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Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung

Twenty Manifestations Of Bureaucracy

February, 1970

[SOURCE: Joint Publications Research Service, (Washington, DC)]

1.  At the highest level there is very little knowledge; they do not understand the opinion of the masses; they do not investigate and study; they do not grasp specific policies; they do not conduct political and ideological work; they are divorced from reality, from the masses, and from the leadership of the party; they always issue orders, and the orders are usually wrong, they certainly mislead the country and the people; at the least they obstruct the consistent adherence to the party line and policies; and they cannot meet with the people.

2.  They are conceited, complacent, and they aimlessly discuss politics. They do not grasp their work, they are subjective and one-sided; they are careless; they do not listen to people; they are truculent and arbitrary; they force orders; they do not care about reality; they maintain blind control. This is authoritarian bureaucracy.

3.  They are very busy from morning until evening, they labour the whole year long; they do not examine people and they do not investigate matters; they do not study policies; they do not rely upon the masses; they do not prepare their statements; they do not plan their work. This is brainless, misdirected bureaucracy. In other words, it is routinism.

4.  Their bureaucratic attitude is immense; they cannot have any direction; they are egoistic; they beat their gongs to blaze the way; they cause people to become afraid just by looking at them; they repeatedly hurl all kinds of abuse at people; their work style is crude; they do not treat people equally. This is the bureaucracy of the overlords.

5.  They are ignorant; they are ashamed to ask anything; they exaggerate and they lie; they are very false; they attribute errors to people; they attribute merit to themselves; they swindle the central government; they deceive those above them and fool those below them; they conceal faults and gloss over wrongs. This is the dishonest bureaucracy.

6.  They do not understand politics; they do not do their work; they push things off onto others; they do not meet their responsibilities; they haggle; they put things off; they are insensitive; they lose their alertness. This is the irresponsible bureaucracy.

7.  They are negligent about things; they subsist as best they can; they do not have anything to do with people; they always make mistakes; they offer themselves respectfully to those above them and are idle towards those below them; they are careful in every respect; they are eight-sided and slippery as eels. This is the bureaucracy of those who work as officials and barely make a living.

8.  They do not completely learn politics; they do not advance in their work; their manner of speech is tasteless; they have no direction in their leadership; they neglect the duties of their office while taking the pay; they make up things for the sake of appearances. The idlers [e.g., landlord] do not begin any matters, but concentrate mainly upon their idleness; those who work hard, are virtuous, and do not act like the officials are treated poorly. This is the deceitful, talentless bureaucracy.

9.  They are stupid; they are confused; they do not have a mind of their own; they are rotten sensualists; they glut themselves for days on end; they are not diligent at all, they are inconstant and they are ignorant. This is the stupid, useless bureaucracy.

10.  They want others to read documents; the others read and they sleep; they criticize without looking at things; they criticize mistakes and blame people; they have nothing to do with mistakes; they do not discuss things; they push things aside and ignore it; they are yes men to those above them; they pretend to understand those below them, when they do not; they gesticulate; and they harbour disagreements with those on their same level. This is the lazy bureaucracy.

11.  Government offices grow bigger and bigger; things are more confused; there are more people than there are jobs; they go around in circles; they quarrel and bicker; people are disinclined to do extra things; they do not fulfil their specific duties. This is the bureaucracy of government offices.

12.  Documents are numerous; there is red tape; instructions proliferate; there are numerous unread reports that are not criticized; many tables and schedules are drawn up and are not used; meetings are numerous and nothing is passed on; and there are many close associations but nothing is learned. This is the bureaucracy of red tape and formalism.

13.  They seek pleasure and fear hardships; they engage in back door deals; one person becomes an official and the entire family benefits; one person reaches nirvana and all his close associates rise up to heaven; there are parties and gifts are presented. . . This is the bureaucracy for the exceptional.

14.  The greater an official becomes, the worse his temperament gets; his demands for supporting himself become higher and higher; his home and its furnishings become more and more luxurious; and his access to things becomes better and better. The upper strata gets the larger share while the lower gets high prices; there is extravagance and waste; the upper and lower and the left and right raise their hands. This is the bureaucracy of putting on official airs.

15.  They are egotistical; they satisfy private ends by public means; there is embezzlement and speculation; the more they devour, the more they want; and they never step back or give in. This is egotistical bureaucracy.

16.  They fight among themselves for power and money; they extend their hands into the Party; they want fame and fortune; they want positions and, if they do not get them, they are not satisfied; they choose to be fat and to be lean; they pay a great deal of attention to wages; they are cosy when it comes to their comrades but they care nothing about the masses. This is the bureaucracy that is fighting for power and money.

17.  A plural leadership cannot be harmoniously united; they exert themselves in many directions, and their work is in a state of chaos; they try to crowd each other out; the top is divorced from the bottom and there is no centralization, nor is there any democracy. This is the disunited bureaucracy.

18.  There is no organization; they employ personal friends; they engage in factionalism; they maintain feudal relationships; they form cliques to further their own private interest; they protect each other, the individual stands above everything else; these petty officials harm the masses. This is sectarian bureaucracy.

19.  Their revolutionary will is weak; their politics has degenerated and changed its character; they act as if they are highly qualified; they put on official airs; they do not exercise their minds or their hands. They eat their fill every day; they easily avoid hard work; they call a doctor when they are not sick; they go on excursions to the mountains and to the seashore; they do things superficially; they worry about their individual interests, but they do not worry whatsoever about the national interest. This is degenerate bureaucracy.

20.  They promote erroneous tendencies and a spirit of reaction; they connive with bad persons and tolerate bad situations; they engage in villainy and transgress the law; they engage in speculation; they are a threat to the Party and the state; they suppress democracy; they fight and take revenge, they violate laws and regulations; they protect the bad; they do not differentiate between the enemy and ourselves. This is the bureaucracy of erroneous tendencies and reaction.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung