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Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung

Examples Of Dialectics

(Abstracted Compilation)


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

1. To Understand Analysis is to Understand Dialectics

To understand analysis is to understand dialectics. Lenin said dialectics could be summed up as the doctrine of the unity of opposites. Such being the case, the core of dialectics can be grasped immediately. But it is necessary to explain and develop this doctrine. The unity of opposites is conditional, temporary, transitional, relative and mutually exclusive. On the other hand, the struggle of opposites is absolute, just as development and movement are absolute. Therefore, balance is temporary and can be disrupted and it is our responsibility to acquire balance more steadily with each passing day. As far as a person of ability is concerned, it does not depend upon whether or not he could have prevented the Hungarian and Polish incidents from arising, but upon whether or not after the incidents had arisen he had the ways and means to resolve the problems.


2. Dialectics is to Present Two Methods for Comparison in Everything

The integration of the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism and the specific practice of China is materialism. Both are the unity of opposites, which is dialectics. Why insist on arguing? It is simply to avoid discussing dialectics. The Soviet Union has its own way of doing things. The Soviet experiences are one side and China’s practice is also one side. This is the unity of opposites. The Soviet Union should pick the good ones from among its experiences and follow them, pick the bad ones and discard them. To isolate the Soviet experiences and not integrate them with the Chinese practice is not to pick the good experiences and follow them. If one publishes a newspaper and argues in the same way as Pravda, which is not analytical, he will be like a 3-year-old child, which needs support everywhere, inasmuch as it has lost its independent thinking. In everything, it is necessary to present two methods for comparison. This is dialectics. Otherwise, it will be metaphysics.


3. Dialectics is to Study the Main Trend and the Side Issues, the Essence and the Outward Appearance

Dialectics is to study the main trend and the side issues, the essence and the outward appearance. In contradictions there are principal contradictions and secondary contradictions. In the past, such errors as anti-venturesome advance arose because we did not grasp the principal contradictions and the essence and tried to solve the secondary contradictions as principal contradictions and because we took the side issues as the main trend and did not grasp the essence. The State Council and the Political Bureau of the Central Committee held meetings and solved many isolated questions, but they did not grasp the essential questions. At this meeting we brought up many questions from the past for consultation and resolution.


4. To Examine a Question It is Necessary to Consider the Essence and the Main Trend

Marxism tells us that to examine a question, it is necessary to consider the essence, the main trend and the line. This is to see whether or not he builds socialism at home, opposes imperialism internationally and works for internationalism within the socialist camp. These three items constitute a line. As members of the Chinese Communist Party, we also are a party, which opposes imperialism and is for socialism and internationalism. So are the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries. These aspects manifest the essence of the Marxist-Leninist line. We can make a comparison to see if they are steadfast or not. Take Tito. Is he steadfast? It seems to me that all three items are Lacking in the things that he does. He does not want any part of anti-imperialism. He is always talking about how good American imperialism is and how bad the Soviet Union is.


5. The Unity of Opposites and Mutual Transformation

All provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions should call meetings once every two months to review and sum up their work. They should call small meetings of several persons or a dozen or so persons. In the coordination and cooperation aspect they also can hold a meeting every two or three months. Many changes can occur in a movement and it is all the more necessary to exchange information. The meetings are for the purpose of harmonizing the rhythm of production. Work and production should have rhythm. One wave comes in as another crests. This is the unity of the opposites of high speed and low speed. Wave-like advances under the General Line of going all out, aiming high and achieving greater, faster, better and more economical results is the unity of the opposites of high speed and low speed, as well as the unity of opposites of labor and rest. If there are high speed and labor only, it will be one-sided. If it is labor alone and no rest, then how can it be! In doing anything there has to be a period of high speed and a period of low speed. In fighting a war in the past, there had to be periods of consolidation, replenishment and rest between two campaigns. It would be impossible to fight one campaign after another. In fighting a war there also has to be a tempo. The Central Soviet Area was 100 percent Bolshevized. “It objected to consolidation and advocated resoluteness, fearlessness, firmness and daringness, pressing forward in victory and making a direct attack on Nan-Ch’ang[1].” How is it possible? Hard battle and rest and consolidation are the unity of opposites. This is the law. They also are mutually transformable. There isn’t anything that is not mutually transformable. High speed turns into low speed and low speed turns into high speed. Labor turns into rest and rest turns into labor. Rest and consolidation and hard battle are also like this. Labor and rest and high speed and low speed also have identity. ! Rest and consolidation and hard battle also have identity. Getting out of bed and going to bed are also the unity of opposites. An old saying goes: “He who has slept for a long time thinks of getting up.” Sleeping transforms into getting up and getting up transforms into sleeping. Opening a meeting transforms into closing a meeting! Once a meeting is opened, it immediately embraces the factor of closing the meeting. This is just what Wang Hsi-feng[2] meant when she said: “Though awnings were put up for a thousand li, there never was a permanent feast.” Lin Tai-yu was deeply moved when the feast ended and the guests dispersed. This was metaphysics. It was from ignorance of the objective laws that when there is a gathering there must be separation. Wang Hsi-fang did not try to seek the favor of Lin, but she said: “Though awnings were put up for a thousand li, there never was a permanent feast.” Nevertheless, that was dialectics. This is the truth. It cannot be decided by man. It should be decided by whether it is the truth or not. After a meeting is closed, problems pile up and transform into opening a meeting. After unity has been implemented for a while, there will be a difference in opinion and it will transform into a struggle. When differences arise, disunity begins anew. It is not possible to have unity every day or every year. When unity is talked about, then there must be disunity. Disunity is unconditional. Sometimes there still is no unity even when unity is talked about. Therefore, it is necessary to do something in order to attain unity. To talk all the time about unity, and never about struggle, is not Marxism. Unity must go through struggle before unity can be attained. This is the same within the ranks of the party, class or people. Unity transforms into struggle and again into unity. One cannot talk about unity alone without talking about struggles and contradictions. The Soviet Uni! on does not talk about contradictions between the leadership and the led. Without contradictions and struggles, there will be no world, no development; no life, no anything. To talk all the time about unity can be likened to a pool of stagnant water. It is dreary. We must break down the old basis of unity, go through struggle and attain unity on a new basis. Which is better, a pool of stagnant water or the endless flow of the streaming waters of the Yangtze River? The party is this way and so are the people and the class. Unity-struggle-unity. Then there will be work to do. Production transforms into consumption and consumption transforms into production. Production is for the sake of consumption. Producers are not merely for the sake of other workers, but they themselves are also consumers. Marx said that production implies consumption. Production and consumption and construction and destruction are the unity of opposites and mutually transformable. The production of the whole country is for the sake of consumption and the renovation of equipment and installations over a few decades. Seeding turns into harvesting and harvesting turns into seeding. Seeding is to use up seeds. After seeds are sown, they will grow into seedlings. If no seeds are sown, there will be no seedlings. After harvesting, new seeds are sown. Life and death are also mutually transformable. Life transforms into death and lifeless things transform into living things. I maintain that henceforth celebrations be held for people who passed away at over 50 years of age. This is because people inevitably will die. It is a natural law. Grains are annual plants. Every year they live once and die once. Moreover, the more they die, the more they grow. If pigs are not slaughtered, they will become fewer and fewer. Who is going to feed them? The Soviet Union’s “Concise Dictionary of Philosophy” takes upon itself to differ with me. It says that the transformation of life and death is metaphysical and that the transformation of wa! r and peace is erroneous. Who is right after all? Please ask if living things are not transformed from lifeless-things, whence do they come? The earth is composed of inorganic matters and organic matters. All living organisms are converted from nitrogen, hydrogen and 10 other elements. Living things invariably are transformed from lifeless things. Sons transform into fathers and fathers transform into sons. Females transform into males and males transform into females. Direct transformation is not possible. But after marriage when sons and daughters are begotten, is that not transformation? The mutual transformation of the oppressed and the oppressor refers to the relationship between landlords and capitalists on the one side and workers and peasants on the other. Of course, by oppressor we mean the ruling class, not the people. We are talking about class dictatorship and not about individual oppressors. War transforms into peace, and peace transforms into war. Peace is the opposite of war. When there is no war, it is peace. When hostilities break out at the 38th Parallel, it is war. Once war stops, it is peace again. Military affairs are a special kind of politics. War is an extension of politics. Politics is also a kind of war. At any rate, quantity transforms into quality and quality transforms into quantity. Dogmatism is intense in Europe. Since the Soviet Union has some shortcomings, transformation is absolutely necessary. Likewise, if we do not make good, we also will transform. If at that time our industry becomes the first in the world, we will possibly be cocky and become rigid in our thinking. Infinite transforms into finite, and finite transforms into infinite. Ancient dialectics transforms into medieval metaphysics and medieval metaphysics transforms into modern dialectics. The universe is transformable. So is society. Capitalism transforms into socialism and then communism. Communism also will transform itself. It also has a beginning and an end. To be sure, it will be divided into stages. P! erhaps it will be given another name. It will not be fixed. If there is quantitative change only and no qualitative change, it will act contrarily to dialectics. There is nothing in this world that does not go through emergence, development and extinction. Ape changed into man and man emerged. The ultimate outcome of mankind as a whole is extinction. Man will possibly change into another kind of thing. By then the earth will no longer exist. The sun will have cooled. Even now the heat of the sun has cooled considerably, as compared with ancient times. In the glacial period, changes occurred every 12 million years. When the glaciers came, living things died in great numbers. Under the South Pole there are deposits of coal. Thus it can be seen that it was very hot there in ancient times. In Yen-ch’ang County, fossils were dug out bearing traces of bamboo of the Sung Dynasty. In ancient times, bamboo was grown in Yen-ch’ang. Now it won’t grow there.

Things invariably have a beginning and an end. There are only two infinites: time and space. Infinites are composed of finites. All kinds of things develop and change gradually.

To talk about all this is to make us think and enliven our thought. It is very dangerous to immobilize one’s brains. Leading cadres and cadres at central, provincial, regional and county levels are all very important. All systems included; there are several hundred thousand cadres. They have to think more. They should not always read classical works, but rather set their brains into motion so as to enliven their thinking.


6. Correct Line is Formed in the Course of Struggle with Incorrect Line

Mistakes will still be made. It is impossible not to make mistakes. To make mistakes is an indispensable prerequisite to the formation of a correct line. A correct line is spoken of in regard to an incorrect line. The two of them of are the unity of opposites. A correct line is formed in the course of struggle with an incorrect line. To say that all mistakes are avoidable and that only accuracy is free of mistakes is a viewpoint which violates Marxism-Leninism. The question is making fewer mistakes or making smaller mistakes. Accuracy and inaccuracy are the unity of opposites. The two-point theory is correct, while the single-point theory is incorrect. Historically, there is no such fact as only accuracy being free of mistakes. It is merely to deny the unity of opposites. This viewpoint is metaphysical. If there were only men and no women, or denied [the existence of ] women, what would we do? It is possible to strive for making the least mistakes. Making fewer mistakes can be, and should be, done. Both Marx and Lenin were able to do it.


7. Things will Invariably Head Toward Their Opposites

Things will invariably head toward their opposites. The dialectics of Greece, the metaphysics of the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance. It was a negation of negation. China was also like this. The contention of one hundred schools of thought in the period of Warring States was dialectics and the classical learning of the feudal times was metaphysics. Now we have returned to talking about dialectics, is it not? Comrade Fan Wen-Lan, you are well acquainted with this. The way I look at it is that after 15 years, our tail will definitely be wagging in the air. Of course, because things will head toward their opposites, I cannot but exert my utmost efforts. Even if big-nation chauvinism emerges in the future, it will also head toward its opposite. If there is one correct thing that will substitute for big-nation chauvinism, what is there to fear? It is not possible for all socialist countries to become chauvinistic. Lenin’s dialectics Stalin’s metaphysics and present-day dialectics. All this is also a negation of negation.


8. There is Tension and There are Relaxation and Consolidation

There is tension and there are relaxation and consolidation. It won’t do to have continual tension. There ought to be tension and relaxation. Overworking is no good. Overstraining won’t do. Red and expert schools are being organized extensively in Hopeh and Honan provinces. This is very good. But everything is too intense. People doze off in class. Teacher are also tired, but they don’t dare to doze off. We must be both fast and slow. If there were tension without relaxation, even [Emperors] Wen and Wu [of Chou Dynasty] would not have been able to continue for long. If there were relaxation without tension, Wen and Wu also would not have been able to continue for long! Both Emperor Wen and Emperor Wu were saints! But still, they would not have been able to do it. There is tension and there is relaxation. There is unity and there is struggle. It won’t do to have unity only and no struggle. We must struggle against the doubting Thomases and those who advocate settling accounts after the fall, but our purpose in so doing is for unity. What Ah Q feels most deeply about is that he has been refused permission to make revolution. It is not good to criticize him persistently and not help him to reform. Firstly, struggle; secondly, assist. We must be good-hearted. It is bad not to have a good heart or to beget an evil desire, which is nothing more than down with you and let me take over. Is it better to have one man too many or one man too few? To have a few more people is better. We must bring all positive factors into play.


9. Transformation of Opposites

China has an advantage. It is poor and blank. This also has a dual character. Being poor means revolution is necessary. It is not good to have only limited knowledge. But it is comparable to a sheet of white paper. One side has been written on. There is not much more writing to be done. The other side has not been written on. It is blank. There is much writing to be done. For after a few decades we will be able to catch up with foreign countries.


10. The Question of Death and Life Struggle

The question of death and life struggle. There has been 10,000 years of death and life struggle. Should death be held in check or not? It won’t do to have no deaths. It won’t do either to have nothing but deaths. Like the steel quota, the dead guarantee the key point, while the living stay beyond the key point and do not obstruct it. The system of free public care includes both the dead and the living and takes care of everybody. The two aspects of death and life are centralization and decentralization, which unite and have both. Precisely, the system of free public care is the unity of the contradictions between death and life. That is the principle of assuming arbitrary power and decentralizing some of it.


11. Truths and Fallacies are Contradictory; Accuracies Result from Struggles with Inaccuracies

Truth and fallacies are contradictory. Accuracies result from struggles with inaccuracies. Beauty and ugliness are contradictory. If there are no good people, there will be no bad people. If there are no bad people, there will be no good people. If there are no very good people, there will be no very bad people. Fragrant flowers and poisonous weeds. We are not afraid of poisonous weeds. When they have overgrown, everybody will come and dig them out. Truths are developed from struggle with fallacies. In the course of these struggles good people increase in number and bad people decrease. What are poisonous weeds? I once put the question to Bulganin. Over 100 years ago, tomatoes were poisonous weeds in Europe. I have also said that many historical personalities like Jesus Christ, Galileo, Copernicus, Martin Luther and Sun Yat-sen and Communist Parties have been considered by people as poisonous weeds. This class may take something as poisonous weeds, while that class may be convinced that they are fragrant flowers. John Foster Dulles, for example, was a fragrant flower of the American bourgeoisie, but people of the whole world regarded him as a poisonous weed. What is Chiang kai-shek? He was fragrant for a time. During the Great Revolution he was fragrant. During the War of Resistance people shouted, Long live Chiang kai-shek. Generalissimo Chiang is an old friend of mine. All this is the unity of opposites, the struggle of opposites. Only when there is comparison can a distinction be made and development materialize. When there is no comparison, how is it possible to develop and create? Marxism-Leninism has been developed in the course of struggle with the bourgeoisie.


12. Establish Opposites

There are two kinds of established opposites. One kind has originally existed in society. For example, the rightists. Whether we let them loose or not is a question of policy. When we decided to organize a frank airing of views, we let them out to serve as opposites and mobilized the laboring people to debate with them, oppose them and knock them down. There were many rightists among primary school teachers. Of the 300,000 rightists, primary school teachers consisted almost one-half. Opposites did exist in the persons of the 300,000 rightists. We have let them loose so as to educate the people and enable the people to analyze them. The other kind of established opposite does not exist in nature, but it possesses material conditions. For example, after building a dam, we can employ artificial methods to establish opposites so that the level of the water can be raised or lowered to generate power or to sail a boat. Putting a factory into operation is also an artificially established opposite. The An-shan Steel Mill was constructed by the Japanese. The Ch’ang-ch’un Motor Vehicle Plant was new. It is an opposite established by the people. What nature does not have can be built artificially, but there must be a material basis. Satellites are launched into space artificially. They can be sent into space once the laws governing them are found. We are objectivists and are not afraid of secession, because secession is a natural phenomenon. It seems to me that the secession of Vyacheslav M. Molotov was to the advantage of the Soviet Union, the secessionist endeavors of Ch’en Tu-hsiu, Lo Chang-lung, Chang Kuo-t’ao and Kao Kang were to our advantage and the Wang Ming line once and again and the “left” deviationist line thrice during the civil war period have educated our Party. These many opposites all have their advantages. Of course, it is not necessary to create Molotov, Kao Kang or Ch’en Tu-hsiu artificially. As long as there is that certain climate he will emerge. Th! ere is nothing to fear, though. We must overcome them. So-called optimism is our principal aspect. We also have our worries. When the rightists emerged, could anybody not have worried? I was a bit worried. It was necessary for me to talk about the art of leadership so as to turn a bad thing into a good thing. If earlier one had the foresight he could have prevented it from occurring or after it had occurred, turned it into a good thing. We will not be afraid if among the 12 million Party members there are 20,000 or 30,000 who possess awareness and foresight. What is there to be afraid of, anyway! It won’t do to be afraid! We will strive for not having to fight a world war. But if we have to fight, we will not be afraid. The general policy is: “To take warning from the past in order to be more careful for the future; to treat the illness in order to save the patient.” We must allow people who have made mistakes in line to correct those mistakes. Today we are very much united. Everything is calm. All is well in the center and locally. We have now resolved the anti-venturesome advance problem and attained new unity on a new basis.


13. To Establish Opposites is Very Important

The initiative of the masses exists objectively. It is very important to establish opposites. If we allow the rightists to turn loose or speak up, it is according to plan. We do this in order to establish opposites. After the Rectification Campaign, some comrades overlooked rectification and remolding and laid stress on big-character wall newspaper and the 2-anti movement [against waste and conservatism] for the purpose of establishing opposites. So-called opposites can only be established if they are things which exist objectively. Things, which do not exist objectively, cannot be established as opposites.


14. Listen to the Opinions of Opposites

To respect materialist dialectics is to encourage debate. We must listen to the opinions of opposites, raise questions and expose the opposites.


15. Study Questions of Dialectics

I don’t know which comrade brought up at the Chengchow Conference the question of “Big Collective and Small Freedom.” Anyway, it is very good. If it were “Big Freedom and Small Collective,” John Foster Dulles, Huang Yen-p’ei and Jung I-jen would have welcomed it. We have to grasp production and livelihood as well. This is the unity of opposites. To walk on two legs is also the unity of opposites. All this belongs to the domain of dialectics. Karl Marx’s theory concerning materialist dialectics made great progress in our country in 1958. For example, under the prerequisite of giving priority to the development of heavy industry, we have carried out the simultaneous development of industry and agriculture, of heavy industry and light industry, of national industries and local industries, of big, medium and small-sized enterprises, of small indigenous groups and large modern groups and of indigenous and modern methods. Then there is the system of administration  —  central unified leadership and local level-to-level administration. Authority must be distributed among all places from the central government down through provinces, regions, counties, and communes to production teams. It is not beneficial to give them no authority at all. These several conceptions have been affirmed in our Party and this is very good. Small indigenous groups and large modern groups are also being promoted simultaneously. There still are medium modern groups. Are T’ang-shan and Lien-yun-kang, for example, not medium-sized? Are there small modern groups? Yes, there are. Besides there are modern-indigenous integrated groups. In a word, this is very complicated. Some countries in the socialist camp will consider these things as illegitimate and not permissible. We permit them. In a country such as ours, which is poor in the extreme, it is very well to organize some small indigenous groups! It will be too monotonous to concentrate on organizing large modern groups. In! agriculture, it is also very complicated. There are high yields and low yields. High and low yields exist simultaneously. The policy of “three thirds system” now being implemented extensively in cultivation was a creation of the masses. It was grasped by the Pei-tai-ho Conference, which set forth one-third of the land for growing food stuffs, one-third of the land for lying idle, and one third of the land for growing trees. It is possible that this will be the trend of agricultural development. The Pei-tai-ho Conference also came out with an “Eight-Point Charter for Agriculture”  —  irrigation, fertilizer, soil improvement, seeds, close planting, crop protection, reform of farm tools and field management. Irrigation means water. Man can’t do without water. Likewise plants can’t do without water.

With regard to social systems, there are in the socialist stage two kinds of ownership which exist side by side and are the unity of opposites. Collective ownership contains the factors of communist ownership by all the people. Yu-chin recently said that China is correct in presenting the viewpoint that collective ownership contains the communist factors and that the Soviet Union’s collective ownership and ownership by all the people also contain the communist factors. Capitalist society does not permit organizing the mode of production of the socialist collective, but the communist factors should be allowed to grow in socialist enterprises under the leadership of communist parties. Stalin was wrong in rendering absolute the three kinds of ownership, namely collective ownership, socialist ownership by all the people and communist ownership by all the people and describing them as distinctly separate. Will the above constitute the development of dialectics or not?

The Chengchow Conference put forth the slogans, “Big Collective and Small Freedom.” and “Grasp Production and Grasp Livelihood.” This is an extension of dialectics. The Wu-ch’ang conference brought up the question of combining enthusiasm with scientific analysis. In mapping out a plan, which can be blowing hot and cold, one needs to have not only great determination and zeal, but also considerable scientific analysis. Of course, it will not be possible for this resolution to resolve all our problems. It seems that it is better to delay proclamation of this resolution for a while. We will issue only a communiqué for now. Next year, in March, we will make public the resolution at the National People’s Congress. In this way it will be consistent with our determination and zeal on the whole. It will avoid certain impractical notions conceived as a result of the Great Leap Forward in 1958. It will be more authoritative and more analytical scientifically. For a time I was in favor of producing 30 million tons of steel next year. Upon arrival in Wu-ch’ang, I thought it was not such a wonderful idea after all. Until then I was worried only about the question of whether there was a need and had not considered the question of whether it was possible. Later, I took the question of possibility into account. This year the output of 10.7 million tons has already been a great strain on us. The production of 30 million tons next year, 60 million tons in the year after that, and 120 million tons in 1962 is a deceptive possibility and not a realistic possibility. Now we should cut down the fixed production quota a bit and not set it so high. We should make some allowance and let the practice of the masses exceed our plan. This is also a question in dialectics. The practice of the masses also includes the efforts of us leading cadres. If we set the quota a little lower and practice raises it, it is not opportunism. After liberation, steel production doubled again and agai! n. In this world, from of old this had never happened. How can it be called opportunism? Here there is an international link. The socialist camp led by the Soviet Union is linked up with the international solidarity of the working class of the whole world. On this question we must not try to be the first in line. Nowadays, some counties are struggling somewhat for precedence. In fact, if we must be the first to enter into communism, it should be the An-shan Steel Mill, Fu-shan, Liaoning Province, Shanghai or Tientsin. It seems shameful for China to be the first to enter into communism. Besides, whether there is a possibility or not is also a question. The scientists of the Soviet Union number 1.5 million, highly qualified intellectuals several million and engineers half a million, all more than the United States. The Soviet Union already has 55 million tons of steel, while we still have only this little tiny bit. Their accumulation is ever growing, while we have just begun to build up. That is why possibility is also a question. Khrushchev has served notice that the Soviet Union prepares to enter into communism 15 years from now and that the two kinds of ownership will be merged into one gradually. This is a very good thing. Even if it is possible for us to be the first to enter into communism, we should not do so. The October Revolution was Lenin’s undertaking. Are we not all learning from Lenin? What is the sense of hurrying? It is nothing but an attempt to go to Karl Marx and ask for a reward. If that is the case, we will probably commit a mistake on an international question. This also is a problem. We should talk about mutual benefit.. Dialectics has been developed substantially and it immediately involves this problem.


16. It is Necessary to Adopt Dialectical Methods to Treat Our Comrades

In treating our comrades, regardless of who they are, so long as they are not hostile or subversive elements, we should adopt an attitude of unity and dialectical methods instead of metaphysical methods. What is meant by dialectical methods? It means that we must analyze everything and that we must acknowledge that man invariably will make mistakes and not negate his everything because he has made mistakes. Lenin once said that there is not even one person in the whole world who has not made a mistake. I have committed many mistakes. These mistakes have been useful to me and have educated me. Any one person needs the support of others. “A good fellow still needs three helpers, a bamboo fence still needs three posts.” This is a Chinese proverb. Another Chinese proverb has this to say: “Although the water lily is well and good, it still needs green leaves to lend support.” You, Khrushchev, although your water lily is well and good, it still needs green leaves to lend support. I, X X X, my water lily isn’t well and good, it needs green leaves to give support all the more. We in China have yet another proverb, which goes something like this: “Three cobblers with their wits combined can equal Chu-ko Liang, the master mind[3].” We are dealing with collective leadership. A lone Chu-ko Liang just isn’t complete and will always have shortcomings. To me it seems an ill-advised attitude to call oneself omniscient and almighty like God. Therefore, what attitude should we adopt toward comrades who have committed mistakes? We should be analytical and adopt dialectical methods and not metaphysical methods. Our Party had previously bogged down in metaphysics  —  dogmatism  —  by completely destroying those people whom it did not like. As time passed, we criticized dogmatism and learned dialectics bit by bit. The basic viewpoint of dialectics is the unity of opposites. After acknowledgi! ng this viewpoint, what are we to do with a comrade who has made mistakes? Firstly, we will conduct a struggle to criticize thoroughly and eradicate completely his erroneous ideology. Secondly, we will help him. One, to struggle; two, to help. Starting from this, we will help him to correct his mistakes so that he will have a way out.

It will be different to treat another type of people. People like Tito and China’s own Ch’en Tu-hsiu. Toward them there is no way to adopt a helpful attitude, because they are beyond remedy. People like Hitler, Chiang Kai-shek and the Czars are also incorrigible and there is nothing to do but knock them down. This is because, as far as we are concerned, they are not of a dual nature, but of a sole nature. In the final analysis, it is also like this with regard to the imperialist and capitalist systems. In the end, they will certainly be displaced by the socialist system. The same with ideology. We will substitute materialism for idealism and atheism for theism. This is strategically speaking. Tactically, it will be different. It will be necessary to make compromises. In Korea, on the 38th Parallel, did we not make compromises with the Americans? In Vietnam, did [we] not make compromises with the French? In every tactical stage, we must be skilled in conducting struggles and at the same time in making compromises. Now let us go back to the relationship between comrades. I suggest that where there is estrangement between comrades, they should start negotiations. Some people appear to believe that once they enter into communism they will all become saints, with no disagreement and no shortcomings. When one cannot make analysis, that is to say when he is like an iron plate adjusted to uniformity, there is no need for negotiations. It looks as if once we enter into communism, it won’t do unless we are 100 percent Marxists. In reality, there are various shades of Marxists. There are 100 percent Marxists, 90 percent Marxists, 70 percent Marxists, 60 percent Marxists, 50 percent Marxists. Some people are only 10 percent or 20 percent Marxists. Can we or can we not hold negotiations within a small circle, say, between two or among several persons? Can we or can we not negotiate, starting from unity and in the spirit of helpfulness? These of course are not negotiations with the imperialists, b! ut negotiations within the ranks of communist people. This time, are we and 12 other countries conducting negotiations or not? Internationally, are 60 plus parties conducting negotiations or not? They are in fact conducting negotiations. This is to say that under the principle of not prejudicing Marxism-Leninism, we should accept some of the acceptable opinions of others and discard some of the discardable opinions of our own. In this way we will have two hands. With one hand we will struggle against at a comrade who has made mistakes and with the other hand we will talk about unity with him. Struggle is for the purpose of standing resolutely for the tenets of Marxism-Leninism. This is one hand. The other hand is to talk about unity. Unity is for the purpose of giving him a way out and making compromises with him. This is called flexibility. The integration of the matter of principle and flexibility is a tenet of Marxism-Leninism. This is the unity of opposites.

No matter what world, particularly a class society, of course, it is always full of contradictions. Some people say that it is possible to “find” contradictions in a socialist society. To me it seems this interpretation is incorrect. One cannot say, “find” contradictions, when the world is full of them. Nowhere do contradictions exist. No person cannot be analyzed. If a person is regarded as unanalyzable, then it is metaphysics. You look at the inside of an atomic bomb. It too is full of contradictions and unities of contradictions. There is the unity of the two opposites of atomic nucleus and electrons. Inside the nucleus there are the opposites of neutrons and protons. Inside a proton there are protons and anti-protons and inside a neutron there are neutrons and anti-neutrons. In a nutshell, the unities of opposites are endless. Concerning the viewpoint of the unity of opposites and dialectics, we have to carry on extensive propaganda. Our dialectics should leave the circle of philosophers and go into the midst of the broad masses. I suggest that we discuss this problem in political bureau meetings and central committee plenary sessions of the communist party of every country and at different levels of local party committees. As a matter of fact, our branch secretary understands dialectics. When he prepares to make his report to the branch congress, he often writes down two points on his small notebook. The first is merits, the second defects, which is one dividing into two. This is a universal phenomenon. This precisely is dialectics.


17. The Relationship Between Right and Wrong

Within the party, or outside the Party, we must distinguish between right and wrong. An important question is how to treat people who have made mistakes. The correct attitude is to allow everybody to make revolution. When he has made a mistake, it is necessary to adopt the general policy of “taking warning from the past in order to be more careful for the future and treating the illness in order to save the patient,” and help him to correct his mistake. “The True Story of Ah Q” is a fine piece of writing. I would advise those people who have read it to reread it and those who have not read it to read it carefully. In this story, Lu Hsun wrote about a backward and unconscious peasant who feared most the criticism of others and would quarrel with anyone who criticized him. On his scalp there were ringworm scars in some places. Ah Q himself did not want to talk about these scars and was afraid that others would talk about them. The more he acted like this, the more people would talk. In the end, Ah Q would be put on the defensive. However, Lu Hsun specially wrote a chapter under the heading, “Barred from the Revolution,” in which Magistrate Chao was said to have prevented Ah Q from making revolution. Actually, what Ah Q called a revolution was merely to loot a few things for himself. But Magristrate Chao would not even let him make revolution in this way. As to comrades such as Huang I-feng and Chang Hsiu-yun who have committed mistakes, some people say that we will have to see whether they reform or not. I say that it won’t do just to see. We still have to help them to amend. This is to say, firstly, to see and secondly, to help. The ideology of people who have not been “helped” sufficiently cannot be correct. If people make mistakes and you take pleasure in their calamity, then it is sectarianism. This is where Kao Kang had his fall, head over heels. He fabricated things such as a four-man clique and two market stalls. Assuming that these w! ere true, what he should have done was firstly, to see, and secondly, to help. But he was not ready to do that. In the end, he fell down so hard he could not get up again. As far as the revolution is concerned, it is always better to have a few more people. Aside from a handful who persevere in mistakes or have a share in them whenever mistakes are made, the majority of people who have committed errors can be rectified. They are exactly like people who obtained immunity after being afflicted with, say, typhoid fever. As long as they are good at drawing lessons from mistakes in the future. On the contrary, people who have never made mistakes are especially prone to them, because they are too cocky. We must take note that if one excessively rectifies people who have committed mistakes, it often ends up having himself rectified. If we sincerely treat people who have made mistakes, we can gain popular support and solidarity with the people. Whether a hostile attitude or a helpful attitude is adopted m the treatment of comrades who have made mistakes will be a criterion by which to distinguish the good-hearted form the black-hearted people; The general policy of treating the illness in order to save the patient is the general policy uniting the whole Party. We must hold fast to this general policy.


18. The Question of Ten Fingers

It is permissible to arouse emotions, but not to give vent to them. Sometimes, due to inexperience, we cause the masses to suffer setbacks For a time, mistakes occurred on a number of questions. Examples: There were people who said too many cooperatives had been organized and wanted to chop off 10,000 of them. The two-wheeled double-share plow was given a bad name in the South. Now take the lewd poetry of a lecherous man for instance. Sung Yu attacked one point and came up short of the rest. The method is not good. But it was with this method that the rightists attacked us. A person has 10 fingers. If a boil appears on one of them, he will have to ask a doctor to treat it. He cannot chop it off. The other nine fingers are still good. Frequently, when people see that one finger is injured, they will say all ten fingers are defective. The rightists have attacked us in this way. However, good people sometimes also look at it the same way and there are such people in the Communist Party. Be they members of the Communist Party or democratic parties or business circles, or be they highly qualified intellectuals, the majority of people can make progress. Even the rightists, the majority of them can become good again. If you don’t believe in the majority, then you have lost confidence. And it is not good to lose confidence in the cause of the people. Today, 70 percent to 80 percent of the university students come from families of the exploiting class. But rightists constitute only 2 percent to 3 percent of these students. Aside from individual cases, these students will not be expelled from school. By employing such a policy, we can reform them.


19. The Question of Nine Fingers and One Finger

Our comrades often are confused by their 10 fingers. Whenever something goes wrong, they will forget the 10 fingers. When shortcomings appear within the ranks of the labouring people, it is a question of nine fingers and one finger. When our comrades make mistakes, it is also like this. Here I am not talking about Ku Ta-ts’un, Li Shih-nung, P’an X X, Ch’n Tsai-li and Li Feng. Comrade Wu P’u-chih made a very fine speech. Why did the Anhwei provincial delegation not talk about Li Shih-nung in its speech? The Chekiang provincial delegation did talk about Sha Wen-han, but not enough. They should offer their valuable opinions and let everybody share their experience and knowledge. Why did they not talk about these people? These people are not a question of one finger and nine fingers. Sha Wen-han is a man with 10 black fingers. So is Ch’en Tsai-li. Li Shih-nung has nine black fingers only one of his finger’s is clean. Comrades who have made mistakes and to whom I have referred as people with nine and one fingers, wavered in stormy times, but are now seeing clearly. I do not mean these people. We should unite with activists at various lavels and protect them and persist in protecting them. Although they have made mistakes, they are activists. They were afraid of blaming themselves during the full and frank airing of views. If we insist on shielding them, then every thing will be all right. Their mistakes are only one-tenth. In the Rectification Campaign we should persist in protecting these cadres. The question of protecting the cadres is mentioned in the documents of the Tsing-tao conference. As in the past, contradictions within the ranks of the laboring people are by and large a relationship between nine fingers and one finger, individual cases excepted. Of the bourgeois middle-of-the roaders, those in dead center are bourgeois things with five and five fingers, those left of center are bourgeois things with six to seven good fingers and those right of center are bourg! eois things with six to seven black fingers. They have opposed the ideology of the people for so long that they cannot wash themselves clean all at once and need cleansing over and over again. Bourgeois ideology will still seek restoration. There will be no big restoration, but small restoration is quite likely. Lo X X said that counter-revolutionary restoration would still come and mentioned the mass line. He spoke well. Indeed, the bourgeoisie are also capable of stirring up a storm. Some of our comrades will still waver in the face of a grade 12 typhoon. The moment unrest sets in, restoration will follow. But the whole party has gone through another year of tempering with the experience of last year and should be able to sit tight in its fishing boat in spite of the wind and the waves. During the Polish and Hungarian incidents we did not have any problem. And although last year’s storm was so big, our boat did not capsize. Some people say that our editorial entitled “Why Is This?” was written a bit too soon. It wasn’t too soon. If we had waited longer, some of the leftists would have rotted. As a matter of fact, after December last year, we still exposed among the primary school teachers over 100,000 rightists, who constituted one-half of the 300,000 rightists all over the country. They were then making frenzied attacks on us. Didn’t somebody say that after Chang and Lo delimited the rightists clearly, they would not attack us any more? They attacked just the same. As long as the temperature reaches a certain degree, these things will be let out in the same old manner. Don’t forget nine fingers and one finger. We precisely forgot this question during the anti-venturesome advance movement of 1956. We must not look at a problem in its essence. We should draw a lesson from it.


20. The Question of 10 Fingers

The question of 10 fingers. Man has 10 fingers. We must enjoin the cadres to be good at learning how to distinguish nine fingers from one finger, or the majority of fingers from the minority of fingers. There is a difference between nine fingers and one finger. This thing looks simple, but many people don’t understand it. We must publicize this viewpoint. There is a difference between general situation and local situation, between generally and individually and between main trend and side issues. We must be mindful of grasping the main trend. If we grasp the wrong thing, we will certainly fall head over heels. It is a question of recognition and a question of logic as well. We say one finger and nine fingers, because it is a more lively way of speaking and more in conformity with our work conditions. Unless mistakes arise in the basic line, we have always netted major achievements in our work. However, this way of speaking does not apply to some people. For example, almost all the 10 fingers of rightists, many of them ultra-rightists, have rotted. Among the students, the majority of ordinary rightists have more than one rotting fingers. But then not all of their fingers are rotting. That is why they still can remain in school.

“Attack one or several points, exaggerate as much as possible and come up short of the rest.” This is a metaphysical method, which is divorced from actual conditions. It was the method used by bourgeois rightists when they launched their frenzied attacks on socialism in 1957. Historically, our Party suffered great damage through the use of such a method. It was during the time when dogmatism reigned supreme. The Li Li-san line was also like this. Revisionism or right opportunism also employed this method. The Ch’en Tu-hsiu line and the Wang Ming line during the war of resistance against Japan were like this. In 1934, Chang Kuo-t’ao also used this method.


21. Dialectics is to Approach Problems Through Opposites and Unity, Hence in a Comprehensive Way

Life and death, war and peace are antagonistic and contradictory. Nevertheless, there is an inner connection between them. Hence, these opposites sometimes can be united. In our approach to problems, we cannot just look at one side. We should make a comprehensive analysis in order to see through its essence. Thus, so far as judging a person is concerned, it cannot be that all at once he is all good or he is all bad with not even one merit. Why is our Party correct? It is because we can start from objective conditions in assessing and resolving all problems. In this way it can be relatively complete and not absolute.


22. Theory of Uninterrupted Revolution and Theory of Revolution by Stages

The development of cooperatives requires that progress be made in wave-like fashion  —  one wave succeeding another with a trough in between, like a valley between two peaks.

The leadership should trim the sails according to the wind and adapt to the circumstances. And when conditions are unfavorable, they should immediately apply the brakes. At an opportune moment they should compress the people’s heads, which is a necessary thing to do when heads swell. Some people ask whether we have need of concern or of taboos and commandments. Of course, we have need. We have need of the necessary concern and the necessary taboos and commandments. Chu-pa-chieh (Pigsy) [character in the Ming dynasty novel, “The Pilgrimage to the West”] also has three taboos and five commandments. We have need of the necessary rest, the necessary pauses, the necessary braking or closing of the gate. The method to be tried when people start wagging their tails in the air is to set forth new tasks for them, like the quality emulation drive we are now putting forward, so that they won’t have time to feel haughty.


23. Onesidedness is of Dual Nature

There are two kinds of onesidedness: dogmatism and opportunism (revisionism). Lu Ting-i has said so in an article. Dogmatists want to affirm everything and are 100 percent Bolshevik. Later we did some checking. After 10 years (1935-1945), they almost went out of existence. Dogmatists exist in China, as well as in foreign countries. To render onesided Marxism-Leninism, they explain it from metaphysics. About work, they let you talk about the good side, but not the bad side. You can only praise, but not criticize. In the “Encirclement and suppression of Wang Ming”, I also gave a magnified account of the facts. Now let us lift the encirclement to relieve Wang Ming. There were defects in his writings, but could he not criticize bureaucratism like he did, or talk about people in official circles? In the past we definitely had much knowledge in talking about class struggle. But we also generated some over-simplification and administrative decrees. Earlier, due to urgency in organizing revolutionary struggles, we certainly could not spend a lot of time in discussions to find a solution to problems. That was our mode of action in the period of power seizure. Some comrades have cultivated this working style. It is easy for them who have had only this kind of experience and known only this mode of action, especially those who have engaged in army work for a long time, to commit such faults. The encirclement and suppression of Wang Ming was the same as the Liberation Army transferring a few regiments to encircle the enemy in battle. The other kind of one-sidedness is to “negate everything”  —  negate the undertakings of the workers and peasants, negate the struggle of several hundred million people so as to make them lose confidence and render everything dark. This does not correspond with facts. That everything is well in the colossal task of building socialism also does not correspond with facts. Chung Tien-fei did a good thing in exposing the shortcomings in cinema work.! We must take care to correct all the shortcomings that have already been exposed, but we must point out the one-sided ones. The article by Ch’en Ch’i-t’ung and three others have been mistransmitted. Today, I must say this to their face. I disagree very much with that article. I have said that their loyalty in trying to safeguard the interests of the Party and of the working class is sentiments of hatred against poisonous weeds. But after only several months of “blooming” there have appeared Wang Ming and other monsters and freaks. The opinion is expressed that achievements are few and mistakes are many. “Reporting to my lord, something, disastrous has happened! A ghost has appeared!” Conditions are such that it certainly doesn’t look like its going to reach the end of the day. Now, this is an incorrect appraisal of the situation and an expression of doubts about the general policy of the Party. The method followed here is over-simplification. It doesn’t have the power to persuade. The method used to criticize Wang Ming is the “brief shock” method. It leaves people who read it unconvinced. I am unconvinced. I have so far not made the acquaintance of Wang Ming. Nor does he have marriage relationships with my sons or daughters. But I am unconvinced. Dogmatism and opportunism are two kinds of one-sidedness. One affirms everything and the other denies everything. Both dogmatists and opportunists are metaphysical. However, we must help them to correct their mistakes. This is not just their personal problems. They represent a great number of people. There are dogmatists and opportunists among Communist Party members. Is there none outside the Party? There are dogmatists as well as opportunists among five million people. Within the Communist Party there are “leftists” and rightists. This means there are dogmatists and opportunists. Some people say that in writing it is impossible not to be one-sided. There is something to this stateme! nt. What I have just said is a lot of Marxist thought, which demands that everybody discard one-sidedness. This is not possible. Also it does not conform to reality. As a matter of fact, in making criticism, everybody speaks out in accordance with his own experience and standing on one side. But on the other hand, one-sidedness goes against dialectics. Can we or can we not ask that a little more dialectics be used? It is possible or not to popularize dialectics gradually so that more dialectics will be used gradually. I think it can, and should, be done. Day by day, year by year, there will be more people, more writers and professors, who take a more comprehensive approach to problems. That is why I say the existence of one-sidedness is a fact. But I ask that one-sidedness be overcome gradually. Is it so or not there will be one-sidedness in the future? There still will be. There will be one-sidedness even after 10,000 years. We have to popularize dialectics and dialectics has to be developed. In a word, I ask that dialectics be popularized step by step so that we will have 600 million dialecticians. With regard to affairs within the ranks of the people, it is necessary to analyze and to reason, not to rely on name calling, but to practice dialectics. In writing, we must be persuasive. Also, we must not give ourselves bureaucratic airs or act in a bureaucratic manner, considering that we are heads of a ministry or bureau or department. These notions we must discard. We must forget we are officials; we must be on an equal footing with everybody. Your post may be high, but still it won’t do when you make a mistake. Wasn’t Stalin’s post high enough? It wouldn’t do when he made a mistake. Some people put on the airs of a veteran by saying: “When I was making revolution, you were still crawling under the table!” If you employ that line, people won’t like to hear it. As dialectics increases little by little, metaphysics decreases little by little. This will get rid of ! one-sidedness gradually.


24. Two Kinds of Onesidedness

Within the ranks of the Communist Party there are all sorts of people. There are Marxists, who comprise the greater majority. They also have shortcomings; but these are not serious. A portion of the people harbor dogmatic misconceptions. For the most part, these people are loyal and devoted to Party and country. Only their method of approach to problems is one-sidedness of the “left.” When they have put a stop to this kind of one-sidedness, they will have taken a big step forward. Another portion of the people entertains right opportunist or revisionist misconceptions. These people are relatively dangerous, because their thinking is a reflection of bourgeois ideology within the Party. They hanker after bourgeois liberalism and negate everything, and their relationship with the bourgeois intellectuals in society is extremely complicated. For several months now, people have been criticizing dogmatism, but have omitted revisionism. Dogmatism should be subjected to criticism. If dogmatism is not criticized, many misconceptions cannot be corrected. Now we should begin to see to it that revisionism is criticized. Dogmatists may head toward the opposites, that is either Marxism or revisionism. In the light of the experience of our Party, more dogmatists will head toward the former, while only isolated cases will head toward the latter. This is because they are an ideological faction of the proletariat, which has been affected by the frantic viewpoint of the petty bourgeoisie. Some of the “dogmatists” who were attacked were in fact people who have made mistakes in their work. Some “dogmatists” who were attacked were in fact Marxists; they were attacked by certain people who wrongly took them for “dogmatists.” Real dogmatists have a reason to feel that “left” is better than right. The reason is that they want to make revolution. However, in terms of factual losses of the revolution, “left” is not better than right. Therefore, it should be ! corrected resolutely.


25. The Question of Red and White Joyful Events

—  Sudden changes are the most fundamental laws of the universe  —

The question of red and white joyful events. When in the past we spoke of coping with possible sudden great changes, we were referring principally to questions of war or disruption within the Party. The Chinese people term weddings as red joyful events and funerals as white joyful events. It seems that there is something to it. The Chinese people understand dialectics. Because they will have children after getting married, mothers will split off three or two, or even as many as ten or eight of them, much the same as an aircraft carrier splits off airplanes.

Too many children are also no good. When a human being gives birth to a human being, it is a joyful event. One becomes two, two becomes four. As to death, people will cry ever it and hold a funeral ceremony. It is also a joyful event. Man invariably will die. If Confucius were still alive and attending the meeting here at Huai-jen T’ang (Hall of Benevolence), he would have been over 2,000 years old. That would have been bad. Dialectically speaking, it is incorrect and metaphysical to have no deaths. When there is a disaster, it should be called a kind of natural phenomenon. Sudden changes are the most fundamental laws of the universe. Birth is a sudden change and so is death. If Chiang Kai-shek dies, we may clap our hands. If John Foster Dulles dies, we will shed no tears. But when new things die, like the defeat of the 1905 Russian revolution or the loss of our basses in the South, then it is no good. When seedlings are brought down by a storm or hail, this of course is no good, because the question of replacing the seedlings immediately arises. Our Communist Party hopes that things will . . .


26. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


27. The Question of Two Possibilities

The question of two possibilities. Will messhalls, nurseries and communes be able to consolidate or not? It seems that they will be able to consolidate. But we also must be prepared against some of them collapsing. Two possibilities  —  consolidation and collapse  —  exist simultaneously. If we are not prepared, we may fail utterly. Our resolution is to make it possible for them to consolidate. If some of them do not collapse, then consolidation work cannot be done well. For example, several children have died in the nurseries and several elderly people have died in the happiness homes. When happiness can no longer be found in the happiness home, in what way are they still superior? A group of messhalls also will fail if they serve their rice cold or serve rice without the dishes that go with it. To think that none of them will fail is not in agreement with reality. They fail because of mismanagement. This is very reasonable. On the whole, failure will be partial and temporary. The general trend is development and consolidation. Our party also has two possibilities. One possibility is consolidation and the other is splits. when in Shanghai, one central committee was split into two. During the Long March, Chang Kuo-t’ao again split one central committee into two. Kao Kang and Jao Shu-shih represented a partial split. Partial splits are frequent. Since last year, splits have occurred within the leading groups of one-half of the provinces in the country. Inside a human body cells die off every day. From childhood on this phenomenon occurs. Only in this way can growth be benefited, If there are no deaths, man can no longer survive. If man does not die, then that is not possible. Death can be of benefit; fertilizer can result from it. Partial splits exist every day. Total extinction is also a historical inevitability. All in all, both party and state, which have served as the tools of class struggle, must perish. But before the historical task of the Party is completed, ! it is a question of consolidation. We do not hope for splits, but we should prepare against them. If we are prepared, we will possibly avoid big splits. Big and medium splits are temporary. The Hungarian incident was a big split, while the Kao and Mo incidents were medium splits. Every party branch is undergoing a change. Some members are being expelled, some are being admitted. Some are doing a very good job, some are committing mistakes. It is impossible not to ever undergo a change. Lenin often said that a thing invariably has two possibilities: either victory or extinction. Our People’s Republic of China also has two possibilities: victory after victory or extinction. Since Lenin did not conceal the possibility of extinction, the People’s Republic must not deny such a possibility. We do not have an atomic bomb in our hands. If the enemy occupies Peking, Shanghai and Wuhan, we will go into the mountains and engage in guerrilla warfare. We will go 10, 20 years backward and return to the Yenan period. Therefore, we must make vigorous preparations, exert our energies to produce tens of million tons of steel within three or four years and establish an industrial base so that we will be more consolidated than now. At present our name is quite famous throughout the world. One, because of the shelling of Quemoy; two, because of the People’s Communes; and three, 10.7 million tons of steel. It seems that because of these several things, our reputation is great. But our strength is not. We are still poor and blank. We have acquired tool of an inch long in our hands, and we have accomplished not a thing, though we now have an inch of iron, our country is actually weak. Politically we are a powerful country. Economically and militarily we are a weak country. That’s why the task before us is to transform from weakness to strength. We must exert our energies to undergo a change for the better in three years time. Within three years we can bring about only a partial change, and not a basic ch! ange. After another four years, which makes it seven years altogether, everything will be better and our reputation will correspond to reality. Now our reputation is great and our strength insignificant. This we must understand thoroughly. Don’t start walking on air the moment you are praised by a foreigner or the moment you open a newspaper and see that it is full of accounts of our soaring enthusiasm and our miraculous doings. In fact, good steel amounted to only 9 million tons. Rolled steel production should be figured at 30 percent less, hence only 6 million tons. We must not deceive ourselves. A lot of grain was produced. After reductions have been allowed, the production in all places was 860 billion catties. We have said it was 750 billion catties. This is to say that they turned up a little more after poking here and there. The 110 billion catties which they turned up have not been taken into account. Nobody suffers if we really have but do not take into account those 110 billion catties. Things will still be there. We were only afraid of being without and so we made a reduction. Granting that there were 860 billion catties, allowances should be made for one-fourth of the output being tuber crops. We might as well make this clear. A meeting should be held in every province, region or county to discuss this problem. Some people don’t like to hear what I’m saying. But I insist on talking about this very unfortunate thing. Whether it is the collapse of the communes or public messhalls, splits in the Party, divorce from the masses, occupation by the U.S., extinction of the nation, or engagement in guerrilla warfare, we have a Marxist law, which takes care of everything. And that is, all these unfortunate things are temporary and partial. Historically, our many defeats have proved this point. During the Long March, the reduction of our forces from 300,000 in number to a little over 20,000 and that of Party members from 30,000 to a few thou! sand were all temporary and partial. The extinction of the bourgeoisie and imperialism is permanent, however. The setbacks, defeat or extinction of socialism will be temporary because it will be restored before long. Even if restoration is defeated, it also will be temporary. After the great revolution of 1927 was defeated, we took up arms again to fight a guerrilla war. “Unforeseen wind and clouds may appear in the sky suddenly. Fortune or misfortune may befall man ’tween morn and evening.” All of us must be prepared. “From of old, men of seventy years have rarely been seen.” Man invariably will perish. A person always will die. He cannot live to 10,000 years. Man should prepare to set his affairs in order before he dies. This is all gloomy talk. All men will die. But mankind as a whole will grow and flourish. If die we must, we will die. As for socialism, we still want to occupy ourselves with it for a few more years...


28. Two Kinds of Practical Possibilities

There are two kinds of practical possibilities. One kind is realistic possibility and the other kind is unrealistic possibility. If one now wants to go to the planet Mars, it is an unrealistic possibility. However, it can be a realistic possibility in the future. Possibilities are of two kinds. If it is possible to transform into reality, it is realistic possibility. The other kind of possibility is something that is not possible to transform into reality. Like dogmatism in the past, was it not 100 percent proof? Was it not discarded everywhere? It seems to me that not marrying until production per mou reaches 800,000 catties is also an unrealistic possibility.


29. Wave-like Advance is Inevitable

Economic construction is not something which does not have the slightest forward and backward movements, but which advances surely and steadily. Construction also can be sometimes a little more in volume and sometimes a little less. A horse gallops sometimes a little faster, sometimes a little slower. Sometimes, one mounts the horse, sometimes he dismounts it. Such conditions are completely possible. This is because, firstly, we are inexperienced, and secondly, our economic construction devolves on circumstances. For example, economic construction was possibly completed at a somewhat faster rate in the past, because conditions of war existed at that time. If war is imminent, then it is imperative that we develop heavy industry on a greater scale. Economic construction proceeds in wave-like fashion with its ups and downs, and one wave chasing another. This is to say that there are balance, disruption, and balance restored after disruption. Of course, wave-like advances cannot be too big. If too big, suddenly it will become a venturesome advance and suddenly it will become a conservative advance. Nevertheless, it is inevitable that economic construction will follow the law of wave-like advances and make progress. If you acknowledge this point, then it will no longer startle you when we make a venturesome advance this year and perform a little less next year. That is all there is to it. Taking it as a whole, our first Five-Year Plan was correct.


30. Everything Has its Unity and Independence

Now let us talk about the question of the independence of every factory under centralized leadership. Everything has its unity and independence. Man also has his unity and independence. Now that this meeting is going on, it is unity. After the meeting is over, it is independence. Some people will go for a stroll, some will go and read a book, some will go and have their meals. Everybody has his independence. A sense of discipline and a sense of non-discipline are mutually contradictory things. It is necessary to have a sense of discipline as well as a sense of non-discipline. It is necessary to have collectivism as well as “liberalism.” If we do not give an individual his post-meeting independence, a sense of non-discipline and “liberalism,” but continue the meeting without break or end, will the people not all die? Therefore, every factory, every cooperative, every person must have its or his independence  —  an independence that is linked up with unity. We must look after workers in the factories and all peasants in the collectives. This is a big problem, one which concerns 600 million people. We must call the Party’s attention to this.


31. We Want Unity and Also Specifics

We Want Unity, we also want specifics. Each place must have its specifics which are suited to local conditions for the purpose of bringing local initiative into full play. Such specifics will not be Kao Kang’s kind of specifics, but specifics in the interests of the collective and indispensable to the strengthening of national unity.


32. We Should Have the Proper Initiative and the Proper Independence

We should all have the proper initiative and the proper independence. Provinces, regions, counties, areas and townships should all have them. The Central Government should not grasp the provinces and municipalities too tightly, and in turn, the provinces and municipalities should not grasp the regions, counties, areas and townships too tightly. All that can be united should, and must, be united; all that cannot be united should not be united and must not be united by force. The different regions should fight for this right and not be afraid of being given the label of localism. This kind of fight for a right proceeds from the whole interests of the country and not from local interests. It cannot be called localism. Independence sanctioned by the Central Government is proper independence. It cannot be called assertion of independence.



[1.] A reference to the ‘leftist’ line in the CPC during the early 30’. In this connection see “Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of our Party” S.W., Vol. III, pp. 177-220 (1965, Peking).

[2.] A character in the novel Story of the Stone.

[3.] Chu-ko Liang (1818-234), prime minister of the Shu Han or Minor Han dynasty, was one of the most famous military strategists of ancient China. He is a central character in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and was, as Mao says, known throughout his career for his great prudence and foresight.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung