Conclusion at the Nationwide Propaganda Work Conference

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23 May 1951

Liu Shaoqi


Our conference has already gone on for very long, there have been many meetings that I haven’t attended, and I have only looked at some of your minutes and the questions put forward by a number of comrades, I have seen that many questions that have been discussed have been already resolved, and I’d just like to say a few words on some important issues mentioned in them.

I, Appraising our Party’s past propaganda work, its successes and flaws.

Thirty years ago, after Marxism-Leninism was introduced to China, Marxism-Leninism was immediately accepted by China’s advanced personalities, and has undergone research and propaganda, because of this, the Chinese Communist Party was founded, if there had not been research and propaganda of Marxist-Leninist theory, the Chinese Communist Party could not have been founded. Every one of us is a Communist Party member now, and we have convened a propaganda work meeting for the Communist Party again, how has this come about for the Communist Party? There are a few sources: one is the Chinese working class; another is the global situation – the development of the worldwide proletarian revolutionary movement, and the victory of the of the Soviet October Revolution; there is another direct cause, which is that studying Marxism-Leninism, researching Marxism-Leninism and propagating Marxism-Leninism, only generated the Chinese Communist Party in the end, and it has undergone thirty years of struggle (this struggle of thirty years is the struggle for the truth of Marxism-Leninism), before it gained the revolutionary victory of the present. During this long-term and arduous revolutionary struggle, on the one hand, we have propagated Marxism-Leninism on a broad scale, and have popularized the tenets of Marxism-Leninism among the Chinese people (this is a very great work, a very difficult work, to bring a very profound and deep principle to the Chinese people, and especially to propagate it among the Chinese working people, to practice it and operationalize it, if we do not popularize it and do not do popularized work, we will not be able to disseminate this in China, and the working people will be unable to accept it), gained a Chinese national form (the original form of Marxism-Leninism is a European form, and its European form has been changed into an oriental form, and changed into a Chinese national form through our Party’s propaganda and diligence), and guided the revolutionary struggle of the Chinese people by closely integrating it with the real lives of the Chinese working people and the real struggle. Therefore, this weapon of Marxism-Leninism has become a powerful fighting weapon of the Chinese working people, and a fighting banner. Our Chinese Communist Party has led the Chinese people in conducting a few decades of revolutionary struggle, and during these decades of struggle, the banner that was raised was the banner of Marxism-Leninism, and the banner of Communism, everyone has united under this banner and used the weapon of Marxism-Leninism and the truth of Marxism-Leninism to fight. Through 30 years of propaganda work, we have gained successes in this regard. On toe other hand, we have developed and enriched Marxist-Leninist theory in terms of the profundity of its significance, and have added quite a few new arms to the general arsenal of Marxism-Leninism, these new arms have been very useful in the revolutionary struggle of all Oriental people, and the struggle of people in all Oriental colonies and dependencies.

These results and achievements mentioned earlier, where our Party’s internals are concerned, should mainly be attributed to our leader, and be attributed to our Marxist-Leninist propagandist – Comrade Mao Zedong. This must be pointed out. Our Party’s propaganda work comrades should take Mao Zedong as model, and mirror Mao Zedong in their propaganda of Marxism-Leninism, he is our Party’s best, most excellent and most outstanding model for the propagation of Marxism-Leninism.

Because our Chinese Communist Party’s study, propaganda, application and bold creation of Marxism-Leninism, we have already raised the theoretical level of the entire Chinese nation towards unprecedented heights. Our Chinese nation has always been a cultured and theoretical nation. At what time was this the highest? Now, it is the highest. Why  could it have been brought to these heights? The main reason is our study of Marxism-Leninism, our propaganda of Marxism-Leninism, our application of Marxism-Leninism, and our creation of Marxism-Leninism, in this way, we have raised the theoretical levels of our nation. We have not just raised theory levels, we have also changed the appearance of China in ideology and reality. That is to say that the magnificent Marxist-Leninist doctrines have already gained a historical and decisive victory among the Chinese people. We have not just obtained historical victories among the Chinese people, but have also enabled the people of all Oriental countries to be more convinced of Marxism-Leninism every day. Why have they become more convinced of Marxism-Leninism every day? It is because of the fact that Marxism-Leninism has gained victories in China.

It is more than a hundred years from the invention of Marxism until today, in these more than one hundred years, Marxism has incessantly gained victories, the victory of the Soviet October Revolution is the largest victory of Marxism-Leninism, after the victory of the October Revolution, another great victory has been gained in the global Communist movement, and that is the victory of the Chinese revolution. The victory of Marxism in China is the greatest victory after the victory in the October Revolution. I think we should evaluate the achievements and results of our propaganda of Marxism-Leninism in the past in this way.

I think an evaluation like this is very necessary, because I read some of your minutes, you have always found that we are doing badly everywhere, here, things aren’t good, there they aren’t good either, we have problems here, and we also have problems there. I see that things are very good and achievements are great, the central pint is that we have propagated Marxism-Leninism and developed Marxism-Leninism in China; in the global Communist movement, we have propagated Marxism-Leninism and developed Marxism-Leninism, we have made Marxism-Leninism go deeply into people’s hearts, and have even made it go deeply among those illiterates, they have sacrificed their lives for Marxism-Leninism, for example in the Korean war, they have paid no regard to their lives, lost arms or legs, but did not desert their post to come back, they were free from all inhibitions, mustered their courage and energy, and advanced. Our propaganda of Marxism-Leninism is so deep, that this is the result of our propagating Marxism-Leninism for a number of decades. All those kinds of heroic deeds and exemplary achievements, in the revolutionary struggle, in war and in class struggle, are very rare in the world.

The most effective propagator of Communism in the entire global Communist movement is the Soviet Union, and is the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Our Chinese Communist Party is also one of the most effective ones in terms of propagating the tenets of Marxism-Leninism. Our propaganda work is done very well, great achievements have been obtained, great effects have been gained. These achievements are due to our Party’s efforts, all Chinese Communists’ efforts, they have been gained under the leadership of Comrade Mao Zedong, these are our Party’s achievements. Interpreting these achievements to become the achievements of your propaganda departments, should not be done so. Actually, propaganda departments have done a lot of work in this area, that still merits to be reconsidered.

II, How is the situation of our propaganda work at present?

The present situation is a fundamental change from the past, China’s circumstances, situations and conditions have completely changed. Because China has been victorious. The Chinese Revolution has been victorious, and the conditions for us to propagate Marxism-Leninism have become even better, first and foremost, there is no one prohibiting our propagation of Marxism-Leninism anymore. For decades, our propaganda of Marxism-Leninism was prohibited by someone, and the prohibition was quite devastating, it only took for someone to say one sentence on the street: “I Propagate Marxism-Leninism”, or to shout “Down with imperialism!”, to be arrested and put in prison. In the past, there was the danger of being killed for propagating Marxism-Leninism, there were all sorts of decrees prohibiting the propaganda of Marxism-Leninism. China’s Marxism-Leninism propagators have undergone much persecution, because there were many people who spent time in jail because of propagating Marxism-Leninism, and there were also many who were sentenced to death, they have been under much attack. But these Communists, they have still used ingenious means to propagate Marxism-Leninism, they wrote one or two phrases in the corner of a newspaper, articles were written so subtly and so dubiously, that is how they propagated Marxism-Leninism. In those decades, they were in regions controlled by Chiang Kai-shek, or controlled by the Japanese, and still persisted in propagating Marxism-Leninism, some propagated them in writing, those who could not do so in writing propagated it orally, where it was impossible for many people to propagate, a small number of people propagated, where it was impossible to propagate to people they did not know, they propagated to people they knew already, they propagated to their friends and their relatives, they propagated to their classmates and colleagues, they talked one-on-one with reliable people, in this eBay, they persisted in propaganda work, regardless of everything. But now, this situation dies not exist anymore, and there are no more people prohibiting our propaganda of Marxism-Leninism, now, people propagating Marxism-Leninism, if your propagate it well, not only will you not have to go to jail, but everyone will applaud, say you propagate very well, you can be a hero and a mode, and earn great honour. The situation of today is reversed, China’s revolution has been victorious, all decrees prohibiting the propaganda of Marxism-Leninism have been thoroughly abolished, the millions of Chinese people have had their class consciousness raised unprecedently during the real revolutionary struggle, during the struggle to oppose imperialism, the struggle to oppose feudalism and during class struggle. Peasants have gained a class consciousness through venting grievances against and denouncing landlords during land reform. Urban people have gained a very high level of class consciousness through the recent movement to suppress the counterrevolution. The consciousness of the Chinese people has been raised unprecedently, and the shackles that fettered the Chinese people ideologically, and fettered the Chinese workers have been smashed, or are currently being smashed, many people have changed their minds. Peasants have said during land reform that they have changed their minds, and have in reality changed their minds, which means that they have excavated the roots of poverty, vented their grievances, and why are they poor? Let’s settle the account. Class education has also been conducted in the army in ’47 and ’48, there have been three inspections and three rectifications, inspection of class, inspection of viewpoints, inspection of ideology and inspection of work style, such a rectification has raised class consciousness, where discipline was bad before, it became better after inspection. Why is this so? It is because there was Marxism-Leninism, because they gained class consciousness, because they gained class consciousness on the basis of Marxism-Leninism, through their real experience and starting from their real life. The broad people have launched study of Marxist-Leninist theory and this new ideology of Marxism-Leninism, and have accepted it on a large scale. These intellectuals and university professors, on the one hand, they read books, and study Marxism-Leninism from books; on the other hand they have observed land reform, listened at meetings to air grievances, and participated in real occasions of class educations in real life. After coming back from observation, they have written many articles in newspapers, they say: after observing land reform and listening to grievances, my viewpoint has completely changed. Among intellectuals, there are some viewpoints that haven’t changed in the past decades, and that have now changed. For example, the president of Furen University, Chen Yuan, he had a viewpoint that did not change for decades, and when he heard an eighty year-old woman speak at a meeting to air grievances, that viewpoint of his changed, that old lady said: “Before, what could I do! The political power is yours, the police is yours, complaints are not successful, it is only today that I can avenge myself!” This eighty year-old woman was also illiterate, but these few sentences educated him, and he changed his viewpoint. Tsinghua University professor Wu Jingchao observed land reform in Xi’an, and after he came back, he wrote an article saying that many of his viewpoints changed. The broad people’s class consciousness has risen, and on the basis of this real rise of class consciousness, a further rise in theory is required. What is important for the working people is the real class consciousness, they were subject to the oppression by landlords in their real lives, were subject to oppression by capitalists, subject to oppression by the Japanese, and oppression by the Americans, how did these forms of oppression come about? They pursued this to the root, that pursuit arrived at problems of class, and arrived at the profundity of Marxism-Leninism, afterwards, they believed this, and gained class consciousness. This consciousness has come on the basis of the experience of real struggle and the experience of real life, real life and real struggle have stimulated their class consciousness. If a person’s class consciousness is like this, it is still insufficient, it is knowledge that has been gained through perception, and has come from his real life, people have oppressed him and have exploited him, airing grievances once, and settling accounts once, may have enlightened his consciousness, but this must still be raised to the height of theory. Many people and especially Communist Party members must be required to raise it another step, and raise it to the level of theory. There are some people who have gained class consciousness from being oppressed once, having settled accounts once, and having undergone class education once, some people have not been oppressed (such as university professor etc.), but have become conscious once they attended meetings and listened to people airing grievances once. A person who has gained real class consciousness, and who is required to participate in real struggle again, will raise it even more, someone who reeds books once more, and studies Marxist-Leninist theory, will raise it even more. Now, the broad people demand to study Marxism-Leninism, the broad people’s  real class consciousness has risen, and under these conditions, the condition for which we want to conduct Marxist-Leninist propaganda and education is very good, this condition is that our  Chinese Communist Party members, our Party’s propaganda workers have gained unprecedented smooth conditions for the propaganda of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought among the Chinese people. Our propaganda workers must use these smooth conditions that have already been created in all areas to strengthen the propaganda of Marxism-Leninism, and continue to strive to raise the consciousness of the working people and the theory levels of the working people, we must continue to raise these and raise them again, enabling our Chinese nation to become one of the nations with the highest theoretical levels in the world.

Chairman Mao wrote in “On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship”; “we must use democratic methods to educate ourselves and transform ourselves on a nationwide level and the scope of the whole body, to enable us to rid ourselves from internal and external reactionary influences (this influence is still very great at this time, and will still exist for a long time, it cannot be eliminated very rapidly), and transform ourselves from the bad habits and bad ideologies from the old society, not make ourselves march the mistaken path pointed out by reactionaries, but continue to advance, and develop towards a Socialist society and a Communist society.” Next, he also stated that: we must conduct education on a nationwide level and the scope of the whole body, and not only educate the people, but must furthermore educate the reactionaries, as long as reactionaries have not been killed (if they have been killed, they naturally don’t need education, apart from those who have been killed), it is even fine if they are punished with lifelong imprisonment, they must be educated, and must undergo reform through labour. Here, he says separately: towards the people, democratic methods and voluntary methods must be used in education, towards reactionaries, coercive methods must be used in education.

This time, I read in your minutes: some localities, when propagating Marxism-Leninism, close the doors, require people to listen, and force them to receive lessons. This is using coercive measures to educate the people, that is to say that methods to educate enemies are used to educate the people, this is a mistake, at this point, we do not distinguish enemies and ourselves. Chairman Mao said, democratic methods are to be used for education among the people, and coercive methods are to be used for education of enemies, but when our comrades doing judicial work, and comrades doing public security work educate criminals, they adopt democratic methods, this is also making a mistake of principle. Towards criminals, coercive methods must be used, and democratic methods can be used. Therefore, in these localities, we must make matters clear: among the people, coercive methods cannot be used, using coercive methods is mistaken, democratic methods cannot be used towards enemies, using democratic methods is also mistaken.

We must use coercive methods to transform and educate reactionaries. We must also educate the national bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie. And the gravest problem is that we must educate the peasants. As for the working class, Chairman Mao has written about this, I don’t need to talk about this here, we must first and foremost educate the working class. And does the Communist Party have to educate itself? Without doubt, it must be educated before anything else. That is to say that we must first and foremost educate Communist Party members themselves, then educate the working class, educate the peasant class, educate the petty bourgeoisie, educate the national bourgeoisie, and then educate reactionaries. This is to say that we must conduct education on a nationwide level and at the scope of the whole body.

Which things should be used to educate the people? The ideological principles of Marxism-Leninism are to be used to educate the people on a nationwide level and at the scope of the whole body. Now, we have gained the conditions, Chairman Mao said: we now have a people’s country. Now we have a people’s country, we have gained the possibility to conduct education of the people on  nationwide level and at the scope of the whole body; without a people’s country, we did not have this possibility. Now, we have gained this possibility, and must also do this. Using the ideological principles of Marxism-Leninism to educate the people on a nationwide level and at a scope of the whole body, is also the most basic political task of our entire Chinese people. Chairman Mao said in “On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship” that organizing a people’s country requires doing many things, things in politics, the economy and other areas. How should we go about in doing these things? We will march towards Socialism and Communism. To march towards Socialism and Communism, we must first and foremost lay ideological foundations – use the thoughts, viewpoints and methods of Marxism-Leninism to educate ourselves and the people in the entire country. This is the task for our Party’s propaganda work under our new circumstances and new situations of today. This task is magnificent, arduous and glorious, this task can only be achieved after a very long period of time.

To use the viewpoints of Marxism-Leninism to educate the people, we must first and foremost eliminate imperialist ideologies and feudal ideologies, and must thoroughly eliminate imperialist ideology and feudal ideology from among the people in the entire country. Chairman Mao said: we must progressively eliminate the bad habits, bad thoughts and bad influences brought from the old society from among the people, destroy them and clean them up, and we must criticize the ideologies of the bourgeoisie, petty bourgeoisie and the peasant class, that is to say non-Marxist-Leninist and non-proletarian ideologies. Because today, we have not yet destroyed the economic basis for the bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie  in our policies, we have also not destroyed the economic basis for the peasantry, and must even develop it. Our policies do not touch upon them, they do not touch the private assets of the bourgeoisie, and do not touch the private assets of the petty bourgeoisie, the private assets of the peasantry must be protected even more. Because of this, we cannot destroy and clean up bourgeois ideologies, petty bourgeois ideologies and peasant ideologies, and cannot reduce them. But they must be criticized. Why? Because their ideologies are mistaken and bad. There are some among them that are good, bourgeois, petty bourgeois and peasant ideologies have a good side at present, such as their opposition to imperialism and their opposition to feudalism, they have these thoughts, we must recognize them. But they also have mistaken matters that must be criticized. That is also to say that we must first and foremost isolate bourgeois and petty-bourgeois thoughts ideologically, and ensure that the people know that although this sort if ideology has a good side, and has some reason, but that this reason is not thorough, but is mistaken and incorrect, with their methods, China will not be run well, with bourgeois ideology, China cannot march towards Socialism, but will march towards capitalism, when it marches towards capitalism, the working classes’ leadership powers will be lost, imperialism and feudalism will be rethroned, this is dangerous. If we isolate bourgeois ideologies and petty-bourgeois ideologies from the people, so that no-one will believe them, we must make the people know that they are wrong in terms of the system of thinking. To clean up imperialist ideologies and feudalist ideologies, and to isolate capitalist ideologies and petty-bourgeois ideologies, as well as all other non-proletariat ideologies, we must criticize them and renounce them, say that they are mistaken, and call upon the people not to believe them. Only in this way is it possible to establish Marxism-Leninism – the leadership power of the ideology of the working class. If we want to strengthen and consolidate this leadership power of the working class in terms of ideology and economics, we must first and foremost strengthen the leadership power of the working class ideologically, and consolidate the leadership power of the working class. This is our task, here, we must also divide clearly, imperialist ideologies and feudal ideologies must be cleaned up, speaking from the point of view of law, we do not permit them to talk and act irresponsibly, we do not permit them to speak, do not permit them to propagate, this is concerning reactionary ideology, concerning bourgeois ideology and petty-bourgeois ideology, matters are not like this, they are permitted to talk and act irresponsibly, it has not been said that they are illegal, the law does not prohibit them, they do not break the law administratively, they are still permitted to exist, they are permitted to talk, they are permitted to have the right to speak, they are permitted to express opinions. But, we must also point out which mistakes they have, and make people not believe them. Is it permitted to hit bourgeois ideology and petty bourgeois ideology into an illegal position, and propagate a decree: it is not permitted to talk and act irresponsibly? This is no good, this exceeds our revolutionary phase of today. Today, we are at the revolutionary stage of the new democracy, during this period, we still recognize the existence of the bourgeois economy in terms of economic policy,  and recognize that the petty bourgeois economy exists, so you must also recognize their existence in terms of ideology, recognize that they are lawful, but we must argue with them, they may also write articles, may also speak, and may propagate, but we must propagate Marxism-Leninism and must refute them. Is not refuting them good? It is not good, not refuting them won’t do, not refuting then has one problem, which is the question of who wins and who submits, is it then still bourgeois ideology and petty bourgeois ideology that was victorious? Or was it proletarian ideology that was victorious? If bourgeois ideologies and petty bourgeois ideologies have gained the superior position among the Chinese people, and have gained the high ground, and then gain the superior position in politics and economics, then, the Chinese revolution will be defeated. It is such a question of defeat or victory. If we are defeated, imperialism and Chiang Kai-shek will be rethroned. Therefore, although we cannot propagate them to be illegal now, we must absolutely refute them, and point out their mistakes. Only then can the leading position of this Marxist-Leninist working class ideology be established among the entire Chinese people, and continue to strengthen, consolidate and broaden it, isolate other ideologies, so that no-one believes them. This will guarantee the victory of the working classes ideologically, guarantee the victory of Marxism-Leninism, guarantee this victory ideologically, and guarantee this victory as well in terms of politics and economics. In short, if we would propagate bourgeois ideologies and petty bourgeois ideologies to be illegal now, that would be mistaken and overly leftists, it would be skipping a phase, if we do not criticize and refute them, that is also a mistake of principle.

It must be made clear: within the Party, us Communist Party members should have the most keen vigilance ideologically, oppose this sort of liberalist atmosphere and liberalist attitude, and must firmly oppose the enemies – imperialist and feudal ideologies, in administration, we can absolutely not allow them to propagate, or allow them to talk and act irresponsibly, as for ideological propaganda of the bourgeoisie, when we say that this is still lawful at this time, it means we say that we still allow them to “talk and act irresponsibly”, but we must argue with them. Recently, in Tsinghua, I heard that they opposed bourgeois ideologies, made bourgeois ideologies illegal, and did not allow them to “talk and act irresponsibly”, this is incorrect and is excessively “leftist”. Within the party, we oppose liberalism, bourgeois ideologies, non-proletarian ideologies and anti-Marxist-Leninist ideologies are illegal, and they are not allowed to talk and act irresponsibly, within the Party, it is recognized that only one ideology is lawful, that is the proletarian ideology, Marxism-Leninism. But, we must handle matters inside and outside of the Party differently. There is also another kind, that is wearing a Marxist-Leninist coat, and appearing in Marxist-Leninist form, but in reality, they are non-proletarian ideologies or the enemies’ ideologies, when these sorts of concealed forms are adopted, we must pay attention. Us Communist Party members should have this sort of sense. Chairman Mao said in his report on rectification of incorrect work styles that we must raise political intuition.  We must sense which are enemies’ ideologies in society, and among the people, which are capitalist ideologies, which are bourgeois ideologies and which are proletarian ideologies. If we sense this flavour incorrectly or wrongly, and they are non-proletarian ideologies, one method should be adopted: attitudes must be expressed, we cannot but express attitudes or but adopt methods in the face of non-proletarian ideologies. Inimical methods and inimical attitudes must be adopted towards inimical ideologies. Towards capitalist and bourgeois ideologies, we must adopt methods of persuasion and education, and methods of argument.

We cannot yet do Socialism at the present time, and Communism is even further away, but we must first and foremost lay this stable basis in ideology, we must first and foremost understand, and must first and foremost pay attention. As long as we, Communist Party members, are sober ideologically, then, we will guarantee that we will make the people in the entire country believe in us, and under our leadership, march towards the final victory step by step! For this, we must rely on everyone’s efforts, and first and foremost, our propaganda department heads and professional propagandists must do their work well!






















One thought on “Conclusion at the Nationwide Propaganda Work Conference

    Latest updates | China Copyright and Media said:
    April 13, 2013 at 10:55 am

    […] Conclusion at the Nationwide Propaganda Work Conference (1951) […]

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