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Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung

Talks With Directors Of Various
Cooperative Areas

November, December 1958

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

1.  Speech of November 30, 1958

No matter what the undertaking, the central and the local governments must coordinate the strips and the pieces. This is a rule of democratic centralism and the mass line method; otherwise it will not be successful. Is cold water being thrown on Li Fu-ch’un[1] this time? Plans must be positive and reliable, on a stable foundation. Encouragement is required. The people’s enthusiasm must not be checked, and the lessons of 1956 must be learned. In the local area, there is also the relationship between pieces and strips. The first secretary is the piece and the divisions of labor secretaries the strips. They must also coordinate. The first secretary must coordinate with the industrial secretary. The enthusiasm at the Peitai-ho Conference was for 30 million tons, of which 10 million was subjectivism. One does not know the difficulties of a thing without experiencing it. (Premier’s interruption: Definitely not mysterious; by no means simple. XX: The various areas may give further consideration to the iron and steel quotas. A little reduction will not affect the state plan. Steel, power, and communication should follow the second plan; other quotas the first plan.)

The Plenary Session of the Central Committee will be held on the 6th and 7th. Should the outline of the matter be discussed? We should follow the plan for a while and see what happens. We will decide by 1 July next year. Originally there was no plan for increased grain output, but after a few meetings, it was brought up. The “Eight-point Charter” for agriculture deals only with things on the ground, not in the sky (sunshine and air can not be controlled). The sky and the earth are the unity of opposites. Voluminous words are not required when it comes to good things. Lao-tzu wrote only a little over 5,000 words in his lifetime. Industry is different from agriculture. In industry, many factors affect one another through their mutual relationships. To develop steel, we must develop coal, electricity, etc. There can be no missing link. In agriculture, there are fewer factors affecting one another. There is the three-way alliance of the party, the masses, and the technicians. Experimental fields and high yields constitute a big liberation of mankind and mankind’s comprehension of nature. The three-three system has broken down many insurance coefficients. It is better to write it in. We must make the time more flexible and do some more revisions. In the majority of the areas in the nation, each person has about one mou.

The people’s commune should be discussed for two more days and the revisions completed. Many issues have been brought up to this time. Whether people’s communes should be established in the city has been answered. They will be established. In regard to the question of the militia and the family, Dulles accuses us of slave labor and the destruction of the family. Capitalism has long destroyed the family. For the sake of money, father disowns son. Now our society takes care of the old. “Take care of our old and thereby other people’s old; take care of our young and thereby other people’s young.” The wage disparity is rather great, around four fold or more. The peasants have the tendency toward egalitarianism, but there should not be too big a gap, nor should there be no difference. The wage disparity in the Soviet Union is too great. We cannot follow suit. In the future, what will a small wage amount to? What does 15 yuan amount to? It should be 30 to 45 yuan. When everyone’s wage is raised to several tens of yuan, there won’t be any difference. This is in regard to the rural areas. The disparities in the city may be a little more, which is necessary. In the city, the wages of Huang Yen-p’ei[2], Mei Lan-fang[3], and the professors should not be cut. In the future, when social products become more abundant and the low wages are raised and get closer to the high wages, we will be entering communism. In regard to “to each according to his labor” and “to each according to his need”, how do we equalize? It goes from low to high.

Let us spend a half day to discuss the question of work style. Currently, the main problems are coercion and false reporting. Tsao-yang Country did not eliminate illiteracy, yet it reported wiping out illiteracy. In coercion, there are two types of people: One type consists of alien class elements and the other idiots. Just how many are there practicing coercion and issuing orders? One per cent, five per cent, ten per cent? In December this year or January next year, all areas must hold a party congress to discuss the question of work style.

Two major questions arose in the latter half of this year; one is the people’s communes, the other is taking steel as the key link. Everyone is a little tense; regulations are now being formulated to ease everybody’s mind. The document on people’s communes was prepared at the Chengchow Conference. Plans for the meeting were carefully made. The East Chine [Bureau] is deteriorating. In the past such conditions were unthought of. It has coal, but it is not being shipped out.

In regard to the 1959 farm output, the grain output this year is 750 billion catties; next year there will be an increase of 300 billion catties, reaching 1,050 billion catties and averaging over 1,500 catties per capita. With three years of hard struggle, we will reach 2,000 catties per capita. There should also be some tuber crops. This year let us practice the policy of reporting less than the amount and make some allowances. Cotton output this year is reported as 67 million piculs. Next year there will be 100 million piculs. Just how much is the grain output? Has it been doubled more or less? Probably it is better to record a 90 percent increase. On the question of food to eat, should no allowances be made, or should some allowances be made? Next spring will there be areas where the people cannot get three meals a day? Kwangtung issued an order to have three meals a day. The people of Shangung say that they are now eating thin pancakes. What will they do next spring? At present we cannot determine just how much grain we have. Should we eat less now and more later? All areas should discuss it.

In the international situation, Khrushchev held a press conference and did some manipulation on the Berlin issue. If you do not let go, then I will. Khrushchev also knows how to create a tense situation. Let us also create some tension, so that the West will ask us not to do so. Let the West fear tension, because it will be to our advantage. After the publication of the official report of the Sino-Soviet conference, Taiwan held an emergency meeting. But the Taiwan issue was not discussed at all at the conference. The holding of the four-power summit meeting was cancelled reportedly because of China’s influence, but actually it was not mentioned at the conference either. It is safe to travel a long distance? Stalin’s nerves were not sound and never went anywhere before. All kinds of information has proven that imperialism has adopted a defensive posture, not an offensive one. In his statement of the 18th, Dulles said: “If you communists promote the people’s commune, then do not go beyond that sphere. If you mind your own affairs and do not interfere in things beyond yourselves, we will feel at ease. You do not bother me; I do not bother you.” Dulles says that we promote slave labor and totalitarianism, and that we have excessive reserve. He says that reserve is that which is left after deducting wages from total income. He calls such as reserve capital. Colonialism – nationalism – communism is Lenin’s formula. Read Dulles’ statement of the 18th carefully. He admits our large reserve and organizational strength. Philosophically he cannot beat us. His words are low-toned. He does not mention the brink of war or strength and position. He is relatively systematic. He is America’s helmsman. The English are sly and cunning. The Americans are relatively short-tempered. The English constantly make strategic and tactical moves. Dulles discusses the five big issues in the world: nationalism. bipolarism, atomic energy, outer space, and communism. He is a t! hinking man. To read his statements, one must study it word by word and resort to the English dictionary. At the World Order Study Conference, 37 million religious disciples issued a letter urging the recognition of China. Dulles says that churches can only decide on ethical principles, but cannot get involved in the details.

Are the eight viewpoints discussed at the Pei-tai-ho Conference intelligent? Yes. The North Atlantic Treaty is an attack on nationalism and domestic communism (the emphasis in to attack the intermediate zone, Asia, Africa, and Latin America) and defense against the socialist camp, unless another Hungarian Incident occurs. However, in our propaganda it is another matter; we must still claim that it is an attack. We must not be hoodwinked by our own propaganda. Lippmann wrote an article saying that it was not an attack, but he could not convince the Soviet people. Who is more afraid of whom? Lippmann advocates building up India to resist us. It seems that they are afraid of us, afraid that we will fight for leadership in Asia and Africa, afraid of our economic high tide. Tension, in the final analysis, is advantageous to us. De Gaulle made his appearance. He would have to appear anyway. His appearance is detrimental to the French proletariat. It is better for the U.S. army to withdraw from the Middle East sooner or is it better later? Only a little over a month and they are all gone, indicating that they have withdrawn. It was good for Taiwan to fire artillery shots, for otherwise the militia could not have been organized so quickly. The boycott, joining the UN, peace, war, and the atomic bomb issue: to whom are they more beneficial? It is better to be afraid or better not to be afraid? Make up one’s mind: to not be afraid is better. Discuss the matter together and one will not fear ghosts. Dulles likes war. Being criticized is a false appearance, not the true essence. Dulles is the true helmsman. The provincial committees must appoint special persons to read Reference Materials.

Khrushchev is too cautious, too unbalanced. He is lame in one leg. He does not walk with both legs. For their livelihood, the people get 200 rubles, slightly higher than us. Soviet heavy industry is too big and too centralized, disregarding the local areas. It stresses administration and lacks the mass line.

The meeting this time is rather long and rather relaxed. Mainly two documents have been concentrated on. Many people inside and outside the party still fail to understand the paper tiger issue. Some people say that, since it is a paper tiger, why don’t we attack Taiwan; why should we advocate catching up with and surpassing Great Britain? I wrote a short article to explain this issue. It is both real and false. The temporary appearance is real, but in the long run it is made of paper. We have always maintained that we must give it serious attention tactically but regard it with contempt strategically. This holds true in the struggle against nature as well as in the class struggle. Eliminating the four pests, wiping out illiteracy, reforestation and [wiping out] schistosomiasis; they cannot be realized in one year, but require several years.


2.  Speech of December 12, 1958

1. Regarding the Official Report. The West may possibly fall apart. It looks as if it will, but one cannot be sure. The European continental block is to deal with Great Britain and the U.S., but its internal conflicts are many. There are conflicts between Germany and France, and also between Great Britain and the U.S. They unite together and struggle against each other simultaneously. Stalin predicted war within capitalism. We have long ago said so. In our article written in 1946, we discovered the buffer zones between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The struggle for the buffer zones is the major aspect. Why fight the Soviet Union instead of the buffer zones? Under the name of anti-communism, they promote the policy of aggression. If the buffer zones are attacked, it will create resistance by the buffer zones, and with the vastness of the buffer zones, they cannot come over. This includes the U.S., France, Germany, and Italy. Asia, Africa, and Latin America are their rear areas. There are troubles in Europe, Asia, and Africa. So, how can the U.S. come out and fight the Soviet Union?

The object of exploitation is man. Only by exploiting man can the earth be exploited. Only with man can there be soil; only with soil can there be wealth. If man is killed; what’s the use of occupying soil? I don’t see the reason for the atom bomb. Conventional weapons are still the thing. We think that as long as the atom bomb is not dropped, Germany, France, and Italy will acquiesce, and many nations will not fear the U.S. Can there be a treaty whereby there is mutual agreement not to use the atom bomb? With the existence of monopolistic capital, it is impossible not to have war. This is because of the lack of raw materials and markets.

The assessment of the international situation in the Official Report: Imperialism will definitely disintegrate, and there will be war within itself. Nixon says: To promote economic competition, India must be built up. How can India be built up? A pessimistic atmosphere covers the West; ours is a joyous one. The term “disintegrating” must be weighed. It is the truth, but once it is said, will it alert them? But then there is no other way. The U.S. wants to force liberal elements into Taiwan. There is tension in Iraq. A large number of counter-revolutionaries were arrested in the past few days, but the outcome has not been decided. Mainly, the U.S., Great Britain, Turkey, and Iran are forming a conspiracy. (Why did Khadjamu disband the labor union? I wonder why Iraq’s intelligence is so efficient?)

2. The three documents have been drafted. In regard to the resignation issue, there has to be an “idol”.[4] A class must have a class leader. The Central Committee must have first secretary. Without the atom as the nucleus, there would not be rain. Rather than chaos after death, it is better to have chaos now, while the persons is there. It will be impossible to be without a nucleus. There must be consolidation. After a while, an “idol” emerges, and it becomes relatively difficult to eliminate [him]. This is a psychological condition of long standing. In the future, my duties may increase or decrease, be elevated or lowered. Actually, I am only serving as half a chairman, without charge of daily affairs.

In regard to the 1959 plan, let’s work on it for a couple of months first. We will meet again in the middle of February.

How are the people’s communes? The provincial and municipal committee secretaries meeting will be held on 1 February, either in Peking, or Ch’eng-to or Shanghai.

Hong Kong newspapers berated Chiang Kai-shek for “hastily bidding farewell to the ancestral shrine and fleeing to Taiwan.”

The People’s Congress will be held on 15 March.

At the 1 February meeting, besides examining the two resolutions, it is necessary to reorganize the state structure. The People’s Congress report must be prepared, and the education issue discussed. We need more internal directives for the people’s communes.

Has the people’s commune violated the constitution? The issue of integrating politics and the commune, for example, was not passed by the People’s Congress, nor is it in the constitution. Many parts of the constitution are obsolete, but it cannot be revised now. After surpassing the U.S., we will formulate a written constitution. Now we are imitating the U.S.; what we have is an unwritten constitution. The U.S. has an unwritten constitution; it is put together article by article.

To enter communism, 15 years, 20 years, or an even longer period is required. To accomplish the socialist system of ownership by all the people may take at least three or four years, during the second five-year plan, or as long as five or six years, during the third five-year plan.

3. The people’s commune document must be further revised here and there and reconsidered. Three days, including the 15th, 16th, and 17th, will be spent on the revision. On the 18th the Official Report will be published and the issue of the Chairman’s resignation announced. The resolution on the people’s commune will be published on the 19th.

If there are more questions on the issue of the Chairman’s resignation a telephonic conference may be held again for clarification.

4. I made a mistake at the Pei-tai-ho Conference. Concentrating on the 10.7 million tons of steel, the people’s commune, and the bombardment of Quemoy, I did not think of other things. The Pei-tai-ho Conference resolution must now be revised. I was enthusiastic at that time, and failed to combine revolutionary fervor and the practical spirit. The two were combined at the Wu-ch’ang Conference. The resolution must be revised. Walk on both legs, with Russia’s revolutionary fervor and Amercia’s practical spirit.

Ch’en Chieng-ming is colluding with a county tax bureau chief in Tung-chiang. Select one of them as the bureau chief, and then change in two months.

It still boils down to two sentences: “The important and the unimportant, the urgent and the non-essential; they must be put in perspective. Self-reliance [depends on] small indigenous groups.” Horizontally on top is “political supremacy.”

A meeting must be held in the afternoon. Announcements must be issued. Dictatorship is required. The provincial committee secretaries must know what to do. [China] is after all backward. Since we were already backward, what difference does it make to remain so for a few more years? The provincial committee secretaries must consider all angles and give consideration to the whole situation. The idea of the whole country as one chessboard must be combined with local enthusiasm. When there are still conflicts, the national interest must come first. Giving consideration to the whole is the supreme ethic, and having it, one will not suffer a loss. Anyone not giving consideration to the whole will suffer a loss. Yang I-ch’en did not give consideration to the whole situation but attempted to take advantage of the occasion and knock down Chou and Ch’en. All those wishing to do such things are merely picking up a rock only to drop it on their own foot. There are those who give consideration to the whole situation. All those failing to give consideration to the whole situation in history did not come to a good end, such as Yang I-ch’en, Kao Kang and Lo Chang-lung.

Be prepared to suffer a wrong and give consideration to the whole situation. How much Marxism-Leninism did Yang I-ch’en possess? Not one iota.

Some provinces are extremely poor. It does not matter if they remain poor for another few decades, but actually they will not remain poor for that long.

Sacrifice ourselves and help others. Hung-niang stood outside at night and was beaten. What was it for?



[1.] Li Fu-ch’un (1899- ), a Hunanese, has been a long-time close associate of Mao Tse-tung. He worked with Mao at the Peasant Movement Training Institute in 1925-6, and is married to Ts’ai Ch’ang, the sister of Mao’s best friend, Ts’ai Ho-sen. He has been Chairman of the State Planning Commission since 1954.

[2.] Huang Yan-pei, see note 2, p 19 of this volume. [Correction: note 19, p 12 of this volume. – Transcriber, MIA]

[3.] Mei Lan-fang (1894-1961) was one of the most famous and celebrated actors of Peking Opera.

[4.] A reference to comrade Mao’s proposal that he will step down from the Chairmanship of the PRC.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung