Speech at the Propaganda Work Conference of the Chinese Communist Party

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Mao Zedong

12 March 1957

Comrades! This conference has been run very well. At the conferences, many issues have been put forward, which made us realize many things. I’d like to talk about a few opinions on the issues discussed by the comrades.

At this time, we are in a period of great changes in society. For a very long time, Chinese society has been undergoing great changes. The period of the War of Resistance against Japan was one of great change, the period of the War for Liberation was also one of great change. But when talking about the nature of things, the changes of the present are much more deep than the changes of the past. We are currently constructing Socialism. A few hundreds of millions have entered into the movement of Socialist transformation. The mutual relationships between classes in the entire country are shifting. The petty bourgeoisie in agriculture and the handicraft industries, and the industrial and commercial bourgeoisie are changing. The social and economic system has changed, the individual economy has changed into a collective economy, and the capitalist private system of ownership is being changed into a Socialist public system of ownership. Changes such as these naturally must be reflected in people’s thoughts. A resolute mentality exists. People in different classes, levels and social groups, all have different reactions to these great changes in the social system. The broad popular masses enthusiastically embrace these great changes, because real life testifies that Socialism is the only way out for China. Overthrowing the old social system and establishing a new social system, being the Socialist system, is a magnificent struggle, and is a great change in the social system and the mutual relationships between people. We should say that the situation is basically healthy. But, the new social system has only just been established, and some time for consolidation is still necessary. We cannot believe that the new social system can be complete and firm once it has been established. That is impossible. It must be progressively consolidated. To ensure that it is consolidated in the end, the Socialist industrialization of the country must be realized, we must persist in the Socialist revolution on the economic front, and must conduct frequent and arduous Socialist revolutionary struggle and Socialist education on the political front and the ideological front. Apart from these matters, the cooperation from various kinds of international condition is necessary as well. In our country, the struggle to consolidate the Socialist system and the struggle deciding who of Socialism or capitalism will vanquish the other, requires undergoing a very long historical period. But, all of us should see that this new Socialist system can certainly be consolidated. We certainly can construct a Socialist country having a modern industry, modern agriculture, modern science and culture. This is the first point that I’d like to make.

The second point: concerning the situation of our country’s intellectuals. There are no clear statistics on how many intellectuals China has after all. Some people have estimated that there are about 5 million intellectuals of all kinds, including high-level intellectuals and common intellectuals. Among these five million intellectuals, the absolute majority is patriotic, they love our People’s Republic of China, are willing to serve the people, and serve the Socialist country. There is a small minority of intellectuals that doesn’t welcome the Socialist system that much, and that isn’t too happy. They still have doubts concerning Socialism, but in the face of Imperialism, they still are patriotic. The intellectuals that harbour inimical feelings towards our country are an extremely small minority. This sort of people does not welcome this proletarian dictatorship country of ours, they are longing for the old society. As soon as they have an opportunity, they will stir up trouble, wanting to overturn the Communist Party and restore the old China. These are people that, when choosing between both paths of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, and both paths of Socialism and capitalism, will stubbornly walk the latter path. This latter path cannot be realized in reality, therefore, they are in fact people who are preparing to surrender to imperialism, feudalism and bureaucratism. This sort of people are found in political circles, industrial and commercial circles, cultural and educational circles, science and technology circles, and religious circles, they are all extreme reactionaries. This sort of people only comprises about one, two or three per cent of the number of five million. The absolute majority of intellectuals, more than ninety per cent of the total number of five million, have embraced the Socialist system to all sorts of different degrees. Among these people embracing the Socialist system, many still aren’t clear about how to work under the socialist system, how to understand many new issues, how to deal with them or how to respond to them.

If we look at the attitude with which these five million intellectuals deal with Marxism, it seems that we may say this: there are approximately ten per cent of the people, including Communist Party members and sympathetic elements outside of the Party, who are relatively well acquainted with Marxism, who have a firm footing, that is firmly based on the proletarian viewpoint. Talking in terms of the overall number of five million, these people are low in number, but they are the core, and have strength. The majority of people would like to study Marxism, and have already studied a bit, but they are not yet well versed. There are some people among theme who still have doubts, who do not yet have a firm footing, and may waver to the left of the right when the wind or tide comes in. This absolute majority of intellectuals among this total number of five million are still in a sort of intermediate situation. People who firmly resist Marxism, and who harbour inimical attitudes towards Marxism are the absolute minority. There are some people who, although they not openly express that they do not endorse Marxism, do not endorse it in reality. This sort of person will still exist for a long period of time, we should permit that they do not endorse it. For example, a number of idealists, may still endorse the Socialist political system and economic system, but not endorse the Marxist worldview. Patriotic persons in religious circles are similar. They are theists, we are atheists. We cannot coerce these people to accept Marxist worldviews. Generally speaking, it can be said like this: the situation of about five million intellectuals’ dealing with Marxism is: those who endorse it and are relatively well acquainted with it, are a minority; those who oppose it are also a minority; the majority endorses it but is not well-versed, and the extent of endorsement is also very different. Here, there are three sort of viewpoints: firm, wavering and opposing. It should be acknowledged that this sort of situation will still exist for a very long time. If we do not acknowledge this situation, we may have overly high requirements of other people, and lower or own tasks. Our comrades doing propaganda work have a task of propagating Marxism. This propaganda is progressive propaganda, it must be propagated well, so as to make people willing to accept it. We cannot coerce people to accept Marxism, we can only persuade people to accept it. If we are able to, within the time of the next few Five-Year Plans, to enable relatively many people among our intellectuals to accept Marxism, and enable relatively many people to understand relatively much of Marxism through practice in work and life, through the practice of class struggle, the practice of production and the practice of science, that will suffice. That is our hope.

The third point: the issue of transforming intellectuals. Our country is a culturally undeveloped country. About five million intellectuals, in terms of a country as large as ours, are too few. Without intellectuals, our work cannot be done well, therefore, we must unite them very well. In Socialist societies, the main members of societies are three groups of people, which are workers, peasants and intellectuals. Intellectuals are mental workers. Their work is to serve the people, and it is to serve workers and peasants. Intellectuals, on the whole, may serve the old China, and may also serve the New China, they may serve the bourgeoisie, and may also serve the proletariat. At the time when they served the old China, the Left among the intellectuals was the opposition, the centre was wavering, and it was only the Right that was firm. Now they have transformed into serving Socialism, matters have turned around. The Left is firm, the centre is wavering (this sort of wavering is different from the past, it is wavering in a new society), and the Right is the opposition. Intellectuals are also educators. Our newspapers are educating the people daily. Our literators and artists, our science and technology personnel, our professors and teachers are educating the people and educating students. Because they are educators, and they are teachers, they have the task of being educated first. In this time of great changes in the social system, they must especially be educated first. In the past few years, they have received some Marxist education, some people are moreover very studious, and progress has been much greater than before. But when looking at the majority, in terms of the proletarian worldview completely replacing the bourgeois worldview, differences are very great. Some people have read some Marxist books, and believe that they have become learned, but they have not absorbed what they read, and it has not taken root in their minds, they cannot apply it and their class sentiments are still old. There are also some people who are very arrogant, who have read some books, believe themselves to be amazing, and their tails are held up to the heavens, but once they run into the winds or the tides, their viewpoints, in comparison with those of workers and the majority of peasants, is clearly different. The former waver, the latter are firm, the former are equivocal, and the latter are forthright. Because of this, believing that educators do not require further education, or do not require further study, and believing that for Socialist transformation, it is only other people that need to be transformed, that landlords and capitalists are to be transformed, or individual producers are to be transformed, and intellectuals are not to be transformed, is wrong. Intellectuals must also be transformed, not only those people whose basic viewpoint has not yet changed must be transformed, but all people should study, and should transform. When I say all people, people like us are included. The situation is incessantly changing, and to ensure that our own thoughts are suited to new situations, we must study. Even people who already have a relatively good understanding of Marxism, and people with a relatively firm proletarian standpoints, must still study, must still accept mew affairs, and must research new issues. If intellectuals do not eradicate unsuitable things from their minds, they cannot bear the task of educating others. Naturally, we can only teach on the one hand and learn on the other, be a master on the one hand and be a student on the other. If you want to be a good master, you must first and foremost be a good student. Many things cannot be done successfully through learning from books, we must learn from producers, learn from workers, learn from poor peasants, middle and lower peasants, in schools, we must learn from students, we must learn from the targets of our own education. In mew view, among our intellectuals, the majority is willing to learn. Our task is to, on the basis of their voluntary study, benevolently help them to study, and help them to study through suitable methods, and not to use coercive methods to force them to study.

The fourth point: the issue of integrating intellectuals with the working and peasant masses. As intellectuals must serve the working and peasant masses, they must first and foremost understand workers and peasants, and become well acquainted with their lives, work and thoughts. We advocate that intellectuals go among the masses, go into factories and go into villages. If they do not meet face to face with workers and peasants for a lifetime, that is not good. Our State organs’ work personnel, literators, artists, teachers and scientific researchers should all use any opportunity to get close to workers and peasants as much as possible. Some people may go into factories or villages and look around a bit or walk around a bit, this is called “looking a flowers from horseback”, but it is still better than not walking or looking at al. Some other people may live in factories or villages for a few month, and do surveys and make friends there, this is called “dismounting from the horse to look at the flowers”. Yet other may reside there for a longer time, for example two years or three years, or an even longer time, and truly live there, this is called, “settling down and making a home”. Some intellectuals originally lived among workers and peasants, for example, industrial technology personnel were already in factories, agricultural technology personnel originally were in the villages. They should do their work well and integrate with workers and peasants. We must make getting close to workers and peasant masses into a sort of atmosphere, that is to say that there must be many intellectuals who do this. Naturally, it cannot be a hundred per cent, some people cannot go because of all kinds of reasons, but we hope that relatively many people can go as much as possible. It is also impossible for everyone to go at once, it is permitted to go progressively, divided into batches. Letting intellectuals directly contact workers and peasants has already been done during the Yan’an period in the past. At that time, the ideologies of many intellectuals in Yan’an were very chaotic, and there were many sorts of strange debates. We had a meeting, and exhorted everyone to go among the masses. Afterwards, many people went, and good results were achieved. As long as the knowledge that intellectuals gain from books has not been integrated with reality, their knowledge is incomplete, or is very incomplete. Intellectuals’ receiving the experience of predecessors mainly relies on books. Naturally, books cannot not be read, but only reading books cannot resolve problems. We absolutely must research the present situation, research real experience and materials, and must make friends with the workers and the peasants.

Making friends with workers and peasants is not an easy matter. At this time, there are also some people who go into factories and villages, with the result that some make gains, and some do not make gains. Here, there is an issue of standpoint and an issue of attitude, and there is an issue of worldview. We advocate letting a hundred schools contend, there can be many groups in all academic departments, many groups, but in terms of worldview, at present, there basically only are two schools, which is the proletarian school and the bourgeois school, either there is the proletarian worldview, or there is the bourgeois worldview. The Communist worldview is the proletarian worldview, it is not the worldview of any other class. Now, the great majority of our intellectuals have come from the old society, and have been born in non-working people households, Even though some people have been born in worker or peasant households, the education they received before Liberation was bourgeois, and their worldview is basically bourgeois, they still count as bourgeois intellectuals. If these people do not remove matters from the past, and change towards a proletarian worldview, they do not share the viewpoint of workers and peasants, do not share standpoints and do not share feelings, but they will be incompatible with workers and peasants, and workers and peasants will also be unable to speak the words in their hearts to them. If intellectuals are integrated with workers and peasants, and make friends with them, they will be able to change the Marxism that they learnt from books into their own thing. Studying Marxist not only requires learning from books, it mainly requires undergoing class struggle, working practice and closeness to the workers and peasants, before it can be truly mastered. If our intellectuals have read some Marxist books, are close to workers and peasants, and if they have some understanding of their own work practice, all of us will have a common language, we will not only have a common language in the area of nationalism, or a common language in the area of the Socialist system, but we may also have a common language in the area of the Communist worldview, In this way, everyone’s work will certainly be done even better.

The fifth point: concerning work style rectification. Work style rectification means rectifying ideological style and working style. The work style rectification of the Communist Party has already been conducted once during the period of the War of Resistance against Japan, has been conducted again at the time of the War of Liberation, and has been conducted once again in the early period of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. Now, the Communist Party Centre has put forward a decision to prepare the commencement of work style rectification within the Party this year. Persons outside of the Party may freely participate, those who do not want to are not to participate. This work style rectification mainly requires criticism of some mistaken ideological styles and work styles: one is subjectivism, one is bureaucratism, another one is sectarianism. The methods for this work style rectification are the same as those from the period if the War of Resistance against Japan, that is, first, researching a number of documents, every person is to inspect his own ideology and work on the basis of studying documents, launching criticism and self-criticism, exposing flaws and areas with mistakes, carrying forward superiorities and correct aspects. During the period of work style rectification, we must be serious and earnest on the one hand, must absolutely conduct earnest and non-perfunctory criticism and self-criticism of flaws and mistakes, and must absolutely rectify them; on the other hand, we must also be mild and gentle, learn from past mistakes and avoid future ones, cure the sickness and save the patient, and oppose the method of “beating people to death with sticks”.

Our Party is a magnificent Party, a glorious Party and a correct Party. This must be affirmed. But we also have flaws, this fact must also be affirmed. We should not affirm our everything, but should only affirm correct things; at the same time, we should also not deny our everything, but should only deny mistaken things. The main part of our work are achievements, but there are also many flaws and mistakes. Because of this, we must conduct work style rectification. If we ourselves criticize our own subjectivism, bureaucratism and sectarianism, can this make our Party lose prestige? As I see it, it cannot. Quite the opposite, it can increase the Party’s prestige. The work style rectification from the period of the War of Resistance against Japan is the proof. It has increased the Party’s prestige, has increased the prestige of the comrades and has increased the prestige of old cadres, new cadres have also made great progress. In the comparison between a Communist Party and a Guomindang, who fears criticism? The Guomindang fears criticism? It prohibited criticism, with the result that it could not remedy its failures. The Communist Party does not fear criticism, because we are Marxists, the truth is on our side, the worker and peasant masses are on our side. We have said in the past that the work style rectification movement is a “universal Marxist education movement”. Work style rectification means that the entire Party studies Marxism through criticism and self-criticism. During work style rectification, we absolutely can learn a bit more Marxism.

China’s reform and construction relies on our leadership. If we rectify our work styles well, we may be even more active in our work, our ability will be even greater and work will be done even better. Our country must have many people who sincerely serve the people, sincerely serve the Socialist undertaking, and are resolved to reform. Our Communist Party members should all be such people. In the past, in the old China, talking about reform was a crime, led to people being killed, or to be put in jail. But at that time, there were some people resolved to reform who were dauntless, and under all kinds of difficult conditions, they published books and newspapers, educated the people, organized the people, and conducted unyielding struggle. The people’s democratic dictatorship regime has opened up a path for the rapid development of our economy and culture. The establishment of our regime has only happened a short few years ago, but people can see that, whether it is in the economic area, in the cultural, educational or scientific areas, a situation of unprecedented glory has already emerged. In order to achieve the objective of constructing the New China, us Communist Party members must also be unyielding to any difficulty. But only relying on ourselves is still not enough. We must also have a batch of people with integrity and benevolence outside the Party, who are able to struggle undauntedly together with us for the sake of reform and constructing our society, according to the orientation of Socialism and Communism. We must make the millions of Chinese live better, and must build this country of ours with its backward economy and backwards culture into a well-off, strong, and prosperous country that has a high level of culture, this is a very arduous task. The reason why we had rectify work styles, and must rectify work styles,  still need to rectify work styles in the future, and must incessantly purge ourselves of the mistaken things in our own lives, is to enable us to  even better bear this task, and even better work together with all people with integrity and benevolence who are resolved to reform inside and outside the Party. Thorough materialists are dauntless, and we hope that all people who jointly struggle with us are able to bravely bear responsibility, overcome difficulty, do not fear setbacks, do not fear discussion or ridicule from some people, and must also not fear us Communists putting forward criticism or suggestions. “One who will risk being sliced to pieces dares to unsaddle the Emperor”, at the time of our struggle for Socialism and Communism, we must have this sort of fearless spirit. As Communist Party members, we must create beneficial conditions for these co-operators, must establish comradely and good joint work relationships with them, and unite with them in order to struggle together.

The sixth point: the issue of one-sidedness. One-sidedness is ideological absolutization, and is to look at problems metaphysically. As for our view of work, affirming everything or denying everything is one-sidedness. There are still many people who look at problems in this way in the Communist Party, and there are also many outside the Party. Affirming everything is only to see good things, and not to see bad things, only being able to praise and not being able to criticize. To say that everything seems to be good in our work dos not conform with the facts. Not everything is good, there still are flaws and mistakes. But also, not everything is bad, this also does not conform to the facts. We must analyse this. Denying everything is to believe, without analysis, that all things are not done well, if it seems that a magnificent undertaking such as Socialist construction, and this magnificent struggle conducted by millions of people, does not have good things to talk about, it is a complete mess. Although many people having this sort of view are not equivalent to those people who harbour inimical feelings towards the Socialist system, this sort of view is very mistaken and very harmful, it can only cause people to lose faith. Irrespective of whether it is a viewpoint affirming everything or denying everything that is used to look at our work, both are mistaken. As for these people who look at issues in a one-sided manner, they should be criticized, naturally, it is necessary to adopt an attitude of learning from past mistakes to avoid future ones, and curing the illness to save the patient in criticism, we must help them.

Some say that, as we must rectify work styles, and want everyone to put forward opinion, one-sidedness is inevitable, they put forward that to overcome one-sidedness, it seems as though we cannot let people speak. Is this sort of wording correct? Requiring all people to not bring in a little one-sidedness is difficult. People always observe problems, handle problems and express opinions on the basis of their own experience, sometimes, it is difficult to avoid some one-sidedness. But, can we require the people to progressively overcome one-sidedness, and require them to look at problems in a relatively comprehensive manner? As I see it, we should require this. If we do not do so, and do not require that there are relatively many people who, day by day, year by year, adopt relatively comprehensive methods to look at issues, then, we will stagnate, we will become affirming one-siders, and this runs counter to the requirement of rectifying work styles. So-called one-sidedness violates dialectics. If we want to progressively popularize dialectics, we must require everyone to progressively learn how to use this scientific method of dialectics. We have a number of articles, that are utterly dignified, but without rubbish, we cannot analyse problems, and will be unable to speak reason, and will not have persuasiveness. This sort of article should be progressively dignified. When writing articles yourself, do not always think “I am so brilliant”, but adopt an attitude of being at a completely equal level to the reader. Although your duration of participating in the Revolution is long, if you say wrong words, the people will refute them. The higher the air you assume, the more people do not care for what you write, and the more people will not like to read your articles. We should conscientiously do things, analyse facts, be persuasive when writing articles, and must not rely on affectation and poses to frighten the people.

Some say that issuing lengthy speeches and articles may avoid one-sidedness, and that writing short pieces and essays cannot avoid one-sidedness. Do essays bring one-sidedness with certainty? I have said earlier that one-sidedness often is hard to avoid, and some one-sidedness is also not awful. Requiring all people to be comprehensive when looking at problems may impede the development of criticism. But, we must also require that they strive to be relatively comprehensive in looking at problems, whether it concerns long writing, short writing, including essays, efforts must be made to ensure that they are not one-sided. Some ask how an analysis can be made in an essay of a few hundred characters, or one or two thousand characters? I say, how can it not? Did Lu Xun not do exactly this? The method of analysis is the dialectic method. What is called analysis is to analyse the material contradictions. Without a deep understanding of life, and without a true understanding of the contradictions under discussion, it is impossible to have a pertinent analysis. Lu Xun’s later essays were the deepest and most powerful, and they were not one-sided, which was because at that time, he had mastered dialectics. Lenin has an article that can be said to be an essay, which also contains satire, and has been written very acutely, but there is no one-sidedness in it. Lu Xun’s essays were for the most part aimed at enemies, Lenin’s essays sometimes where aimed at enemies, but there were also some aimed at comrades. Can Lu Xun-type essays be used to deal with mistakes and flaws among the people? As I see it, they can. Naturally, we must clearly separate enemies from ourselves, and we cannot stand on an inimical viewpoint  or use an inimical attitude to deal with comrades. We must be full of enthusiasm, and use an attitude of protecting the people’s undertaking and raising the people’s consciousness when talking with them, we cannot use ridiculing or aggressive attitudes to talk with them.

If you don’t dare to write articles, what then? Some say that they have an article but do not dare to write it, when they write it, they are afraid of offending others, and are afraid of criticism. As I see it, this sort of misgiving can be eliminated. Our regime is the people’s democratic dictatorship regime, this is a beneficial environment for writing for the sake of the people. The policy of letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools content has given new guarantees for the development of science and arts. If you write correctly, you do not need to fear any criticism, and may through debate, further clarify your own correct opinion. If you have written mistakes, then criticism can help you to correct matters, there is nothing wrong with this. In our society, the criticism and counter-criticism of the revolutionary struggle has exposed contradictions and resolved contradictions, and it’s a good method for developing science and art, and doing all work matters well.

The seventh point: “let go” or “reining in”? This is an issue of policy. Letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools contend is a basic and at the same time long-term policy, it is not a temporary policy. In the discussion, the comrades have not approved reining in, as I see it, this opinion is very correct. The opinion of the Party Centre cannot be reined in, only let go.

There are two different kinds of method that may be adopted in leading our country, or two different kinds of policies, these are letting go and reining in. Letting go means giving a free hand to let everyone tell their opinions, let the people dare to speak, dare to criticize and dare to debate; do nit fear mistaken debates, do not fear poisonous things; develop mutual debate and mutual criticism between the various kinds of opinions, both permit the freedom to criticize and permit the freedom to criticize the criticizers; as for mistaken opinions, they are not to be forced into submission, but are to be persuaded, convince people by reasoning. Reining in means not permitting people to talk about different opinions and not permitting people to express mistaken opinions, and when they do so, “beating them to death with sticks”. This is not a method to resolve contradictions, but is a method that broadens contradictions. Of both kinds of policy, let go or rein in? One of both must be adopted. We adopt the policy of letting go, because this benefits the policy of our country’s consolidation and cultural development.

We prepare to use this policy of letting go to unite a few millions of intellectuals, and change their present appearance. It is as I said earlier, the absolute majority of our country’s intellectuals are willing to progress, are willing to transform, and are able to transform. Here, the policy that we adopt has a very large role. The issue of intellectuals is first and foremost an issue of ideology, adopting rough methods or suppressive methods in regards to ideological issues is harmful, not beneficial. The transformation of intellectuals and especially the transformation of their worldview requires a long-term process. Our comrades must absolutely understand that the work of ideological transformation is long-term, patient and meticulous work, we cannot attempt to hold a few classes, have a few meetings, and transform the ideological concepts that have been formed over few decades of life. If we want people to submit, we can only persuade, we cannot force them. The result of forcing is always coercion without persuasion. Forcing people to submit will not work. We can act so when dealing with enemies, but when dealing with comrades or dealing with friends, we may absolutely not use this method. What then if we cannot persuade them? This, we must study. We absolutely must lean how to overcome all sorts of mistaken ideologies through methods of debate and methods of reasoning.

Letting a hundred flowers bloom is a method to develop the arts, letting a hundred schools contend is a method to develop science. This policy of letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools contend not only is a good method to ensure the development of science and the arts, but in the same way, it is also a good method for us to conduct all work. This method may make us make fewer mistakes. There are many things that we do not know, and that we therefore cannot resolve, through debate, through struggle, we may understand these things, and may understand the way to resolve problems. The result of debate between all sorts of different opinions can make the truth develop. As for those poisonous, anti-Marxist things, this method may also be developed here, because conducting struggle with these anti-Marxist things may make Marxism develop. This is the development through the struggle between opposites, which is suited to dialectical development.

Have not people always talked about the true, the good and the beautiful? The opposite of the true, the good and the beautiful is the false, the evil and the ugly. Without the false, the evil and the ugly, there is nothing true, good and beautiful. Truth is opposed to falsehoods. In human societies and the natural world, entities always strive to decompose into different parts, it is just that under different conditions, content is different, and the form is different. Mistaken things will exist at any time, false, evil and ugly things will always exist. At any time, this contrast between good and bad, kindness and evilness, beauty and ugliness will exist. Truth develops from the struggle with falsehood. Marxism has developed in this way. Marxism has developed through ideological struggle with the bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie, and only through struggle can it develop.

The policy that we advocate does not sufficiently let go at this time, it isn’t that we let go excessively. We must not fear letting go, we must not fear criticism, we must also not fear poisonous weeds. Marxism is scientific truth, do not fear criticism, it cannot be toppled by criticism. The Communist Party and the People’s Government are similar: also do not fear criticism, they can also not be toppled by criticism. There will always be mistaken things, these are not frightening. In recent times, there were some ox ghosts and snake spirits who were brought out on the stage. Some comrades saw this situation and felt very anxious. I say, having a few is OK, in a few decades, ox ghosts and snake spirits such as these will be gone, if you want to see them, you will not be able to. We must advocate correct things and oppose mistaken things, but we must not fear that people accept mistaken things. A method of only relying on administrative decrees, the phenomenon of prohibiting people from coming into contact with irregular phenomena, prohibiting people from coming into contact with ugly and evil things, prohibiting people from coming into contact with mistaken things, prohibiting people from looking at ox ghosts and snake spirits, cannot resolve problems. Naturally, we must not advocate the development of ox ghosts and snake spirits, I say that “having a few is OK”. The existence of some mistaken things is not strange, and should also not be feared, this may make people master struggling with them even better. The wind and the waves should also not be feared. Human society has developed from the wind and the waves.

In our country, bourgeois and petty bourgeois ideology and anti-Marxist ideology will exist for a long time. The socialist system has been basically established in our country. We already have gained basic victories in the area of transforming the ownership system of the means of production, but in the area of the political front and the ideological front, we have not yet gained a complete victory. The question of who wins and who submits between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie has not yet been truly resolved. We must still conduct long-term struggle with the bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie. If we do not understand this sort of situation, and abandon ideological struggle, we will make a mistake. All mistaken ideologies, all poisonous weeds, and all ox ghosts and snake spirits should be criticized, and we can absolutely not let them spread freely.  But this sort of criticism should be fully reasonable, analytical and persuasive, and should not be rough, bureaucratist, metaphysical or dogmatic.

Since a long time, people have criticized dogmatism very much. This is necessary. But, people often overlook the criticism of revisionism. Dogmatism and revisionism violate Marxism. Marxism must absolutely develop progressively, and must develop following developments in practice. It cannot be bogged down. If it gets bogged down, and always uses the same set ways, it will lose its life. But, the basic principles of Marxism cannot be deviated from, deviating from them means making mistakes. Treating Marxism in a metaphysical way, making it into an ossified thing, is dogmatism. Denying the basic principles of Marxism and denying the universal truth of Marxism is revisionism. Revisionism is a sort of bourgeois ideology. Revisionists  blot out the difference between Socialism and capitalism, and blot out the difference between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. What they advocate is, in reality, not a Socialist line but a capitalist line. Under the present circumstances, revisionism is an even more harmful thing than dogmatism. One important present task on our ideological front is launching criticism of revisionism.

The last point, the eighth point: all provincial, municipal and autonomous region Party Committees should grasp the ideological issue. This point is something that a number of present comrades hoped that I talked about. Now, Party Committees in many localities have not grasped ideological issues, or have grasped them slightly. This is mainly because they are busy. But it must absolutely be grasped. What I call “grasping”, means that this issue must be brought onto the agenda, and must be researched. The violent storm of large-scale mass struggle during our domestic revolutionary war period has basically concluded, but there still is class struggle, which mainly is class struggle on the political front and the ideological front, and it is still very acute. Ideological issues have by now become extremely important issues. All localities’ Party Committee first secretaries should take care of grasping ideological issues personally, only when they have given right regard to and have research this issue, will they be able to correctly resolve this issue. All localities must convene  a meeting just like this propaganda meeting, and discuss the local ideological work and issues in all areas related to ideological work. This sort of meeting not only must have comrades from inside the Party participate, but must also have people from outside the Party participate, there must be people with different opinions who participate. The experience of this meeting of ours demonstrates that this can only have benefits to conducting the meeting, there are no disadvantages.
































One thought on “Speech at the Propaganda Work Conference of the Chinese Communist Party

    Latest Updates | China Copyright and Media said:
    April 20, 2013 at 9:45 am

    […] Speech at the Propaganda Work Conference of the Chinese Communist Party (1957) […]

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