[This unsigned article is reprinted from Peking Review, #14, April 2, 1976,
pp. 6-8. The person referred to as “the capitalist-roader in the Party who
has refused to mend his ways” is of course Deng Xiaoping (Teng Hsiao-ping).]
CHINA is now deepening the criticism of that programme for restoring capitalism put forward by the capitalist-roader in the Party who has refused to mend his ways.
The programme of “taking the three directives as the key link” was dished up last summer with ulterior motives by that unrepentant capitalist-roader. It is a distortion of Chairman Mao’s instructions by putting his directives on promoting stability and unity and on pushing the national economy forward on a par with the directive on studying the theory of the proletarian dictatorship and combating and preventing revisionism, describing all three as “the key link for all work.”
Chairman Mao recently pointed out: “What ‘taking the three directives as the key link’! Stability and unity do not mean writing off class struggle; class struggle is the key link and everything else hinges on it.” This important directive of Chairman Mao’s has penetratingly exposed the programme of “taking the three directives as the key link” as an out-and-out revisionist programme negating the taking of class struggle as the key link. The essence of this programme is to restore capitalism.
The programme of “taking the three directives as the key link” is diametrically opposed to Chairman Mao’s important directive on the question of studying the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat. At the end of 1974, Chairman Mao pointed out: “Why did Lenin speak of exercising dictatorship over the bourgeoisie? It is essential to get this question clear. Lack of clarity an this question will lead to revisionism. This should he made known to the whole nation.” “Our country at present practises a commodity system, the wage system is unequal, too, as in the eight-grade wage scale, and so forth. Under the dictatorship of the proletariat such things can only be restricted. Therefore, if people like Lin Piao come to power, it will be quite easy for them to rig up the capitalist system.” This directive of Chairman Mao’s has further raised the consciousness of the people of the whole country to take class struggle as the key link, uphold the Party’s basic line, strengthen the dictatorship of the proletariat and combat and prevent revisionism. Thus it has further aroused fear from that unrepentant capitalist-roader in the Party. He has been filled with resentment when the whole Party, the whole army and the people of the whole country study the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat, criticize capitalism and revisionism, carry out in a deep-going way the socialist revolution in the superstructure and the economic base and restrict bourgeois right. Hence he hurriedly dished out his revisionist programme of “taking the three directives as the key link.”
This is a revisionist programme because it completely betrays our Party’s basic theory and practice of taking class struggle as the key link.
Throughout the historical period of socialism, there is only one key link guiding all our work, and this is the taking of class struggle as the key link; that is to say, we must persevere in the class struggle waged by the proletariat against the bourgeoisie and in the all-round dictatorship exercised by the proletariat over the bourgeoisie. This is determined by class relations and the principal contradiction in socialist society. On the eve of the founding of New China, at the Second Plenary Session of the Party’s Seventh Central Committee, Chairman Mao made it clear that in the coming period of socialist revolution the principal internal contradiction would be “the contradiction between the working class and the bourgeoisie.” In 1962, Chairman Mao advanced the Party’s basic line for the entire historical period of socialism. He stressed: “Socialist society covers a considerably long historical period. In the historical period of socialism, there are still classes, class contradictions and class struggle, there is the struggle between the socialist road and the capitalist road, and there is the danger of capitalist restoration. We must recognize the protracted and complex nature of this struggle. We must heighten our vigilance. We must conduct socialist education. We must correctly understand and handle class contradictions and class struggle, distinguish the contradictions between ourselves and the enemy from those among the people and handle them correctly. Otherwise a socialist country like ours will turn into its opposite and degenerate, and a capitalist restoration will take place. From now on we must remind ourselves of this every year, every month and every day so that we can retain a rather sober understanding of this problem and have a Marxist-Leninist line.” In the 26 years since the founding of New China, Chairman Mao has always urged the whole Party and the people of the whole country to firmly “grasp class struggle as the key link.” He has repeatedly initiated and led the people of the whole country to wage struggles by the proletariat against the bourgeoisie. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution that started ten years ago is such a struggle.
Lenin said. “Opportunism does not extend the recognition of class struggle to what is the cardinal point, to the period of transition from capitalist to Communism, to the period of the overthrow and the complete abolition of the bourgeoisie.” (The State and Revolution.) The unrepentant capitalist-roader in the Party used an eclectic sleight of hand to confuse the principal contradiction with secondary contradictions. He deliberately elevated promoting stability and unity and pushing the national economy forward to the principal position and called them “key links” in an attempt to cover up the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, which is the principal contradiction under socialism. In preaching “taking the three directives as the key link,” his intention was to deny the existence of classes and class struggle under socialism so as to negate taking class struggle as the key link and tamper with the Party’s basic line.
The Party capitalist-roader who engineered this revisionist programme has always opposed taking class struggle as the key link. In 1957, shortly after the basic completion of the socialist transformation of the ownership of means of production, he proclaimed that “classes have in the main been eliminated and we should not stress class struggle.” He took part in formulating and pushing Liu Shao-chi’s revisionist line before the Great Cultural Revolution. During the Great Cultural Revolution, the Party and the revolutionary masses exposed and criticized him and gave him a chance to mend his ways. Though he said that he would “never reverse the verdict,” he relapsed into error after he took up work again. The new revisionist programme he hatched is a continuation of his consistent revisionist stand against taking class struggle as the key link.
It is obvious that he himself represented the bourgeoisie, yet he said he saw no class contradictions. In China today, there are still remnants of the overthrown landlord and comprador classes, there is still a bourgeoisie and there are large numbers of petty bourgeoisie and intellectuals who have not sufficiently remoulded their ideology, while small production still engenders capitalism and the bourgeoisie continuously, daily, hourly, spontaneously, and on a mass scale. All these are obvious facts. The inner-Party two-line struggles since the founding of New China are really amazing. Lenin gave a profound explanation of class contradictions in the period of socialism. He pointed out that classes remain and will remain everywhere for years after the conquest of power by the proletariat. The so-called theory of the dying out of class struggle has always been meant to deceive people. Liu Shao-chi suppressed the revolutionaries to protect his handful of renegades and sworn followers. Lin Piao launched a counter-revolutionary armed coup d’etat and plotted to overthrow the dictatorship of the proletariat. How can this be called a dying out of class struggle? Now the unrepentant capitalist-roader in the Party has again spread the fallacy of the dying out of class struggle; his aim was to use it as a smokescreen to cover the offensive by the bourgeoisie against the proletariat, to launch vengeful counter-attacks and to restore capitalism.
As soon as his revisionist programme came out, the Right deviationist wind was stirred up, and there was a spate of restorationist activities in educational, scientific and technical and other circles in an attempt to reverse the correct appraisal of the Great Cultural Revolution. Revisionist absurdities were spread and the spearhead was directed against the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line. People now understand that this Right deviationist wind was stirred up from above by that unrepentant capitalist-roader in the Party. He used a trick that was very deceptive and that put people off their guard. The three directives he mentioned are all statements made by Chairman Mao, but they have been woven into a revisionist programme which is in opposition to taking class struggle as the key link and are therefore deprived of their revolutionary essence.
Lenin said that opportunism can use expressions from all kinds of theories, including Marxist theories, and that “Marxist words have in our days become a cover for a total renunciation of Marxism.” (British Pacificism and the British Dislike of Theory.) Quoting Marxist phraseology to oppose Marxism, is a common characteristic of all revisionists.
That unrepentant capitalist-roader in the Party put the study of the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat and combating and preventing revisionism ahead of the other two directives, but this was merely a camouflage. He himself did not read books and did not understand Marxism-Leninism. He did his utmost to oppose the study of the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat by the revolutionary people. He picked faults with socialist new things and was very afraid of restricting bourgeois right, narrowing the three major differences between workers and peasants, between town and country and between mental and manual labour and reducing the soil that engenders capitalism and the bourgeoisie. He has never said that the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie is the principal contradiction in present-day China and that revisionism is the main danger today.
He paid lip service to promoting stability and unity while actually sabotaging it. The stability we want is the stability attained by consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat, and our unity is the unity based on Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line. On the one hand he stressed reliance on those capitalist-roaders who had grudges against the Great Cultural Revolution and wanted to settle moves. On the other hand he used various pretexts to attack and discriminate against these old and new cadres who persevered in Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line. He insisted that young cadres were only “to be promoted step by step” and wanted to remove large numbers of young cadres and new emerging force in the Great Cultural Revolution from leading posts, thus sabotaging the three-in-one combination of the old, the middle-aged and the young in the leading bodies as advocated by Chairman Mao. He also sowed discord between old and new cadres in an effort to split the Party Central Committee headed by Chairman Mao.
To push the national economy forward is an important instruction of Chairman Mao’s. Building China into a powerful modern socialist country before the end of the century is a grand blueprint personally drawn up by Chairman Mao. However, sharp struggle between the two lines has always existed on the question of the type of modernization and how to realize it. The unrepentant capitalist-roader in the Party never mentioned taking class struggle as the key link but trumpeted the theory of productive forces. He said that he cared only about a rise in the national economy but not how it was to be done. He disapproved of putting proletarian politics in command and peddled “putting profit in command” and “material incentives.” He opposed relying on the masses and advocated the return to “relying on specialists in running factories.” He opposed the policy of building our country independently with the initiative in our own hands and relying on our own efforts, and trumpeted servility to things foreign. If things were done according to his revisionist line, then the nature of socialist ownership would be changed, the relation between men would become one between employers and employees, the capitalist system of distribution would reappear, and socialist relations in production would be undermined. In this way, the result would be that the national economy would fail to develop, or if it developed, it would either be temporary or it would turn out to be modernization of an imperialist or social-imperialist type. Whichever way it might take, production would be hampered and the development of the social productive forces retarded.
The current struggle to beat back the Right deviationist attempt to reverse correct verdicts is a struggle waged by the proletariat against the bourgeoisie and is a continuation and deepening of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution which has won great victories. This struggle shows that the capitalist-roaders are still on the capitalist road and that the Chinese people’s struggle against them will be protracted and repeated. This is a most important feature of class struggle in the period of socialism. In this period some people do not know where the bourgeoisie is. We should of course see that it still exists in society; but more important, it is found right in the Communist Party—those in power taking the capitalist road. They represent the interests of the old and new bourgeoisie. They are the main target of the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. Chairman Mao calls on the people of the whole country to “guard against revisionism, and especially its emergence in the Central Committee of our Party.” The capitalist-roaders in the Party have great power and it is extremely dangerous when they practise revisionism.
Under the leadership of the Party Central Committee headed by Chairman Mao, the people of the whole country are determined to persevere in taking class struggle as the key link, thoroughly repudiate the revisionist programme of “taking the three directives as the key link” put forth by that unrepentant capitalist-roader, and carry the great struggle against the Right deviationist wind to reverse correct verdicts through to the end.
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