Talk with the Editors of the Jinsui Daily

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Mao Zedong

2 April 1948

 

Our policy is not only that we must cause the leaders to know, and the cadres to know, we must also cause the broad masses to know. Issues concerning policy, generally shall be propagated in Party newspapers or periodicals. We are in the middle of conducting reform of the land system. All policies relating to land reform shall be published in newspapers and broadcast on the radio, enabling the broad masses to be able to know it. When the masses have learned the truth, and have found a common objective, they will become of one mind. This is the same as waging war, to wage war well, not only the cadres must be of one mind, but the soldiers must be of one mind as well. In the Shanbei army, after consolidation and airing grievances, the consciousness of the soldiers was raised, they clearly understood why they waged war, and how to fight, everyone spoiled for a fight, morale was very high, and once they went into action, they were victorious. When the masses are of one mind, all matters will be easy to run. The basic principle of Marxism-Leninism, is that we must make the masses understand their own interest, unite, and struggle for their own interest. The function and power of newspapers, lies in them being able to let the masses see the Party’s programme, line, principles, polies, work tasks and work methods in the fastest and broadest way.

In a number of our localities and leading organs, some people believe that, as long as the leaders know Party policies, it is good, and that it is not necessary to let the masses know. This is one of the basic reasons that there are some work matters we cannot do well. In the last twenty-something years, our Party did mass work every day, in the last ten-something years, it stressed the mass line every day. We have constantly advocated that revolution must rely on the popular masses, on everyone taking action, and opposed only relying on a small number of people ordering others about. But among the work of some comrades, the mass line cannot yet be implemented, they still only rely on a small number of people to do the work coldly and cheerlessly. One of the reasons is that when they do something, they are generally unwilling to make things clear with those under their leadership, and don’t understand that vigour and creative power of those under their leadership. They subjectively also want everyone to set about work, but don’t let everyone know what sort of thing it is that needs to be done, or which methods they should use, in this way, how can everyone become dynamic, how can things be done well? We must resolve this problem, and must basically and naturally conduct mass line education on the ideological side, and must at the same time also impart many concrete methods to comrades. One of the methods is that we must fully utilize newspapers. Running newspapers well, running newspapers in a way that fascinates people, correctly propagating the Party principles and policies through newspapers, strengthening the connection between the Party and the masses through newspapers, is an issue that cannot be belittled in Party work, and that has a major principle significance.

The comrades run newspapers. Your work is to educate the masses, let the masses know their interest, their tasks and the Party principles and policies. Running newspapers is the same as running other matters, they must al be earnestly run before they can be run well, and before they have vitality. Our newspapers must also rely on everyone to run them, rely on the whole body of the popular masses to run them, rely on the whole Party to run them, and cannot only rely on a small amount of people and be run with closed doors. Our newspapers discuss the mass line every day, but the work of newspapers themselves, however, often has not implemented the mass line. For example, there often are misprints in newspapers, this is because eliminating misprints has bot earnestly been treated as something to do. If we adopt mass line methods, and there are misprints in newspapers, we assemble the personnel of the entire newspaper publisher, don’t talk about other things, and only talk about this thing, clarify the circumstances of the error, the causes of the error to occur, the method to eliminate the error, and require everyone to earnestly pay attention. If this is done three to five times, it will certainly cause the error to be rectified. Small matters must be handled like this, large matters must also be handled like this.

Being good at changing Party policy into actions of the masses, being good at our every single activity and every single struggle, requires that not only leading cadre understand matters, but also that the broad masses can all understand, and all grasp matters, this is a Marxist-Leninist art of leadership. Whether we make mistakes in our work, the limits of that are also here. Matters that the masses are unwilling to do, and that we insistently demand and lead them to do, can only result in defeat. If we face times where the masses are not yet conscious, and want to launch the assault, it would be adventurism. The mistake of Chen Duxiu opportunism, is that it lagged behind the extent of the consciousness of the masses, and could not lead the masses to advance, but even opposed the advance of the masses. There are still many comrades who do not understand these problems. Our newspapers must propagate these viewpoints well, enabling everyone to understand them.

News workers must first and foremost learn from the masses in order to educate the masses. The comrades are all intellectuals. Intellectuals often don’t understand matters, they often do not have experience of real matters, or very little experience. You don’t understand very well the booklet formulated in 1933 of “How to Analyze the Rural Class”; in this point, peasants are stronger than you, and it only needs to be briefly explained to them, and they will understand it. There are more than 180 peasants in both districts of Guo County, after five days of meeting, many problems in land allocation had been resolved. If your editorial department come to discuss these questions, I’m afraid that matters will not be resolved in two weeks. The reason is very simple, you don’t understand these issues. If you want to change not understanding into understanding, you have to go and do, and watch, this is learning. The comrades in newspaper publishers shall in turn go out to participate in mass work for a period of time and participate in land reform work for a period of time, this is very necessary. At times where you have not yet gone out to participate in mass work, you also should read and listen more materials relating to mass campaigns, and put in energy to research these materials. Our slogan for training troops is: “officials teach troops, troops teach officials, troops teach troops.” There are many soldiers with real experience in waging war. Those in official positions must learn from soldiers, and change other people’s experiences into their own, this expands their abilities. The comrades in news organizations must also regularly reflect materials coming from above downwards for study, and slowly enrich their real knowledge, making them become experienced persons. Only in this way can your work be done well, and will you be able to bear the task of educating the masses.

Since the Prefectural Committee Secretariat Conference of June last year, the “Jinsui Daily” has progressed greatly. Its content is richer, it is more penetrating and powerful, and it has a youthful spirit, reflected the great struggle of the masses, and has talked to the people. We quite want to read it. But in this period from January this year, in which it began to rectify its “leftist” leaning, your newspapers has a bit of a frustrated appearance, it is not sufficiently clear, not sufficiently powerful, and there are less materials, causing people to not want to read it. You are now checking your work and summarizing your experiences, this is very good. After having summarized the experiences of opposing rightism and “leftism”, and clearing out your minds, your work will improve.

The “Jinsui Daily” conducted a struggle to oppose rightist tendencies after June last year, this was completely correct. In the struggle to oppose rightist tendencies, you worked very earnestly, and fully reflected the real situation of the activities of the masses. You adopted the form of editorial notes to comment on viewpoints and materials you believed to be wrong. Afterwards, your comments also had flaws, but that sort of earnest spirit is good. Your flaws mainly were that you had drawn your bowstring too tensely. If you draw it too tensely, the bowstring may break. The ancients said: “the way of civil and military matters, are to alternate tension with relaxation.” Now, “relax” a while, the comrades can come to. Your past work has achievements, but also has flaws, which mainly are “leftist” tendencies. Now, having done a complete summary, and having rectified “leftist” tendencies, you may realize even larger achievements.

When we correct deviations, some people consider our past work as completely lacking in achievements, and believe that it is completely wrong. This is wrong. These people have not considered that the Party has led so many peasants in obtaining land, has reversed feudalism, rectified the Party organization, and improved the work style of cadres, now it has also rectified “leftist” tendencies, educated the cadres and the masses. Is this not a great result? We shall adopt an analytical attitude towards our work and towards the undertaking of the masses, and shall not deny everything. That “leftist” tendencies occurred in the past, was because no one had experience. Without experience, it is hard to avoid making mistakes. From not having experience to having experience, requires a process. In the short period from June last year to now, we have undergone the struggle opposing rightism and opposing “leftism”, enabling everyone to know that what kind of things opposing rightism and opposing “leftism” are. Without a process like this, no one would be able to know.

After undergoing inspection work and summarizing experiences, I am convinced that your newspapers will be run even better. You shall maintain your newspaper’s past merits, and must be incisive, powerful, distinctive, and must earnestly run matters. We must persist in the truth, and the truth must show colours clearly. Our Communist Party members have always believed that concealing one’s own viewpoint is shameful. The newspapers run by our Party, and all propaganda work conducted by our Party shall be vivid, clear and incisive, and not at all hem and haw. This is the struggle style that our revolutionary proletariat should have. We must educate the people to understand the truth, and must mobilize the people to stand up and struggle for their own liberation, and that requires this sort of fighting style. Using a blunt knife to cut meat, will not draw blood after cutting for half a day.

 

对晋绥日报编辑人员的谈话
我们的政策,不光要使领导者知道,干部知道,还要使广大的群众知道。有关政策的问题,一般地都应当在党的报纸上或者刊物上进行宣传。我们正在进行土地制度的改革。有关土地改革的各项政策,都应当在报上发表,在电台广播,使广大群众都能知道。群众知道了真理,有了共同的目的,就会齐心来做。这和打仗一样,要打好仗,不光要干部齐心,还要战士齐心。陕北的部队经过整训诉苦以后,战士们的觉悟提高了,明了了为什么打仗,怎样打法,个个磨拳擦掌,士气很高,一出马就打了胜仗。群众齐心了,一切事情就好办了。马克思列宁主义的基本原则,就是要使群众认识自己的利益,并且团结起来,为自己的利益而奋斗。报纸的作用和力量,就在它能使党的纲领路线,方针政策,工作任务和工作方法,最迅速最广泛地同群众见面。
在我们一些地方的领导机关中,有的人认为,党的政策只要领导人知道就行,不需要让群众知道。这是我们的有些工作不能做好的基本原因之一。我党二十几年来,天天做群众工作,近十几年来,天天讲群众路线。我们历来主张革命要依靠人民群众,大家动手,反对只依靠少数人发号施令。但是在有些同志的工作中间,群众路线仍然不能贯彻,他们还是只靠少数人冷冷清清地做工作。其原因之一,就是他们做一件事情,总不愿意向被领导的人讲清楚,不懂得发挥被领导者的积极性和创造力。他们主观上也要大家动手动脚去做,但是不让大家知道要做的是怎么一回事,应当怎样做法,这样,大家怎么能动起来,事情怎么能够办好?要解决这个问题,根本上当然要从思想上进行群众路线的教育,同时也要教给同志们许多具体办法。办法之一,就是要充分地利用报纸。办好报纸,把报纸办得引人入胜,在报纸上正确地宣传党的方针政策,通过报纸加强党和群众的联系,这是党的工作中的一项不可小看的、有重大原则意义的问题。
同志们是办报的。你们的工作,就是教育群众,让群众知道自己的利益,自己的任务,和党的方针政策。办报和办别的事一样,都要认真地办,才能办好,才能有生气。我们的报纸也要靠大家来办,靠全体人民群众来办,靠全党来办,而不能只靠少数人关起门来办。我们的报上天天讲群众路线,可是报社自己的工作却往往没有实行群众路线。例如,报上常有错字,就是因为没有把消灭错字认真地当做一件事情来办。如果采取群众路线的方法,报上有了错字,就把全报社的人员集合起来,不讲别的,专讲这件事,讲清楚错误的情况,发生错误的原因,消灭错误的办法,要大家认真注意。这样讲上三次五次,一定能使错误得到纠正。小事如此,大事也是如此。
善于把党的政策变为群众的行动,善于使我们的每一个运动,每一个斗争,不但领导干部懂得,而且广大的群众都能懂得,都能掌握,这是一项马克思列宁主义的领导艺术。我们的工作犯不犯错误,其界限也在这里。当着群众还不觉悟的时候,我们要进攻,那是冒险主义。群众不愿干的事,我们硬要领导他们去干,其结果必然失败。当着群众要求前进的时候,我们不前进,那是右倾机会主义。陈独秀机会主义的错误,就是落后于群众的觉悟程度,不能领导群众前进,而且反对群众前进。这些问题有许多同志还不懂得。我们的报纸要好好地宣传这些观点,使大家都能明白。
报纸工作人员为了教育群众,首先要向群众学习。同志们都是知识分子。知识分子往往不懂事,对于实际事物往往没有经历,或者经历很少。你们对于一九三三年制订的《怎样分析农村阶级》的小册子,就看不大懂;这一点,农民比你们强,只要给他们一说就都懂得了。崞县两个区的农民一百八十多人,开了五天会,解决了分配土地中的许多问题。假如你们的编辑部来讨论那些问题,恐怕两个星期也解决不了。原因很简单,那些问题你们不懂得。要使不懂得变成懂得,就要去做去看,这就是学习。报社的同志应当轮流出去参加一个时期的群众工作,参加一个时期的土地改革工作,这是很必要的。在没有出去参加群众工作的时候,也应当多听多看关于群众运动的材料,并且下工夫研究这些材料。我们练兵的口号是:“官教兵,兵教官,兵教兵。”战士们有很多打仗的实际经验。当官的要向战士学习,把别人的经验变成自己的,他的本领就大了。报社的同志也要经常向下边反映上来的材料学习,慢慢地使自己的实际知识丰富起来,使自己成为有经验的人。这样,你们的工作才能够做好,你们才能担负起教育群众的任务。
《晋绥日报》在去年六月的地委书记会议以后,有很大进步。内容丰富,尖锐泼辣,有朝气,反映了伟大的群众斗争,为群众讲了话。我很愿意看它。但是从今年一月开始纠正“左”的偏向以后的这一时期,你们的报纸却有点泄气的样子,不够明确,不够泼辣,材料也少了,使人不大想看。你们现在正在检查工作,总结经验,这样很好。总结了反右反“左”的经验,使头脑清醒起来,你们的工作就会有改进。
《晋绥日报》在去年六月以后进行的反对右倾的斗争,是完全正确的。在反右倾的斗争中,你们作得很认真,充分地反映了群众运动的实际情况。对于你们认为错误的观点和材料,你们采用编者按语的形式加以批注。你们的批注后来也有缺点,但是那种认真的精神是好的。你们的缺点主要是把弓弦拉得太紧了。拉得太紧,弓弦就会断。古人说:“文武之道,一张一弛。”现在“弛”一下,同志们会清醒起来。过去的工作有成绩,但也有缺点,主要是“左”的偏向。现在作一次全面的总结,纠正了“左”的偏向,就会做出更大的成绩来。
在我们纠正偏差的时候,有的人把过去的工作看得毫无成绩,认为完全错了。这是不对的。这些人没有看到,党领导了那么多的农民得到土地,打倒了封建主义,整顿了党的组织,改进了干部的作风,现在又纠正了“左”的偏向,教育了干部和群众。这不是很大的成绩吗?对于我们的工作,对于群众的事业,应当采取分析的态度,不应当否定一切。过去发生“左”的偏向,是因为大家没有经验。没有经验,就难免要犯错误。从没有经验到有经验,要有一个过程。去年六月到现在的短短时期内,经过反右和反“左”的斗争,使大家都知道了反右、反“左”是怎么一回事。没有这样一个过程,大家是不会知道的。
经过检查工作、总结经验以后,我相信,你们的报纸会办得更好。应当保持你们报纸的过去的优点,要尖锐、泼辣、鲜明,要认真地办。我们必须坚持真理,而真理必须旗帜鲜明。我们共产党人从来认为隐瞒自己的观点是可耻的。我们党所办的报纸,我们党所进行的一切宣传工作,都应当是生动的,鲜明的,尖锐的,毫不吞吞吐吐。这是我们革命无产阶级应有的战斗风格。我们要教育人民认识真理,要动员人民起来为解放自己而斗争,就需要这种战斗的风格。用钝刀子割肉,是半天也割不出血来的。

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