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Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung

Communes Are Better

August 9, 1958

[SOURCE: Extracted from the account of Mao’s inspection tour in Shantung on 9 August 1958, as reported in People’s Daily, 13, August, 1958]

Chairman Mao emphasized particularly that arrangements for all types of work must be the subject of vigorous and uninhibited debate by the masses. He said that if plans and directions were not debated by the masses, the ideas would be yours [i.e., those of the cadres]. After such debates, the masses themselves became the masters, and were naturally prepared to work more energetically. Chairman Mao emphasized once more that the leading cadres must go frequently to the lower levels to have a look, to aid the basic-level cadres in summing up their experience, and to give guidance on the spot. When T’an Ch’i-lung (Shantung provincial secretary) reported that Pei-yuan hsiang in Li-ch’en hsien was preparing to set up large [collective] farms, Chairman Mao said: ‘It is better to set up people’s communes. Their advantage lies in the fact that they combine industry, agriculture, commerce, education and military affairs. This is convenient for leadership.’

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung