(12 October 1983)
This main topic of this Plenary meeting of the Centre is Party consolidation. The Centre’s resolution concerning Party consolidation has been discussed and passed by everyone. This is a good document, I completely agree. After the meeting, we must still discuss the leadership of the Party over the ideological front. I’d like to talk about a few opinions on the two issues that we cannot go through the motions of Party consolidation and cannot engage in spiritual pollution on the ideological front.
The first problem: we cannot go through the motions of Party consolidation.
Since the 3rd Plenum of the 11th Party Congress, the party has again determined the ideological line, policy line and organizational line of Marxism, has formulated correct policies that are suited to the situations of all aspects, has gained clear achievements, and a new picture is progressively unfolding in all work matters. The broad masses support our Party’s line and leadership. In the process of realizing a magnificent historical transformation, undergoing the experience of many great struggles, has proven that the main stream of our Party is good, has fighting force, has abilities and has methods to resolve problems.
But, our Party’s situation at the moment is still far from satisfactory. Within the party, major programmes that we haven’t yet had time to clear up and resolve still exist. Here, there are the negative things left over from the ten years of internal chaos, and there are negative things that have emerged and developed under new historical conditions. It is decided to list “three sorts of people”, grave economic criminals and other criminal elements, abusing power for personal gain, people gravely harming the relationship of the Party and the masses, who for a long time have not maintained political consistency with the Centre, or people who maintain consistency on the surface but in reality go their own way. All of these are internal harmful factors for the Party, and corrupting factors, they are a grave expression of intra-Party ideological impurity, work style impurity and organizational impurity.
The most dangerous among these are the “three kinds of people”. A batch of these people has already been cleared up and dealt with, there are some who have already rectified themselves somewhat in their thoughts and actions. But there still is a batch whose viewpoint has not changed and who are hidden inside the Party. Saying they are the most dangerous, is because: 1, they persist in their original factionalist thinking, having a set of agitating and subverting political stands; 2, they have cunning political tricks, at unfavourable times, they disguise themselves and worm their way into confidence, when the opportune moment arrives, they may inflame the people again, and create new turmoil; 3, they have moved to, been scattered and hidden in many places in the entire country, and close factionalist relationship have not yet been completely eliminated; 4, they are relatively young, and relatively cultured. Among them, there are a number of people who have spread words for ten or twenty years. Generally speaking, they are they are ambitious political forces, they should not be belittled, if this is not resolved in Party consolidation, it may leave behind roods of ruin, which may become time bombs.
Naturally, the problems of some other sorts of problems are also dangerous if not resolved, and may also become the root of evil.
Concerning these situations, many of our old Communist Party members feel very worried, the broad Party member masses and popular masses also feel anxious and dissatisfied. The 12th Party Congress decided to conduct party consolidation, the entire Party from top to bottom and the people of all ethnicities in the entire nation have given great expectations towards Party consolidation. This requires our Party to be determined, use a firm, strict and earnest attitude to conduct this Party consolidation, realistically resolve the grave problems outlined above that must be resolved, we can absolutely not go through the motions of this, and cause the comrades in the entire Party and the people of the entire country to lose hope.
Since the 3rd Plenum, we have spent great efforts to rectify the mistake of “leftism” in the “Cultural Revolution” and a number of earlier political campaigns and ideological struggles, this is completely correct. This sort of “leftist” mistake cannot be permitted to be made again. But, not a few comrades have one-sidedly summarized historical lessons, and believe that any talk about ideological struggle and severe handling is “leftism”, they only raise opposing “leftism” and not opposing rightism, this is marching towards another extreme of weakness and laxity. Concerning the problems of erroneous tendencies, conducting ideological struggle with bad people and bad things and organizational handling, in recent years, a mood of excessive tolerance, indecisiveness, soft-heartedness and making concessions to avoid trouble has grown inside the Party, this has loosened Party discipline and even protected a number of bad people.
Recently, the concentrated attack on a nationwide level against grave criminal acts and criminals has been implemented strictly and quickly, has received the warm support from the broad masses, and has become extremely popular. The masses only worry about being too loose in the future, blundering into future calamity so that criminals can take revenge. The masses still believe that they should have been strictly attacked sooner, and criticize us for having done it too late. These reflections and criticism merit high regard. In the past two years, we have pointed out that situations of weakness and laxity exist at all levels of leadership, and that it is impossible to lay hands on grave criminal acts and criminals is one manifestation of this. We shall learn lessons from this, and must firmly overcome the situation of weakness and laxity in leadership. During Party rectification, the abovementioned “three sorts of people” and all other sorts of people with grave mistakes and grave harm, must be strictly subject to organizational handling. Those that should be expelled from the Party are to be expelled from the Party, those that should be dismissed from their positions or punished otherwise are to be punished, criminals must also be brought to justice. Those with lighter circumstances, must be strictly criticized, and they must be made to conduct earnest and not perfunctory self-criticism, creating realistic guarantees for correcting mistakes. This is one of the most important symbols of the Party not just going through the motions.
Those requiring organizational handling in Party rectification, in the entire Party, are very small in number. Where the absolute majority of Party members are concerned, they are to strengthen their Party spirit through ideological education. We must make the entire Party clearly progress in terms of ideology, politics and spiritual situations, the consciousness that Party members serve the people and do seek personal gain must be clearly raised, and the relationship between the Party and the masses must clearly improve. We must regularly launch intra-Party criticism and self-criticism through Party rectification. Within the Party, no matter who it is and no matter what level their position is, they all must be able to accept criticism and conduct self-criticism. We must strengthen Party construction through Party rectification, and realize the basic improvement of the Party style. Every Party member, every Party cadre and every Party organization must inspect themselves in the light of the Party Constitution, and on the basis of the concrete situation of each, make plans to strive to achieve and persist in meeting the standards provided by the Party Constitution, and guarantee that they are realized. All levels’ leading cadres and especially high-level cadres, should abide by the Party constitution and the “Some Norms concerning Intra-Party Political Life even more strictly, and act as models. this is another important symbol of Party rectification not just going through the motions.
In short, we absolutely must do this Party rectification well, build our Party into a Marxist Party with fighting strength, and become a firm core for leading the people in the entire country to conduct Socialist material civilization construction and spiritual civilization construction. If the entire Party shares this determinations, matters will certainly be done well.
The second problem: no spiritual pollution can be conducted on the ideological front.
The ideological front has a broad scope, and I now mainly talk about the theoretical front and the literary and artistic front. In recent years, great achievements have been made on these two fronts. Concerning the discussion on practice being the sole criterion of truth, concerning the scientific summary of Party history and especially history since the founding of the nation, concerning constructing Socialism with Chinese characteristics, concerning economic and political structural reform, concerning constructing a Socialist spiritual civilization and strengthening Communist and patriotic ideological education, revolving around these, the theoretical world has done much research, argumentation and propaganda work, and has had a very positive function. In all areas of theory and academia, many comrades are industrious and hardworking, and have done large amounts of beneficial work. In literature and art, an unprecedented flourishing has occurred, and progress in reflecting the depth and breadth of real life and in art expression has been clear. Novels, reportages, films, television dramas, theatre plays, operas, poetry, music, fine arts, dance, quyi and all other areas have seen a batch of excellent works emerge. The achievements are the most important, and must be fully recognized, this is undoubtedly so.
But, the theoretical world and the literary and artistic world also still have many problems, considerably grave confusion still exists, and especially the phenomenon of spiritual pollution still exists. Today, I’d like to stress the problems in this area.
The soldiers on the ideological front shall all be engineers of the human soul. In this present period of transition, and in the undertaking of Socialist spiritual civilisation construction and overall societal construction, they have an especially great responsibility in the ideological education area. The negative consequences of the decade of chaos and all sorts of factors inherited from history, and complex new questions emerging under new circumstances, lead to all sorts of reactions in the people’s thoughts, including some blurred and erroneous understanding. Being engineers of the soul, they shall raise high the banner of Marxism and Socialism, use their writings, works, teachings, lectures and performances to educate and guide the people to treat history and understand reality correctly, and firmly believe in Socialism and the leadership of the Party, inspire the people to exert themselves, be positive and upwards, and truly achieve that they have ideals, have morals, have culture and abide by discipline, and bravely struggle for the great and majestic understating of Socialist modernization construction. The absolute majority of people truly act like this to different degrees. But, some people run counter to the times and the requirements put to them by the people, use their unhealthy ideologies, unhealthy works and unhealthy performances to pollute people’s spirits. The essence of spiritual pollution is to disseminate the degenerate and backward ideologies of the bourgeoisie and other exploiting classes, disseminate emotions of not trusting the Socialist and Communist undertaking and the leadership of the Communist Party. The year before last, the Party Centre, convened a conference on ideological front issues, criticized some capitalist liberalization tendencies and phenomena of laxity and weakness in leadership, that meeting has received some results, but has not completely resolved the problems. The situation of weakness and laxity in leadership still exists; some bourgeois liberalization tendencies have been somewhat overcome, some have not yet been overcome, some have developed even more gravely.
There is a corresponding number of theoretical workers, who lack interest in all sorts of major theoretical questions put forward in Socialist modernization construction, who are unwilling to investigate and research real issues, who indicate that they want to maintain a distance from reality, in order to avoid making mistakes, or who believe that this has no academic value. When researching real problems, some situations that depart from Marxism have indeed also emerged. Some comrades hanker discussing the value of people, humanitarianism and so-called alienation, their interest is not in criticizing capitalism but in criticizing Socialism. Humanitarianism is a theoretical question and a moral question, naturally it may be and should be researched and discussed. But there are various sorts of humanitarianism, we shall conduct Marxist analysis, propagate and implement Socialist humanitarianism (what we called revolutionary humanitarianism in the revolutionary years), and criticize bourgeois humanitarianism. The bourgeoisie often flaunt how they stress humanitarianism, and attack Socialism for being anti-humanitarianist. I have not expected there being some comrades inside our Party who also abstractly propagate humanitarianism, the value of people, and so on. They do not understand that not only in capitalist societies, but also in Socialist societies, it is also impossible to abstractly stress the value of people and humanitarianism, because there still are bad people inside our societies, there still are the scum of the old society and the scum of the new society, there still are anti-Socialist elements, there still are foreign and Taiwanese spies. Our people’s standard of living and cultural levels are not yet high, this can also not be resolved by relying on talk about the value of people and humanitarianism, fundamentally, it can only be resolved by relying on vigorously constructing a material civilization and a spiritual civilization. Departing from the se concrete situations and concrete tasks and talking about people, is not talking about real people but talking about abstract people, it is not a Marxist attitude, and may lead the youth astray. As for “alienation”, after Marx discovered the law of residual value, he continued to use this expression to describe the wage labour of workers in a capitalist society, the meaning was that this sort of workers’ labour is alien to them, and opposes workers themselves, with the result only being that the capitalists become rich, and they themselves remain poor. Now, some comrades exceed the scope of capitalism, to the point that they not only aim at the remnants of capitalist labour alienation and their aftermath, but they say that alienation exists in socialism, that alienation exists in the economic sphere, the political sphere and the ideological sphere, they believe that Socialism, in its own development incessantly creates alienated forces because of the own activities of social subjects. They also use the viewpoint of overcoming this sort of so-called alienation to interpret reform. This sort of discourse, cannot only not help people to truly understand and resolve all sorts of problems emerging in the present Socialist society, it also cannot help people in correctly understanding and conducting the reforms that must be incessantly conducted in Socialist societies for technological progress and social progress. This can in fact only lead people to go and criticize, doubt and deny Socialism, or make people lose confidence in Socialism and Communism, or believe that Socialism and capitalism are equally hopeless. If this is the case, what meaning does Socialism still have! Marxism must develop, socialist theory must develop, it must advance together with the development of humankind’s social practice and scientific development. But, the sort of viewpoint mentioned earlier does not advance, but retreats backwards, and retreats to the point before Marxism. Humanitarianism and alienation theory are relatively prominent problems in the ideological world at present. Other similar problems are not few either. For example, propaganda of abstract democracy, or even advocating that counterrevolutionary discourse shall also have the freedom of publication; opposing democracy with the leadership of the Party, putting forward arguments violating Marxism on issues of the Party spirit and the spirit of the people, and so on. Some comrades still embrace a doubtful attitude towards the Party putting forward the Four Cardinal Principles. At one time, a small number of comrades believed that whether this society of ours is a Socialist society, whether we should or whether we can realize Socialism, or even whether our Party is a proletariat Party, that these are all questions. Some comrades also believe that, as now is the Socialist phase, “putting money above all else” is necessary and correct. These erroneous viewpoints mostly are written into articles and openly published in newspapers and periodicals, some have still not been purged. It can be seen to what extent there is ideological confusion with a number of comrades in the theory world
On the literature and art side, there have been a few more literature works reflecting the new life of Socialist modernization construction, this merits a welcome. But, works that are able to inspire the revolutionary spirit of the people and the youth, promoting them to heroically devote themselves to the motherland’s construction and struggle in all areas, and that have a strong inspirational strength, apart from being relatively plentiful in reportage literature, is also present in other areas, but we cannot say in great number. Some people have expressed indifference to the slogan put forward by the Party Centre that literature and art serves the people, and serves Socialism, have expressed indifference to the Socialist orientation of literature and art, lack the enthusiasm to express and eulogize the revolutionary history of the Party and the people and their struggle and heroic achievements for Socialist modernization construction, they rarely stand on the Party’s vigorous and revolutionary standpoint to raise the masses’ understanding, arouse their enthusiasm and strengthen their confidence concerning problems in the Socialist undertaking that must be resolved. On the contrary, they enthusiastically write things that are dark, gloomy and even fabricate, concoct and distort the history and reality of the revolution. Some people play up Western so-called “modernist” ideological trends to a great extent, and openly propagate that the highest objective of literature and art is to “express oneself”, or propagate abstract theories of human nature and humanism, they believe that the so-called alienation of people under Socialist conditions shall become a subject of creation, and a few works even propagate sex. Although this sort of works is small in number, they have engendered an influence among a part of the youth that should not be ignored. Many literature and art workers overlook studying Marxism, do not go deep into the masses to struggle to construct a new life, some Party members also do not vigorously participate in Party life, this is an important cause for the emergence of all the abovementioned negative phenomena.
The unhealthy trend of “putting money above all else” has also spread among the literary and artistic world, from the grass roots to Central first-level performance troupes, there are a number of performers running about and performing helter skelter, not a few people actually use some vulgar and low-level content and methods to get some money. Unfortunately, some famous performers and some literature and art soldiers of the Liberation Army have also been swept into this. It is only natural that the broad masses express indignance against these people who only pander to the vulgar tastes of a part of the audience and who do not hesitate to corrupt the glorious title of Socialist literature and art worker. This sort of “putting money before all else”, and the tendency of commercializing spiritual products is also manifested in other aspects of spiritual production. Some people who are aloof to artistic circles, publishing circles and cultural heritage circles have simply become businesspeople seeking only profit.
In the end, which attitude should we adopt towards modern Western bourgeois culture? Implementing the policy of opening up the economy to the outside world is correct, and must be maintained for a long time. Foreign cultural exchange must also be developed for a long time. We have adopted a two-handed policy in the economic enterprise, meaning that we must open up, but also cannot blindly, without plans and unselectively bring things in, and we can absolutely not refrain from resisting and struggling against degenerate capitalist influences. Why should we permit things in capitalist culture that are harmful to us come in unhindered during exchange in the cultural sphere? We must learn advanced science, technology and business management methods from capitalist developed countries, as well as all other knowledge and culture beneficial to us, adopting a closed-door policy, complacency and conservatism are foolish. But, things belonging to the cultural sphere must absolutely be analysed, differentiated and criticized in terms of ideological content and method of expression using Marxism. Nowadays, the West still has not a few academics, writers and artists who are truly progressive who conduct all sorts of serious and valuable writing and creation, naturally, we must stress introduction of their works. But, now there are some comrades who, without analysing, differentiating or criticizing all sorts of Western philosophical, economical, social, political, literary and artistic trends, blindly praise them like a swarm of bees. As the introduction of Western academia and culture is this confused, to the extent that books, films, music, dance as well as videos and records which are believed to be low-level, vulgar or dangerous in Western countries as well, have entered in great number. This sort of using Western bourgeois backward culture to corrupt the youth can no longer be condoned.
It must be pointed out that, regardless of whether it concerns theoretical circles or literature and art circles, the mainstream is still good or relatively good, the people doing spiritual pollution are small in number. The problem is that there is a lack of powerful criticism against the mistaken words and acts of this small number of people, and of the necessary preventive measures. The harm of spiritual pollution is very large, and sufficient to bring disaster to the country and injure the people. It confuses the boundaries between right and wrong among the people, creates negative, lax, dissenting and immoral emotions, corrodes people’s spirits and willpower, foments the unchecked spread of individualist ideologies of all shapes and colours, and foments the thinking trend among a number of people to doubt or even deny Socialism and Party leadership. The core of the Four Cardinal Principles is the Socialist system and Party leadership, this is the root of our founding the nation and uniting the people of the entire country in struggle. The present variety of negative phenomena, unhealthy trends and evil practices, criminal acts as well as the hostile activities of a number of people opposing Socialism, have been engendered by causes in many areas, naturally they cannot all be imported to confusion on the ideological front. But, the influence created by confusion on the ideological front cannot, in fact, be underestimated. Does all of this not support practice being the sole criterion to test truth? Some comrades should look at what kind of influence and what kinds of consequences their mistaken words, harmful works, and vulgar performances have had among the people and among the youth. Some honest, friendly foreign persons are worried in our stead because of this. Naturally there will be people applauding. On the Mainland, people will applaud, on Taiwan, in Hong Kong and some foreign countries, there also will be people applauding. If I may offer some advice to these comrades, to think a bit when there are people applauding: actually, which kind of people, based on which standpoints, are applauding, for which goal are they applauding, and use practice to test this. Do not believe that a little bit of spiritual pollution does not count for very much, or does not merit unwarranted fuss. Some phenomena may not seem to be of great harm in the short term. But if we do not timely pay attention and adopt firm measures to stop it, but let it run wild, it may influence even more people to walk on evil ways, and the consequences may be extremely grave. Looking far into the future, this problem relates to what kind of generation will succeed us in our undertaking, and relates to the fate and prospects of the Party and State.
Party leadership over the ideological front must be forcefully strengthened. Since the 3rd Plenum of the 11th Party Congress, and especially during the 12th Party Congress, the guiding policies for the ideological front are correct and clear, the problem lies in its weak implementation. From the Centre to the localities, the main responsible persons in all levels’ Party Committees absolutely must give high regard to the situation, problems and work of theoretical circles, literature and art circles, as well as the overall ideological front. First and foremost, they must understand the gravity of the present problems, and understand the urgent necessity of changing the situation of weakness and laxity in leading the ideological front. Some comrades show no interest in spiritual pollution, adopt liberalist attitudes or even believe that this is the reflection of vivacity and vigour, or the “Two Hundreds” policy. Some comrades know perfectly well that this is not true, but do not want to or do not dare to engage in criticism, fearing it harms friendship. Going on like this will not work. Just as a serious and conscientious attitude must be firmly adopted towards mistaken tendencies, bad people and bad things in the entire party, a serious and conscientious attitude must also be adopted towards all sorts of serious issues creating ideological confusion and spiritual pollution, and this must be grasped to the end. The main method for resolving the issue of confusion on the ideological front still is launching criticism and self-criticism. We should acknowledge that some Marxist criticism has been conducted against some mistaken tendencies in the theoretical circles and literary or artistic circles, it is only that the effects are insufficiently clear. On the one hand, the quality and measure of criticism itself is insufficient, on the other hand, the vehemence in resisting criticism is quite strong. There is little criticism, and it is still often named “attack”, and is still said to be “bludgeoning”. In fact, it is often the criticising person who is attacked, and the criticized person who often receives sympathy and protection. We absolutely must thoroughly transform this sort of irregular situation, and ensure that Marxist, Socialist and Communist propaganda and especially all correct viewpoints on major theoretical and principle issues, truly have a guiding effect on the ideological circles. Now, some mistaken viewpoints call themselves Marxist, some openly challenge Marxism. Against this Marxists shall stand up and speak. The Communist Party members on the ideological front, and especially the Communist Party members who have leading responsibilities and influence in this field, must stand at the forefront of the struggle. If they have mistakes themselves, they must conduct earnest self-criticism, and realistically correct themselves. Whoever persists in mistakes and is unwilling to correct them, cannot undertake leading responsibilities in ideological work. All Communist Party members must strengthen the Party nature, abide by the Party Constitution and its discipline. Regardless of whatever expert, academic, writer or artist it is, as long as they are Party members, they are not permitted to consider themselves special, and believe that they are more brilliant than the Party politically, and may go their own way. Resolving these problems is the most important requirement of the Party towards Party organizations and Party members on the ideological front. As long as our Party truly strengthens the leadership of Marxism, persists in overcoming the situation of weakness and laxity and liberalist attitudes, earnestly launches vigorous ideological struggle, all abovementioned sorts of problems on the ideological front can be resolved, and will not be difficult to resolve.
If we do things in this way, some people may say: has the Party’s policy changed, must we still let a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools contend? The Party’s policy has not changed, and the “Two Hundreds” policy is still necessary. But opposing launching criticism with the “Two Hundreds” policy, is a sort of grave misunderstanding or distortion. The objective of the “Two Hundreds” policy is to stimulate the flourishing of Socialist culture. Comrade Mao Zedong once said: “Truth develops from the struggle with falsehoods. Marxism has developed in this way.” Some people understand the “Two Hundreds” policy as absolute freedom to air views, or even only releasing erroneous things, and not letting Marxism contend with it. What sort of hundred schools contending can this be called? This distorts the proletarian and Marxist policy of the “Two Hundreds” into a bourgeois liberalization policy. Comrade Mao Zedong’s “Against Liberalism” is a good Marxist text. I suggest all levels’ leading comrades and especially the comrades at the ideological front, study it, and conduct affairs according to the spirit of the text.
When we stress launching vigorous ideological struggle, we still must pay attention to preventing “leftist” errors. This sort of simplistic, one-sided, rough and radical so-called criticism, as well as brutal struggle and merciless attack methods from the past may absolutely not be repeated. Regardless of whether it concerns speaking at meetings or writing articles, it must fully reason things out and scientifically analyse matters seeking truth from facts. People participating in discussion and criticism must first and foremost have researched the issue under discussion of criticism clearly, and may absolutely not take a part for the whole, imagine fears, cannot overwhelm others by their power, and resort to sophistry. We must adopt a well-disposed attitude towards comrades making mistakes, and give them time to earnestly consider matters, let them conduct fair, reasonable and transparent argumentation and factual defence, and we must especially welcome and encourage them to conduct sincere self-criticism. When this sort of self-criticism is made, it is fine, and no further tight grip is necessary. Criticism or self-criticism must stand on a Marxist viewpoint, and cannot stand on “leftist” viewpoints. It is still necessary to continue to conduct criticism and rectification against “leftist” erroneous viewpoints in ideological or theoretical aspects. But, it should be clearly pointed out that the problems that must be resolved first and foremost at the present ideological front, are correcting rightist, weak and lax tendencies.
Generally speaking, strengthening the Party’s leadership on the ideological front, overcoming the situation of weakness and laxity has become an urgent task for the entire Party. Not only theoretical circles, literary and artistic circles, but also education, news, publishing, radio, television, mass culture and mass ideological and political work and other aspects, all have similar or other problems that urgently need resolving. The overall ideological front work must be strengthened. We must seriously put this problem in front of the entire Party, and bring it into the important matters agenda of the Centre and all levels’ Party Committees. After the focus of work was transferred towards economic construction, the entire Party must research how to adapt to new circumstances, strengthen the Party’s ideological work, prevent immersion in economic work and overlook trends in ideological work. All levels’ Party Committees and first and foremost the main responsible cadres in Party Committees, must realistically watch and deeply research trends and problems on the ideological front, adopt realistic and effective methods to improve the work on this front. I suggest that the Central Political Bureau and the Central Secretariat conduct a specialized discussion of the Party’s ideological front work, and systematically resolve problems relating to principles, tasks, measures, steps, etc. I am convinced that, as long as the entire Party, from high to low, gives high regard to this work, grasps this work and strengthens the development of overall Party consolidation, the situation in this aspect will certainly greatly change in appearance, and a new picture of flourishing and prospering Socialist ideology and culture will certainly emerge.
(This speech was given at the 2nd Plenum of the 12th Party Congress)