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.




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