18 January 1979
I, The origins, objectives and discussion method of this Conference
The Conference on Theory Work Principles has begun today. First, let’s talk about the origins and discussion method of this Meeting
After smashing the “Gang of Four”, our ideological and theory battle line is faced with the work to bring order out of chaos, and effect radical reform. This work is to be conducted at the same time as organizational investigations. Since two years, under the direct leadership of the Party Centre, through soul-stirring struggle, this work has obtained great achievements. Smashing the spiritual shackles of Lin Biao and the “Gang of Four”, has been a great fight between the scientific ideological system of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought with anti-Marxist, anti-Mao Zedong Thought and anti-science ideological systems. That it was put forward in the “11th Party Congress” political report of August last year, to comprehensively and correctly understand and grasp the system of Mao Zedong thought, was in order to thoroughly criticize that anti-science and false Marxist ideological system of Lin Biao and the “Gang of Four”. But because of all kinds of different situations and reasons, in our Party, and especially concerning the ideological and theory battle line, there are irregularities in the understanding of these major theoretical principles and questions put forward by the Party Centre. Some comrades, although they approve of the Centre’s wording of “comprehensive and correct”, their understanding is not deep, and these or those kinds of erroneous viewpoints even exist.
By May last year, one important development in the ideological and theory battle line, is the beginning of the discussion about practice being the sole criterion to examine truth. The importance of this discussion is that it makes the ideology of the entire Party and the entire people re-unite on the basis of Comrade Mao Zedong’s “Theory of Practice”, reiterates Comrade Mao Zedong’s viewpoint that consistent stressed that practice comes first in the epistemology of historical materialism, and reiterates that only social practice of the numerous people, is a measure of truth. Although this is common knowledge in Marxism, but it has been forgotten for many years, and has even been reverted. The reformulation of this problem, really strikes at the vital parts of those anti-science ideological systems of Lin Biao and the “Gang of Four”, and has moved forward the general exposure and criticism against the false Marxist theories of Lin Biao and the “Gang of Four”. At the same time, it has also deeply stirred up the question of the people’s general approach to Marxism. This has led to a storm in our country’s ideological and theory battle line. Some comrades have tied large labels to the article of “Practice Is the Sole Criterion to Examine Truth” as well as other articles and speeches participating in the discussion, and have even said that it is “losing the knife”, is “non-Maoist” and is “opposing the banner”.
On 2 June last year, Comrade Deng Xiaoping incisively elaborated Comrade Mao Zedong’s basic viewpoint and basic method of Marxism with seeking truth from facts, everything starting from reality, and integrating theory and practice at the military political work meeting, and criticized those ideological trends opposing truth from facts and opposing that practice is the sole criterion to examine truth, making this discussion rise to new levels. Many provinces, cities, autonomous regions and military units’ leading comrades and theory workers vigorously participated in this discussion. The broad cadres and popular masses were extremely concerned with this. This discussion already has had a huge stimulating function in our real work. In September last year, the “Red Flag” magazine publisher wrote a long article entitled “Reviving the ‘Theory of Practice’ – on the Criterion of Practice Being the Basis of Marxist Epistemology”, the article was delivered to the Standing Committee of the Politburo. Comrade Ye Jianying suggested to the Politburo to convene a Conference on Theory Work Principles, for everyone to bring forward different opinions, unite understandings and resolve these questions on the basis of full democratic discussion.
At the recently-organized Central Working Conference and the Third Plenary, many situations were brought forward and not a few questions were raised concerning this theoretical discussion, and not a few critical opinions were put forward to some comrades, which created beneficial conditions for organizing the Conference on Theory Work Principles.
When we organize a Conference on Theory Work Principles like this, which objectives must we reach? First, we must summarize the basic experiences and lessons from the theoretical and propaganda battle line. When summarizing experiences, we may summarize two years, we may also summarize ten years or thirty years. In the thirty years since founding the State, there are many experiences and there are also many lessons concerning the theoretical and propaganda battle line, we must summarize both the positive and negative experiences, clearly discuss major principles and questions in ideology and theory, and unite on the basis of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought. Second, we must research the basic tasks of ideology and theory work after the core of the entire Party’s work shifts. These two objectives are mutually linked. Summarizing past experiences and lessons, is also to look ahead, to do our work even better from now on, and make theory work to develop even more flourishingly and prosperously.
As to the method of this meeting, the sort of mood of the Third Plenum and the Central Working Conference shall be spread, everyone is to liberate thoughts, use their brains, speak out freely, fully resume and carry forward intra-Party democracy and the fine traditions of seeking truth from facts, the mass line, criticism and self-criticism, clearly distinguish right and wrong, and strengthen the unity of all theoretical and propaganda teams. Generally speaking, the meeting is divided into two sessions. The first session is organized by the Central Propaganda Department and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. More than one hundred comrades from Central and Beijing theory and propaganda work units are invited to participate, and all provinces and cities also sent a liaison. The meeting starts today, and will run until the 26th, after which it is adjourned for five days to celebrate the Spring Festival. It will resume on 1 February, and run until about 12 February. After a few days of rest, the second phase of the meeting is entered, which is envisaged to be convened under the name of the Centre, and will again last for about ten days. Comrades from all provinces and cities are invited to participate, and it is broadened to 400-500 people. The first phase will mainly be conducted in small groups, the second phase will mainly be conducted in plenary sessions. Finally, the Party Centre Chairman and Vice-Chairman are invited to present a report. In order to hold this meeting well, we have established one leading small group of eleven people. At the same time, 21 elders and old comrades who have done ideological and theoretical work in our party for a long time have been invited, and they have been requested to act as guidance. At the same time as our meeting, it is hoped that provinces, cities and autonomous regions can also convene Conference on Theory Work Principles, in order to achieve the effect that high and low work in concert, and there is mutual exchange.
II, An appraisal of trends in the ideological and theoretical battle line in the last two years
In the last two years, the struggle to uncover and criticize the “Gang of Four” of our Party’s leadership, not only gained a great victory politically and organizationally, it also gained an equally great victory in the ideological and theoretical battle line. Ideology circles, theory circles, news circles, culture and art circles and science circles conducted deep criticism of the large amounts of absurd anti-Marxist theories of Lin Biao and the “Gang of Four”, such as the “Great Man Theory”, the “Everything Starts from Books Theory”, “Repudiating the Theory of Omnipotence of Productive Forces”, the “Theory that Distribution According to Work Done Creates a Capitalist Class”, the “Total Dictatorship Theory”, the “Theory that there Is a Capitalist Class within the Party”, the “Theory that in the Socialist Era, Only Rightism Can Be Criticized and ‘Leftism’ Cannot”, the “Struggle Between Confucianists and Legalists”, the “Black Line Dictatorship Theory”, the “Three Standouts Theory”, the “Theory Opposing Science to Be a Productive Force”, etc., and broke through all sorts of forbidden zones they erected, utilized the keen weapons of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought, to distinguish ideological right and wrong, theoretical right and wrong, line right and wrong and policy right and wrong that they entangled. The ideology of the entire Party and the people of the entire country has been greatly liberated.
These two years of ideological and theoretical work, have exceeded any period since the founding of the country when talking about their scale, talking about their struggle function, and talking about their raising the entire Party’s theoretical level, and it may be said that they are the most outstanding two years with the most achievements since the Yan’an Rectification. Marx said: “The extent to which theory is realized in a country, depends on the extend to which theory satisfies the requirements of that country.” Why these two years of theoretical work have achieved such a great progress, is basically because of the requirements of the struggle and the requirements of the popular masses’ practice. The people have never been so concerned with theoretical work as today. The discussion concerning the three questions of practice being the sole criterion to examine truth, concerning democracy and the legal system and concerning distribution according to work done have attracted the participation of the broad popular masses and especially the youth. The fact that theoretical work has become such a truly mass activity as today, has rarely occurred in history. Whatever mass theory teams the “Gang of Four” came up with, they were false, and in reality deceived the masses. When we open our eyes to the world, there aren’t very many nations that are so concerned about theoretical questions as the Chinese people, and so interested in theory. This is a sort of praiseworthy spirit of the nation. More than one hundred years ago, Engels pointed out when talking about the German working classes’ theoretical interest that ” here, there aren’t any misgivings about status or interest and there is no thinking about imploring the superiors of protection. Comrades, isn’t the theoretical interest that burst forth in our Party and the people of our country, exactly that?
Our theory and propaganda teams have also seen heartening changes over the last two years. These teams’ advance and progress in struggle has been very large. What especially causes gladness, is that in the great struggle to expose and criticize Lin Biao and the “Gang of Four”, a large batch of path breakers have merged that link theory to reality, are closely connected with the masses, and are good at considering problems. It should be considered that the ideological and theoretical battle line in these two years has not been tranquil, and that there have been these several storms. These comrades have been at the head of the assault in the struggle, and have proved to be vanguard fighters for the ideological and theoretical battle line. They dare to seek truth from facts, get rid of superstition, withstand all sorts of reproach and censure, and do not fear labels and sticks that fly towards them. They clearly show their colours, their position is firm, they grasp truth, carry everything before themselves, dare to think, dare to speak, dare to do and dare to charge. This sort of dauntless and thorough spirit of materialism is extremely praiseworthy. The emergence of this batch of excellent path breakers has strengthened the force of our Marxist theory teams, and is an amazing harvest. We must earnestly foster and raise them, and make them give rein to an even larger function in theoretical and propaganda battle lines.
At this meeting, we must summarize the great progress in these two years of theoretical and propaganda work and the experience of theory and propaganda team growth. At the same time, we must also consider insufficient work, and consider the greave defects and problems existing in our theory and propaganda battle line. At present, one prominent problem in the theory and propaganda battle line is that a considerable number of comrades’ ideologies still remain in a state of rigidity or semi-rigidity. A small number of comrades even dropped out, and left the ideological line of seeking truth from facts, set up forbidden zones, issued prohibitions, and became an obstacle to liberating thoughts. We shall research where the crux that engendered these phenomena is. We see that one important ideological root is to despise practice and despise the masses. There are a number of comrades among us that aren’t willing to implement Comrade Mao Zedong’s instruction to cast eyes downward, and go to listen attentively to the voices of practice and the masses, but disdain to investigate conditions at the lower levels, only start from books, documents and higher-level instructions, and even only believe their own small circles, and have no contact with the people. Naturally, this is very dangerous. Such theoretical work has lost the source and will inevitably walk wrong paths.
The ideological battle line is a battle line where mistakes are easily made. If it is separated from reality and separated from the masses, mistakes are even more easily made. We shall permit mistakes to be made on theoretical questions. Comrades making mistakes must be helped, comrades making mistakes shall also summarize their experience and lessons, to progress somewhat. We must advocate the dispute between different viewpoints concerning theoretical questions, advocate criticism and counter-criticism concerning theoretical articles, and truly carry forward a democratic style of study.
How to conduct criticism and self-criticism concerning the theoretical battle line, is a very important question. Over the last few days, the “People’s Daily” published articles by two specially-arranged commentators, one is called “Carrying Forward the Fine Atmosphere of Criticism and Self-Criticism”, the other is called “Uniting and Looking Ahead”. The two articles are written by the Central Organization Department Research Office. I approve of the viewpoints in these two articles. Since the Cultural Revolution, and especially since starting to do organization work last year, I often thought two questions over in my mind: one is that in our such large country, what is the quantitative concept in the meaning of the word “overthrow”? Comrade Mao Zedong regularly told us that the absolute majority of cadres is good or relatively good. Those that need to be overthrown can only be a tiny minority. At this moment, we have 17 million cadres released from production, which may become 19 million by the end of the year, which is about same as the population of Romania. Overthrowing one percent, is 190000, overthrowing two percent, is 380000, that is terrible. his generates a question, what does it mean that the absolute majority of cadres are good or relatively good? Is it 98 percent, or 99, or is it more than 99 percent? The second question, can we say that it is hard to avoid that all cadres will have shortcomings or even make mistakes, or that someone who has not made mistakes in the past also may make mistakes in the future? These are two questions that are different in nature but are mutually connected. One is the absolute majority of cadres being good or relatively good; one is that it is hard to avoid that all cadres will have shortcomings or errors here or there. Just because the absolute majority of cadres are good and relatively good, we certainly must draw experiences and lessons from the past, and must definitely not lightly overthrow a cadre; just because our cadres all have shortcomings or errors here or there, we must also regularly conduct criticism and self-criticism, and must wash ourselves every day, just like washing our faces, as Comrade Mao Zedong taught us.
I also recall two passages spoken by Comrade Mao Zedong. One passage is at the end of 1965, when Comrade Peng Dehuai was assigned to the Third Front to act as vice-commander, Chairman Mao invited old leader Peng to dinner, and said three things to old leader Peng: “You must look ahead. History will make the verdict on your question. Perhaps the truth is on your side.” This is what is said by Comrade Pu Anxiu at the meeting of the Central Discipline Inspection Committee. I believe that Comrade Mao Zedong at that time spoke thus. The Old Man also had to come back to think about a number of questions after a bit of time passed. The second passage, I heard myself, on 14 October 1968, at the 12th Plenum of the 8th Party Congress. At one o’clock in the afternoon on that day, the Chairman said a couple of sentences and asked us: “Comrades, what do you think of the Cultural Revolution?” Subsequently silence reigned, and there was no answer. The Chairman continued: “If I look fifty years or a hundred years further, perhaps this period is a brief interlude in history.” After I heard this sentence, I did not sleep for a night. I have often wanted to find Chairman Mao to talk to hem, and ask him about this sentence. I think that this sentence spoken by Chairman Mao has a profound significance. On that day, he also said: “this Central Committee meeting, only 56 members came, and many have not come, I hope that more will come next time.” But it was not more that came for the “9th Congress”, but even fewer, there were only 54, two less. Throughout his life, and especially from the Sixties, Comrade Mao Zedong’s thoughts and his approach to problems, contain many matters, we should not yet hastily make judgements, hurried judgements often easily come to grief. These two passages quite moved me when I head them, and had many thoughts. Launching criticism and self-criticism is not easy. Especially theoretical work criticism and self-criticism, are different from other criticism, from political line criticism, from Party spirit criticism, they do not have its characteristics, and it must be clearly researched. This theoretical work principles conference must clearly distinguish right from wrong. To distinguishing right from wrong, we must conduct criticism and self-criticism. Criticism and self-criticism in the ideological sphere must be done with more persuasiveness, prevent one-sidedness, permit more time to consider, make theoretical criticism and self-criticism to be done better, more healthily on the basis of summarizing experiences, do not make mistakes or only make small mistakes.
A few years ago, in our Party, there were a few theoretical sticks, also called theoretical despots, such as Chen Boda, Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan, Guan Feng, Qi Benyu, and also Kang Sheng. They monopolized Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought, and only permitted themselves to arbitrarily distort and falsify it, while not permitting others to conduct creative research. They were allowed to use their privileges without any basis to attach labels such as “Anti-Party Article”, “Anti-Party Novel” “Black Painting” and “Black Drama” to works welcomed by the people. This sort of despotic style that destroyed culture and suppressed thought must be eliminated. Some comrades had a very narrow understanding of the phrase “revolution is criticism”. Criticism is picking and choosing, absorbing the good and removing the bad. Marx, Engels, Lenin, Staling, Mao Zedong and also Lu Xun not only criticized many people, but also praised many scientists, philosophers, thinkers and writers. While they did not know many writers, when they commented on works, they never grasped only a phrase or two from a writer, and exaggerate their mistakes to the maximum, but considered the main ideological tendency of the whole work, and distinguished whether it was a good thing, that had value, or a bad thing, a poisonous weed. We must carry forward this sort of Marxist style of study. Only in this way will we be able to truly realize letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools contend, and make Marxist theoretical work and overall science and culture undertakings flourish and grow.
III, The major changes and theory
The duties of propaganda work
This theoretical work principles meeting of ours, is organized at a time where the centre of gravity of the entire Party’s work is shifting, and shall stress the discussion of how to adapt theoretical and propaganda work to these great strategic changes.
I raise a preliminary consideration, whether or not the basic task of theoretical and propaganda work after shifting the centre of gravity of the entire Party’s work, cannot be concluded in a phrase like this: integrating the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought closely with the great practice of realizing the Four Modernizations, researching new problems, resolving new problems, to the best of our ability using our ideological and theoretical work to march towards the front of practical work, causing the incessant enrichment and development Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought in practice, and guiding us to seize a victory in the new Long March.
The universal truth of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought may not be deviated from at any time or in any battle line. We must persist in the basic principle of defending Marxism and Mao Zedong Thought, continue to guard against revisionist tendencies emerging in “leftist” or rightist forms. At present, we have not yet concluded the struggle against Lin Biao, the “Gang of Four” as well as revisionism emerging in extreme leftist forms, and must spend great efforts to continue to deeply criticize Lin Biao, the “Gang of Four” from ideology and theory, and eliminate their bad influence from all angles, this is an ideological condition for smoothly realizing the grand transformation.
Today, tasks in these two aspects are put in front of theoretical and propaganda work.
One aspect is to continue to clear away the ideological obstacles in our path ahead. We must discuss, which things are still there in ideology and theory that block our advance and shall be continuously smashed? Which prohibited areas are there still? Which spiritual shackles are there still? They include ideological and theoretical questions that Comrade Mao Zedong did not manage to clearly elaborate before his passing, and that were afterwards gravely distorted by the “Gang of Four”, for example questions about the Socialist class struggle, etc. That political report of the “9th Congress” drafted by Kang Sheng and Zhang Chunqiao, has many theoretical errors, many absurd theories of the “Gang of Four” come from there. These theories do not distinguish right from wrong, and may cause our thoughts to be fettered, and become stumbling blocks in our advance towards the Four Modernizations. Comrade Hu Qiaomu has a suggestion concerning these questions, that are made into materials and issued to everybody. At the same time, it is hoped that the comrades raise a batch of problems that need to be continuously resolved at this meeting, and for some topics, it is hope that comrades that have done research fully express their viewpoints.
Another even more important aspect, is researching and resolving new problems that emerge one after another in the great transformation, closely integrate Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought with new practices, make theory work start from reality and be able to march at the head of the millions of people in the grand practice of implementing the four modernizations, and guide our real work to leap ahead, full of vitality. This is the basic task for theoretical and propaganda work after the centre of gravity of the entire Party’s work shifts. We must earnestly and clearly discuss these questions, make theoretical and propaganda workers transform ideologically, and face the reality of the four modernizations. For example, how to run the Socialist planned economy, how to conduct operations and management, how to accelerate agricultural development. Recently, the Centre wrote a 15000-charavter draft of the “Decision Concerning Some Questions in Accelerating Agricultural Development”, is it completely theoretically guided? Especially according to the real situation of our country, how to let agriculture rise as quickly as possible, must be resolved by integrating theory and practice. This requires us to use Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought as guidance, earnestly research new circumstances and new questions, earnestly achieve the close integration of theory with the practice of modernization construction. If the essence is not integrated, hanging Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought in empty space, making them into spirits, is just equal to hanging up a signboard but swindling and bluffing, and it can only be called false Marxism and anti-Marxism. If the integration is not close, it can only be called semi-Marxism, and at least cannot be counted as complete Marxism. We certainly must strive to achieve close integration. Naturally, achieving this is not easy, it is very difficult, and we must work hard. Many nations’ proletariat parties have not been able to achieve this point, as a result, until now, the revolution has not been successful. Our Party and Comrade Mao Zedong achieved this point, as a result, the Chinese revolution was successful. This is amazing. Lin Biao and the “Gang of Four” destroyed this sort of integration, made Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought into a signboard, and opposed Marxism. We must now resume the theoretical work orientation of Comrade Mao Zedong, and must resolutely march in this direction of closely integrating Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought with the Four Modernizations. This theoretical work is the only correct orientation. Leaving this orientation is always a dishonest practice. We certainly must eliminate all sorts of obstacles, and advance in this direction.
How will it be possible to resolutely advance towards this only correct orientation in theoretical work? I think at least, we must meet the following three conditions.
First, we must certainly earnestly read Marxist-Leninist and Mao Zedong works. Without this, what do we take to integrate with practice? What do we take to guide modernization construction? Theory is the guideline of action. Engels said: “a nation must stand on the highest peak of science, and cannot lack theoretical thought for even a short while.” For realizing the Four Modernizations, we must stand on the high peak of science, not having theoretical guidance is absolutely no good. After the focal points of the entire Party’s work shift, not only can theoretical work not be loosened, but we must give even higher regard to theoretical work. We must make the great undertaking of our country’s Four Modernization have correct theoretical guidance, shape a set of complete lines, principles, policies and methods, and make our undertaking advance along the correct path. We must not again let whatever political swindlers lead us by the nose to march down the wrong path, this historical lesson may certainly not be forgotten. Theoretical and propaganda work cadres themselves shall take the lead in studying theory well, earnestly reading and studying, and getting a good grasp of Marxism. We propose that after half a year, the theoretical and propaganda cadres of the entire Party, staring from the propaganda department heads, must do an open-book exam once, which tests the basic principles of Marxism-Leninism, and they may not request secretaries to do it in their stead.
Second, we must certainly earnestly face reality. Whether our theoretical and propaganda work may use the wording of a certain image or not, must rely on Marx and Lenin, and face reality. Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong thought are theoretical bases for guiding our entire work. We must firmly rely on this basis, and not even deviate from them for a short time. But if theory does not face reality, and does not resolve real problems, then it is not relying, must it is laying down to sleep on Marxism-Leninism. Therefore, theory must certainly face reality. Dace which reality? It must face the reality of the Four Modernizations, face the reality of the ideology of cadres and popular masses inside and outside of the Party, and face the reality of experience and lessons from the past, the present and the future. The scope of reality is very broad. We cannot only face the reality of one moment or a single incident, but must work hard to face reality of the long term, without ceasing. Marxist theory’s sources are reality, and are not books, are not documents, and are not instructions from higher levels, these are streams, not sources. Where theory has departed from reality, it has becomes a tree without roots, a water without source, and the lifeline of theory is lost. Therefore, we must go into reality to attract the sources of Marxist theory, make our own minds become richer, and eternally preserve the vitality of theoretical work.
Third, we must certainly liberate thoughts and take the lead in creating a fine style of study consistently advocated by Comrade Mao Zedong. The most basic matter is that we must completely and correctly understand and grasp the scientific structure of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought and oppose bookism. We must be liberated from the state of ideological rigidity or semi-rigidity, be liberated from the power of small-scale production habits, and be liberated from under all sorts of bureaucratic “management, checks and pressure”, break through all “prohibited areas”, smash all spiritual shackles, and fully carry theoretic democracy forward. Persisting in implementing the mass line in theoretical work, thoroughly eliminate the bad influence of theoretical absolutism and theoretical despotism of Lin Biao and the “Gang of Four”, and make a hundred flowers blossom in the theoretical garden of Marxism. The heaven and earth of theoretical world are broad without parallel, theoretical workers must have courage, be far-sighted, and dare to raise new questions and resolve new questions starting from reality, and establish a scientific attitude of persisting in truth for the interest of the people, and oppose the bad study style of selling principles for the sake of individual interest.
I think that if our theoretical and propaganda teams earnestly achieve these three matters, they will certainly be able to let our theoretical work catch up with the popular masses’ rich practice in marching ahead with the Four Modernizations, and run to the front of practice to guide our country’s modernization construction undertaking in advancing with large steps.
Strengthening theoretical research and theoretical propaganda works, must produce achievements. We must write a batch of theoretical articles and theoretical works having weight, on the basis of the close integration of theory and practice. Since smashing the “Gang of Four” a batch of theoretical articles have come out the year before last, and a batch have come out last year, which brought order out of chaos, effected thorough overhaul and had a good function in ideology and theory. We must incessantly strive to again create a batch of theoretical articles with weight this year, and put a hand to creating a number of theoretical monographs, incessantly making Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought richer and more developed in practice, and promoting Socialist modernization construction.
In order to do theoretical work well, all newspapers and periodicals, and all levels’ propaganda departments are requested to pay attention to two issues. First, they may not hastily publish weighty and influential focus theoretical articles, but must carefully consider and clearly research them. For instance, on the question of Socialist democracy, I also do not yet have completely thought this question through. At this time, the general ideological trend is good, and is that we must realize the Four Modernizations. But last year, there were an ideological trend within the party, which is was “act according to everything”; this year, there also is a minuscule ideological trend in society, which is reflected in the question of seeking audiences. The majority of people seeking audiences have frustrations and grievances, 98 or 99 percent of the requirement of these people are reasonable. This is mainstream. If we haven’t done our work well, and made them suffer hardship, we must help them to resolve their problems. But is it not so that there is also this one person in a thousand, or those few in ten thousand, whose opinions and methods are not appropriate. Some raise large slogans and demonstrate, and put forward to “oppose hunger, oppose persecution, demand democracy and demand freedom”, link up with foreigners, and talk for four hours. We must not fear this sort of situation, and also must not casually arrest people. But we must research what these few people are thinking. In the 4th volume of the “Collected Works of Mao Zedong”, a sort of democratic individualism is put forward, the thoughts of these people, are they not democratic individualist? What our Party advocates is democracy of the people, is democratic collectivism or democratic centralism, and it opposes democratic individualism. There is individualism in all sorts and varieties, this sort of individualism has speaking about abstract “democracy” as its main characteristic. It is mainly reflected in four matters: first, it deviates from the basic principles of the Constitution, and deviates from democratic freedom under concrete historical conditions. It is not that a few articles in the Constitution may not be revised. But, a country such as ours which is led by a Communist Party, must practice Socialism, and take Marxism-Leninism as guiding ideology, etc., these basic principles cannot be violated. These people deviate from concrete historical conditions to demand democracy and demand freedom, this is just not correct. Second, they deviate from development production to improve life. Third, they deviate from the interests of the complete people to go and look after their individual interest. Four, they deviate from the universal principles of Marxism-Leninism to liberate their thoughts. Having these four matters, can that count as Marxism-Leninism? In my view, it cannot count as such. What is this ism called? Can we call it democratic individualism? It may be researched. Naturally, no matter what, there are three matters in which we certainly must persist. One is to not arrest people casually; second is to not criticize people by name casually; third is to not persecute wantonly. We have suffered in these aspects. Comrade Mao Zedong said, democratic individualism can be reformed for the better, and may turn for the worse. Zhu Ziqing and Wen Yiduo once both were democratic individualists, and did they change and progress afterwards! Some youths’ ideologies are dynamic, they dare to think about problems, but daring to think about problems does not equal Marxism, and we cannot equate daring to think about problems with Marxism. We must use Marxism-Leninism to guide them, we must look for them to talk and help them. Similar problems to these must be researched very well, but we must not lightly publish articles in newspapers and periodicals, and focus articles must not be hastily published. Second, we must march the mass line more, and search for people for investigation and to raise opinions more. Repeatedly pondering to add to the mass line again, may let us make fewer mistakes. Mistakes are unavoidable and will be made, but in this way, we may reduce mistakes in the future.
Today, I raised these few issues, which count as introduction to this Meeting, the meaning of this is to offer humble remark to spark abler talk, and I hope everyone will eagerly express opinions, and strive to conduct this theoretical work principles meeting organized during a great transformation well.