1966 - Victory for the Proletarian Revolutionary Line Represented by Chairman Mao
AT present, the situation of the great proletarian cultural revolution is very fine. Characteristic of this very fine situation is the fact that the broad masses have really been mobilized. Just as Chairman Mao has said, “This is a movement of a momentous scale. It has indeed mobilized the masses. It is of very great significance to the revolutionization of the thinking of the people throughout the country.”
The broad revolutionary masses have acquired a better understanding of the proletarian revolutionary line represented by Chairman Mao. The orientation of their struggle has become still clearer and their fighting spirit has soared still higher. They study and apply Chairman Mao’s works creatively in the struggle, pushing the mass movement of studying Chairman Mao’s works to a new high. The movement of the great proletarian cultural revolution is developing in a more penetrating, more extensive and healthier manner.
Of late, in response to Chairman Mao’s call to “pay attention to state affairs,” the broad masses, conscientiously turning their minds to the struggle between the two lines in the great proletarian revolution, have unfolded a mass criticism and repudiation of the bourgeois reactionary line. This mass criticism and repudiation has spread to all provinces, municipalities, departments, colleges and schools throughout the country. All errors in contravention of Chairman Mao’s line and all sorts of manifestations of the bourgeois reactionary line have been exposed, criticized and repudiated by the broad masses.
The broad revolutionary masses have risen to criticize and repudiate the bourgeois reactionary line. This is an important indication that the broad masses have indeed been mobilized and that the current situation is very fine. It shows that the proletarian revolutionary line represented by Chairman Mao is penetrating ever deeper into people’s hearts and the bourgeois reactionary line has gone bankrupt.
It is a very fine thing that the masses have themselves directly grasped Chairman Mao’s correct line and have undertaken an extensive and profound mass criticism and repudiation of the erroneous line; it is a very fine thing that the masses in their hundreds of millions are paying such attention to state affairs. It is acting as a great spur to comrades who have a very poor understanding of the work of leadership in this great proletarian cultural revolution and whose leadership has been far from conscientious or effective. It is a great help to those comrades who follow the bourgeois line, for them to correct their mistakes. It is a most important guarantee that the erroneous line will be rectified further and its bad influence eradicated, and that the proletarian revolutionary line and the 16-point decision concerning the great cultural revolution will be correctly applied and carried out.
The struggle between the two lines has all along centred on the question of one’s stand and attitude towards the masses. The proletarian revolutionary line represented by Chairman Mao is this: to trust the masses, rely on them, respect their initiative, and have them educate and liberate themselves; to boldly arouse the masses to struggle against the handful of persons in authority within the Party who are taking the capitalist road, to give free rein to the masses to struggle against all ghosts and monsters in society and to carry out the struggles [against those persons in authority who are taking the capitalist road], criticisms and repudiations [of the reactionary bourgeois academic “authorities” and the ideology of the bourgeoisie and all other exploiting classes] and transformations [of education, literature and art and all other parts of the superstructure that do not correspond to the socialist economic base]. The bourgeois reactionary line, however, runs counter to this. Certain representative personages who have put forward this line are against the masses educating and liberating themselves. In dealing with the masses, they resorted to the “tutelage” practised by the Kuomintang; they treat the masses as if they were ignorant and incapable and look upon themselves as men of wisdom and resourcefulness; they suppress the masses and stifle their initiative; they shift the targets for attack and direct their spearhead against the revolutionary masses, branding them as “counter-revolutionaries,” “anti-Party elements,” “Rightists,” “pseudo-Leftists but genuine Rightists,” and so forth.
These two lines are sharply opposed to each other. One is the mass line of Chairman Mao, the other is the line of the bourgeoisie which opposes and suppresses the masses; one is the revolutionary line of the proletariat which is carrying the great proletarian cultural revolution through to the end, the other is the bourgeois line of opposing revolution which wants to lead the great proletarian cultural revolution in the opposite direction and wants to strangle it in its cradle.
Without destruction there can be no construction. Without opposing the reactionary line of the bourgeoisie and eradicating the influence of this erroneous line, it is impossible to correctly and thoroughly implement the revolutionary line of the proletariat.
A great amount of work is needed before the evil influence of the bourgeois reactionary line can be eradicated. The bourgeois reactionary line has its social basis which is mainly in the bourgeoisie. The erroneous line has a certain audience inside the Party, because there exist the handful of persons inside the Party who are in power and are taking the capitalist road, and who regard this erroneous line as their protective talisman; and because there are still a considerable number of muddle-headed people inside the Party whose world outlook has not been remoulded or has not been effectively remoulded. A process is required for these comrades to return from the erroneous line to the correct line.
Distinctions should be made among those who have committed errors of line. Those (there are only one, two or several persons) who have put forward the erroneous line should be distinguished from those who have put it into effect; those (these are a minority) who have consciously implemented the erroneous line should be distinguished from those (there is a large number of these) who have done it unconsciously; we should differentiate between those who have put it into practice to a serious extent and those to a not so serious extent; differentiate between those who cling to their mistakes and those who are willing to correct them and are already in the process of doing so.
Generally speaking, the contradictions between those comrades who committed errors of line on the one hand and the Party and the masses on the other are still contradictions among the people. Provided that they can correct their errors, return to the correct stand and carry out the Party’s correct line, it is not only possible for them to become cadres of the second category [comparatively good] or of the third category [those who have made serious mistakes but have not become anti-Party, anti-socialist Rightists], it is also possible for them to develop into cadres of the first category [good]. [See Peking Review, No. 33 for the Decision of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee Concerning the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.] Nevertheless, these comrades must be sharply told that no matter who they are, and no matter how great their past achievements, if they cling to the erroneous line, the nature of the contradictions between them and the Party and the masses will change; the non-antagonistic contradictions then may become antagonistic contradictions and they will slide down the anti-Party and anti-socialist road.
The mark distinguishing rectification of errors from stubborn adherence to them is the attitude towards the masses and whether they have publicly admitted before the masses that they have carried out the erroneous line; whether they have made serious efforts to reverse the decisions passed on those of the revolutionary masses who have been branded as “counter-revolutionaries,” “anti-Party elements,” “Rightists,” “pseudo-Leftists but genuine Rightists”; and whether they have publicly rehabilitated them and support the revolutionary actions of the revolutionary masses.
A communist who has committed an error of line should be courageous enough to admit his errors, critically examine those errors and join the masses to criticize and repudiate his own errors. Chairman Mao has taught us: “Countless revolutionary martyrs have laid down their lives in the interests of the people, and our hearts are filled with pain as we the living think of them — can there be any personal interest, then, that we would not sacrifice or any error that we would not discard?”
In the course of criticizing and repudiating the erroneous line, the policy of “learning from past mistakes to avoid future ones” and “curing the sickness to save the patient” — a policy which Chairman Mao has consistently advocated — should be adopted towards those comrades who have committed errors of line, “in order to achieve the two-fold objective of clarity in ideology and unity among comrades.” The revolutionary masses and revolutionary youth who have stood up energetically to criticize and repudiate the erroneous line should all pay attention to this teaching of Chairman Mao’s. As to some of the masses who have been hoodwinked for a time by the erroneous line, they should not be blamed, nor should such labels as “Royalists” be stuck on them; instead, patient efforts should be made to help them and to unite with them.
Those comrades who have committed errors of line should modestly, sincerely and wholeheartedly listen to the criticisms of the masses, and, as Chairman Mao has repeatedly taught us, “shedding the ugly mantle of pretentiousness and becoming a willing pupil.” They should stand together with the revolutionary masses and with them eradicate the evil influences caused by the bourgeois reactionary line. No feelings of antagonism should result because of some excesses in words and actions by the masses in the course of criticism and repudiation. Instead one should see that the masses’ main orientation is correct, understand how they feel, have faith in the majority of the masses and have faith that the masses are reasonable.
Those comrades who have committed errors must get rid of the many “fears” in their minds. In the final analysis, these “fears” are being afraid of the masses and afraid of revolution. They should act according to Chairman Mao’s instructions and replace “fear” with “daring,” “self” with “public” and “having faith in oneself” with “having faith in the masses.” Only by doing so can errors be corrected, can they take the initiative instead of being passive, and give leadership in the great proletarian cultural revolution in accordance with Chairman Mao’s line.
All comrades who want to make revolution, let us unite and push forward the great proletarian cultural revolution under the great banner of Mao Tse-tung’s thought and on the basis of the revolutionary proletarian line represented by Chairman Mao.
(“Hongqi” editorial. No. 14, 1966.)