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Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung

Conversation With Premier Chou
On Power Struggle


[SOURCE: An anthology without a title.]

Chairman: ‘How’s the power struggle? The Public Security Bureau is an instrument of the dictatorship.’

Premier: ‘It was taken over only about a day ago.’

Chairman: ‘ [We] ought to choose the typical cases.’

Premier: ‘The municipal [party] committee of the Bureau held a meeting and decided on several kinds of power struggle. Cadres belong to the faction in authority [who are]: 1. the “black gang” soaked through [with erroneous ideology] and therefore “black”; 2. the capitalist “roaders” in power; 3. those adamantly upholding the capitalist reactionary line; 4. those admitting some mistakes but leaving the rest intact; and 5. [among them] individual cases of the general mistake (the majority of the cases).’

Chairman: ‘Make the first two categories smaller and isolate and attack the smallest minority. Take-over is in itself a revolution, a creation of something new. According to different circumstances, there are five different ways. 1. Complete re-organization (as Chang Ch’un-ch’iao and Yao Wen-yuan [have done in Shanghai]). 2. After takeover, adopt different methods in dealing with the faction in authority. Criticize them while keeping them at work under supervision (according to the work assigned to them). 3. Suspend their posts but keep them at their work. 4. Dismiss them but keep them at their work. Or 5. cashier and punish them.’

Premier: ‘That is a good way  —  dismiss them, keep them at their work, but struggle against them. There will then be an opposition to help [us] to enlarge and strengthen our own ranks. To take on too much work [themselves] (referring to the revolutionary rebels) can only make them “passive” [slaves of work]. Keep them [the faction in authority] at their work and struggle against them. In the Academy of Sciences, the left have grown strong. Their work of “Get Down to Revolution and Encourage Production” is done very well. [But] they let the faction in authority sweep the street and after that [the reactionaries] just go to sleep. It is really cushy. [We] must not let ourselves be bogged down by routine business. ([We] must pay attention to this problem.) To take-over is a big thing which will touch off a chain of changes. It is a revolution. [We] must be clear about the aim of the take-over, about the problems involved in it, and about how to do it. [We] must know how to tackle [those] questions and must have concrete policies (e.g. how to deal with the staff of the bureaux, Ministries, departments, and sections.) [We] have seized power, but it may be snatched away [from us] again. In some organizations this tug-of-war may be a discipline in itself. [But we] must keep the power. This depends chiefly on the strength of the left. When the strength of the left is small, power may be snatched away from it again. [Therefore] the left must be strong. I support the power struggle. After it, [we] must get down to revolution and encourage production.’

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung