turns that may still occur in the future. I hope all the provincial committees will study the situation and be ready. As I mentioned the last time, there is the possibility of war and there is the possibility of splits, but it doesn’t matter if we can foresee them. Everyone must study this matter. All provinces must further study the possibilities of war, splits. . . . because we will not be afraid if they are expected. Not that there is a war now, but there is the possibility. There are maniacs in the world. As discussed at the Moscow Conference, we must be prepared against the maniacs. Should there be war, they will be finished. Wisdom belongs to us. There may be trouble, but unjust forces will always be condemned and the just forces will always win, but we must foresee what’s coming. The party must also ponder. More than half of the provincial, municipal and autonomous regional committees had problems, no committee was overthrown, nor all the problems were overcome. They were numerous. Various regional, county and branch committees have more or less had some problems. It is a normal phenomenon of the class struggle. Some of the mistakes were made by good people, such as misunderstanding the greater, better, faster and more economical policy, others were a result of bad people infiltrating the party. XXX was a good man making mistakes. . . . Ting Ling was a bad individual concealed in the party. She has long ago revolted against the party.

I wish to discuss the problem of whom to follow. Whom should one follow first of all? First of all, one should learn from the people and follow them. The people have so much energy, better and faster qualities, many inventions and creations; they have first class cooperatives producing 1,000-2,000 catty per mou and above-norm industrial production. In general, there are all types of talented people in industry, agriculture, commerce, culture and education, military affairs and in the ideological and theoretical fields. There are so many experiences reported at this congress! I wouldn’t have been able to do that! You talk better than I do. You have correctly reflected the people’s demands, thinking and feelings. A more perfect system is formulated on the basis of correct reflections, such as the resolutions and reports of this congress. It was not like this before. It has taken eight years, especially the first-year plan and the 1956 great developments, for this change to come about. The year 1957 was like the low section of the saddle. The inspirations of the third plenum in 1957 gave the party and the people a clearer direction. After the effort of the entire party, we had the great leap forward of the recent half year, from last winter to this spring. The Hang-chou, Nan-ning and Ch’eng-tu conferences laid the groundwork for this congress and drafted summaries and resolutions. The 60 articles were undertaken, but they have not been completed. They are to be revised. But the general idea has been formed. They will be revised a few months later. Therefore, we follow the people first and later on the people follow us. Theory first comes from practice, and later on it is used to guide practice. The unity of theory and practice is Marxism. There was no Marxism to start with. It came to the people’s mind from their practice in class struggle. It was first reflected in the minds of the forerunners, Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin. The reflection of the objective law in the subjective ! world resulted in a theoretical summary, which was developed into theories by them to serve as our models. If political errors are to be avoided, then we must use theory to guide practice, but theory must originate from practice. Apart from objective practice, it will be impossible to form theory. No reality can be formed behind closed doors. The general line formulated at the congress is not the result of any spur of the moment ideas of certain individuals. Regardless of one’s position, authority and fame, if one does not go into the field and associate with the people, or contact the cadres who are close to the people and the positive elements in the people, if one does not contact or associate with the people for six months, one will know nothing and become impoverished. Therefore, the provision that everyone must spend four months out of the year in the field is necessary. One must go into the field and associate with the people, with the cadres who are close to the people and with the positive elements in the people, clarify their thinking, action and hardships and summarize them.

The slogan “go all out, aim high” is very good. It reflects the people’s energy. “Go all out” is better than just “go out.” There is an element of quantity in truth. The people’s energy has long been stimulated. The question is whether it is adequate. It should be at least 60-70 percent stimulated, but 80-90 percent or 100-percent is best. Therefore, “go all out” is a better term. Energy can be of different levels. “Go all out” is a new phrase. “Aim high” is not new. We have had it before. . . . .

“Go all out, aim high and achieve greater, faster, better and more economical results” are not easily understood by foreigners. They don’t seem to make sense, as there are no subjects. I had thought of adding the phrase “activating all positive elements” as the subject, but now I feel it’s all right not to have it. The 600 million people are the subject. The word “energy” is the energy of the absolute majority of the 600 million, except Chang Po-chun, Lo Lung-chi, Chang Nai-ch’i, XX, etc. The energy of those individuals may not be great.

Hoist the red flag and find the wind direction. If you do not hoist the flag, others will. On a big mountain or small hill, on the field, hoist it wherever there is no flag and uproot the white flag wherever it is found. The gray ones must also be uprooted. The gray ones are no good; they must be uprooted. The yellow flag is also bad. Yellow trade unions are equivalent to white flags. On any big mountain, any small hill, the red flag must be hoisted after debates.

The wind direction discussed last time does not mean policy direction. Wind direction means whether it is east wind or west wind. The “anti-adventurist” wind, for example, began to blow in June 1956. At that time we already had the 10 major relationships, greater and better results and promotion meetings. No clear resolution was made at the enlarged conference of the Political Bureau in mid-April participated by provincial and municipal committee secretaries. It was a gentlemen’s agreement, approved by everyone, but unlike the clear resolutions and reports of this congress. The second plenum held in November 1956 did not issue a clear-cut resolution, but only a report stressing practice economy in various measures. The blast of the wind was not checked, but it was a bad thing turning into a blessing, allowing us to make comparisons. This was mentioned in Nan-ning and Ch’eng-tu. Our comrades have made many good statements at this congress. . . . Tito specialized in being disappointed. His energy belongs to that side. The Moscow Declaration is the strength of our side. The Yugoslavia program checks the ambition of the proletariat and encourages the arrogance of the enemy.

We must pay attention to the wind direction hereafter. When a gale blows, houses and people are knowled down. Therefore, it is easy to recognize. But a light breeze is hard to discern. It is worthwhile to read Sung Yu’a poetry on the wind. He said there were two kinds of wind: The wind of the aristocrat and the wind of the poor (“the wind of the great kings” and “the wind of the common men”). There are small, medium and big winds. Sung Yu said: “The wind is born on the ground, rises from the tip of the water weed, permeates the streams and roars. . . .” Then it is hard to tell the difference.



[1.] Opium War: “For many decades, beginning with the end of the 18th century, Britain exported an increasing quantity of opium to China. This traffic not only subjected the Chinese people to drugging but also plundered China of her silver. It a roused fierce opposition in China. In 1840, under the pretext of safeguarding its trade with China, Britain launched armed aggression against her. The Chinese troops led by Lin Tse-hsu put up resistance and the people in Canton spontaneously organized the “Quell-the-British Corps”, which dealt serious blows to the British forces of aggression. In 1842, however, the corrupt Ching regime signed the Treaty of Nanking with Britain. This treaty provided for the payment of indemnities and the cession of Hongkong to Britain and stipulated that Shanghai, Foochow, Amoy, Ningpo and Canton were to be opened to British trade and that tariff rates of British goods imported into China were to be jointly fixed by China and Britain.

[2.] A celebrated 13th century drama.

[3.] Hu Shih, who was formerly a university professor, university president and ambassador of the Kuomintang government to the United State, is a well-known apologist for U.S. imperialism among Chinese bourgeois intellectuals.

[4.] Ssu-ma Chien (145-90 B.C.) was China’s first great historian, who compiled Shih-chi (Historical Records) relating the history of China from the origins to his own day.

[5.] Moscow conference: A reference to the meeting of Representatives of the Communist and Workers Parties of the Socialist Countries held in Moscow, November 14-16, 1957.

[6.] The Seventh Party Congress of the CPC was held in Yanan between April 23 and June 11, 1945. The congress laid down the Party line: go all out mobilize the masses, expand the people’s forces and, under the leadership of our Party, defeat the Japanese aggressors, liberate the Chinese people and build a new-democratic China. It adopted a Party Constitution designating Mao Zedong Thought, which integrates the Marxist-Leninist theories with the practice of the Chinese revolution, as the guideline for all Party work. This congress witnessed unprecedented Party unity ideologically, politically and organizationally.

[7.] The Long March of 25,000 li (12,500 kilometres) was made by the Red Army from Kiangsi Province to northern Shensi Province. In October 1934 the First, Third and Fifth Army Groups of the Chinese Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army (that is, the First Front Army of the Red Army, also known as the Central Red Army) set out from Changting and Ninghua in Western Fukien and from Juichin, Yutu and other places in southern Kiangsi and started a major strategic movement. In traversing the eleven provinces of Fukien, Kiangsi, Kwangtung, Hunan Kwangsi, Kweichow, Szechuan, Yunnan, Sikang, Kansu and Shensi crossing perpetually snow capped mountains and trackless grasslands, sustaining untold hardships and frustrating the enemy’s repeated encirclements, pursuits, obstructions and interceptions, the Red Army covered 25,000 li (12,500 kilometers) on this march: and finally arrived triumphantly at the revolutionary base area in northern Shensi in October 1935.

[8.] Ch’en Kung-po (1892-1946) left the Chinese Communist Party shorty after its foundation and joined the Kuomintang, becoming a close associate of Wang Ching-wei. He participated in Wang’s Japanese-sponsored puppet government during the period 1939-45 and was executed for treason in 1946. Chou Fo-hai also collaborated with the Japanese.

[9.] i.e., the period of Li Li-san and Wang Ming lines  —  See note 5 on p.61 of this volume.

[10.] A reference to the book Socialist Upsurge in China’s Countryside which was published in 1955.

[11.] The Wan Kuo-fan cooperative was once known as “paupers co-op” because its twenty three poor peasant households owned only “three legs” of a donkey. They were woefully short of means of production. Instead of asking for state loans, the cooperative organized its members to go into the mountains some thirty 1i away to collect firewood which they sold to pay for means of production. So the co-operative members said that they “made the mountains yield” a substantial amount of the means of production. In this connection also see comrade Mao’s “Editors Notes from Socialist Upsurge in China’s Countryside”. Item 1 and 28 pp. 242-244, pp. 265-266 S.W. Vol. V.

[12.] Ko Ching-shih (1902-65) a member of the Political Bureau.

[13.] Chang Fei, one of the heroes of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, a celebrated Chinese novel.

[14.] The movement against “five evils” was the struggle against bribery, tax evasion, theft of state property, cheating on government contracts and stealing economic information, started at the beginning of 1952 among owners of private industrial and commercial enterprises.

[15.] The Tsingtao conference was held in July 1957.

[16.] For Chen Tu-shiu see note 2, on p 60 of this Volume. Lo Chang-lung, (1901-49) was a founding member of the CPC. In 1931 he was expelled at the Fourth plenum. There after he joined hands with Ho meng-hsiong in setting up a rival CC. He latter became a Trotskyist.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung