(Written by proletarian revolutionaries in the offices of the Headquarters of the General Staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army)
To seize and consolidate political power and carry its revolutionary struggle to complete victory the proletariat “needs a correct Marxist military line as well as a correct Marxist political line.” Without the guidance of a correct political line, it is impossible to have a correct military line; without a correct military line, it is also impossible to implement and carry out a correct political line. However, “correct political and military lines do not emerge and develop spontaneously and tranquilly, but only in the course of struggle. These lines must combat Left opportunism on the one hand and Right opportunism on the other. Without combating and thoroughly overcoming those harmful tendencies which damage the revolution and the revolutionary war, it would be impossible to establish a correct line and win victory in this war.”
Within our Party and Army, in recent decades and in all historical stages of the development of the Chinese revolution, there has always been a sharp and acute struggle between two diametrically opposed military lines. One is the proletarian military line represented by Chairman Mao, the other is the bourgeois military line advocated by opportunists of the “Left” and Right. Chairman Mao’s proletarian military line has been gradually developed and perfected in the course of this struggle against the bourgeois military line. Our great leader Chairman Mao has created with genius the greatest, most comprehensive and scientific proletarian theory on military affairs.
In the Kutien Congress Resolution, which was drawn up by him in 1929, and in a series of other military writings, Chairman Mao has formulated the most correct proletarian military line. This is the highest peak of the Marxist-Leninist concept of military affairs. It is the sharpest and most powerful weapon of the proletariat and revolutionary people the world over for defeating imperialism, modern revisionism and all reaction. The great victory of the Chinese people’s revolutionary war was a great victory for Chairman Mao’s proletarian military line, for the thought of Mao Tse-tung. Comrade Lin Piao, Chairman Mao’s closest comrade-in-arms and our deputy supreme commander, has always most faithfully, resolutely and thoroughly implemented Chairman Mao’s proletarian revolutionary line and military thinking.
At every major historical juncture in the last forty years, Comrade Lin Piao has invariably, unequivocally and resolutely upheld Chairman Mao’s correct line, safeguarded Mao Tse-tung’s thought, waged an irreconcilable struggle against the wrong lines in the Party and the Army, and made outstanding contributions. China’s Khrushchev and his agents, P’eng Teh-huai and Lo Jui-ch’ing, have persistently opposed Chairman Mao’s proletarian military line and frantically pushed their bourgeois military line. After Feng Teh-huai had been exposed at the Lushan Meeting of the Party in 1959, Lo Jui-ch’ing became the foremost champion of the reactionary bourgeois military line.
He formed a conspiratorial anti-Party clique with P’eng Chen, Lu Ting-yi and Yang Shang-k’un and, protected and supported by China’s Khrushchev, worked desperately to usurp military power on behalf of the bourgeois headquarters. In co-ordinating the cultural and military fronts, they were preparing to unleash a counterrevolutionary coup and subvert the dictatorship of the proletariat at an opportune moment. Throughout the period of socialism, the struggle between the two military lines is in essence a struggle for military power between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. It is an important component of the struggle, waged under the dictatorship of the proletariat, between the bourgeoisie attempting a come-back and the proletariat opposing such an attempt.
Whether to Give Prominence to Proletarian Politics or Not Is the Focus of the Struggle Between Chairman Mao’s Military Line And the Bourgeois Military Line in Building Up Our Army
In the last forty years, the struggle between Chairman Mao’s line and the bourgeois line in army building has always focused on the fundamental question of whether to put politics or military affairs first, whether prominence should be given to politics or to military affairs. The very essence of Chairman Mao’s thinking and line on army building is the putting of proletarian politics to the fore in building a people’s army. It is, first and foremost, to build an army politically. In the Kutien Congress Resolution, a document of great historic significance which was drawn up by Chairman Mao himself and adopted at the early period after the founding of our Army, Chairman Mao pointed out that “Military affairs are only one means of accomplishing political tasks” and that “the Chinese Red Army is an armed body for carrying out the political tasks of the revolution.”
He correctly explained the relationship between military affairs and politics; that is, military affairs must be subordinated to politics, and politics must command military affairs. The representatives of the bourgeoisie like P’eng Teh-huai and Lo Jui-ch’ing, who wormed their way into the Party, always opposed Chairman Mao’s thinking and line on army building. They always opposed giving prominence to proletarian politics and, instead, advocated giving first place to military affairs, to technique. During the War of Resistance Against Japan, two fundamentally antagonistic lines took shape on the question of how to deal with correctly the co-operation between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party and with the united front. The proletarian revolutionary line represented by Chairman Mao advocated that our policy is “one of independence and initiative within the united front, a policy both of unity and of independence.”
It upheld “the principle of absolute leadership of the English Route Army and the Communist Party.” The capitulationist line represented by Wang Ming and China’s Khrushchev, advocated handing over the leadership of the anti-Japanese united front to the Kuomintang. With servile flattery, China’s Khrushchev lauded Chiang Kai-shek as a “revolutionary banner” and wanted to hand over the Army led by the Communist Party and place it under the leadership of the “national government.” To meet the needs of the capitulationist line, Lo Jui-ch’ing issued a book entitled Political Work in the Anti-Japanese Army. In this book, instead of dealing with class struggle and the proletarian seizure of political power, he did his utmost to blow the trumpet for the Kuomintang’s reactionary politics. He even asked the political commissars to “guarantee absolute obedience of the troops” to the command of Chiang Kai-shek, and he wanted to hand over the guns of the proletariat to Chiang Kai-shek.
During the War of Liberation, in a report on “How to Strengthen Political Work in the Army,” Lo Jui-ch’ing listed political, military, rear-service and other work as being on an equal footing and opposed putting political work in first place. He said: “It is wrong to favour over-emphasis” of political work. Actually, what he meant by not over-emphasizing political work was to do away with proletarian politics and replace it with bourgeois politics. Comrade Lin Piao, our deputy supreme commander, has always held high the great red banner of Mao Tse-tung’s thought. After he took charge of the work of the Military Commission of the Central Committee of the Party, he personally supervised the formulation of “The Decision on Strengthening the Political-Ideological Work in the Army” on the basis of Chairman Mao’s ideas on army building and the historical experience of our Army.
He creatively advanced the ideas of the “four firsts” and a series of policies, principles and important measures for putting proletarian politics to the fore, creatively studying and applying Chairman Mao’s works, upholding the “four firsts,” promoting the “three-eight” working style, practising democracy in the three main fields and launching the “four-good” company movement. These policies, principles and measures carried forward the building of our Army to an entirely new stage. Chairman Mao has pointed out: “The ‘four firsts’ is good; it is an invention. Since Comrade Lin Piao put forward the ‘four firsts’ and the ‘three-eight’ working style, the ideological-political work of the People’s Liberation Army, as well as its military work, has developed remarkably, has become more concrete and at the same time has been raised to a higher theoretical plane than in the past.” To put politics to the fore is to put Mao Tse-tung’s thought to the fore, to arm commanders and fighters with Mao Tse-tung’s thought and establish the absolute authority of Mao Tse-tung’s thought.
The great thought of Mao Tse-tung is the soul of our Army, the corner-stone in building our Army and the basic guarantee that our Army will never change colour. Dominated by personal ambition and his reactionary class instinct, Lo Jui-ch’ing mortally feared and hated Mao Tse-tung’s thought. He consistently opposed Comrade Lin Piao, who always holds high the great red banner of Mao Tse-tung’s thought. He opposed him for actively promoting the mass movement to creatively study and apply Chairman Mao’s works throughout the Army, the Party and the country. At the same time, he revered and respected the book on “self-cultivation” written by China’s Khrushchev and personally issued the order making this book compulsory reading for the whole Army. His purpose was to use this revisionist “self-cultivation” to corrupt the soul of our Army, make us lose our orientation and depart form Chairman Mao’s proletarian line on army building, and make us forget classes, class struggle and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
His was a vain attempt to change the proletarian nature of our Army fundamentally. Lo Jui-ch’ing used contests in military skill to obstruct politics and disrupt the study of Chairman Mao’s works. Vice-Chairman Lin Piao promptly corrected this mistake and again issued instructions to put politics to the fore. But Lo Jui-ch’ing still resisted desperately and talked such nonsense as: “Military training itself is politics, the biggest politics.” This argument, which puts politics and military affairs on a par and replaces politics with military affairs is an out and out bourgeois military viewpoint. Chairman Mao teaches us: “Politics is the commander, politics is the soul of everything. Political work is the life-blood of all work.” By spreading his revisionist fallacies, Lo Jui-ch’ing wanted to subordinate politics to military affairs, to make military affairs command politics, deprive our Army of its soul and turn our proletarian Army into a bourgeois army.
In a society where there are classes and class struggle, no sphere of society exists in a vacuum. It is under the guidance either of proletarian ideology or of bourgeois ideology. The Army is a tool of class struggle. Either it serves proletarian politics or it serves bourgeois politics. There has never been and never will be an army that is separate from politics. All Khrushchevites who want to seize political power from the proletariat and restore capitalism seek to corrode the army ideologically, usurp military power, seize the gun. This is a very important step they want to take. Therefore, whether to put proletarian politics to the fore or not, whether to work for the revolutionisation of people’s minds or not has a vital bearing on whether the proletarian army will degenerate or not, on whether the gun is in the hands of the proletariat or the bourgeoisie. In the final analysis, it has a vital bearing on whether or not the proletariat can consolidate its political power after seizing it.
Whether to Fight a People’s War or Not Is the Dividing Line Between Chairman Mao’s Military Thinking and Bourgeois Military Thinking
Chairman Mao’s great theory on people’s war has developed Marxism-Leninism creatively and with genius. It not only points out the correct way for the Chinese people to win country-wide victory but also indicates the road to thorough emancipation for the oppressed nations and oppressed classes throughout the world. In seeking their own emancipation, the most important thing for all oppressed nations and oppressed classes is to arm themselves with Chairman Mao’s theory on people’s war, to smash the old state apparatus with arms, to overthrow imperialism and its running dogs by force of arms and with arms to transform the entire world. Whether one intends to fight a people’s war or not, whether one dares to fight a people’s war or not is the dividing line between Chairman Mao’s military thinking and bourgeois military thinking, between Marxism-Leninism and revisionism, between genuine and sham revolution.
Chairman Mao teaches us: “The revolutionary war is a war of the masses; it can be waged only by mobilising the masses and relying on them.” “Rallying millions upon millions of people round the revolutionary government and expanding our revolutionary war, we shall wipe out all counterrevolution…” Chairman Mao’s thinking on people’s war is built on the ideological basis of fully trusting and relying on the masses.
As with all opportunists, the military thinking of Lo Jui-ch’ing is founded on the theory that weapons decide everything. He does not trust the masses at all and does not rely on them. He opposes arming the masses, opposes the people’s militia system and opposes Chairman Mao’s great strategic idea of a people’s war. China’s Khrushchev maintains that technique has pride of place and that technique decides everything. Lo Jui-ch’ing maintains that with new technical equipment, “any invading enemy can be annihilated on the sea, in the air or at the base from which it launches its attack.” They use the theory of winning victory by superior weapons to oppose arming the masses, and dealing with imperialist aggression by people’s war. They vainly hope that the enemy can be defeated by relying purely on technical equipment. That is typical bourgeois military thinking.
Is it true that under modern conditions, there is no need to rely on the masses in war, no need to wage a people’s war? No, it is not. “The contest of strength is not only a contest of military and economic power, but also a contest of human power and morale. Military and economic power is necessarily wielded by people.” Regardless of how developed modern weapons and technical equipment may be, how complicated the operations of modern warfare, victory in war is still decided by the support and assistance of the masses, by the struggle of the masses. In the final analysis, it depends on people’s war. This is the most important and reliable guarantee for the defeat of the enemy. Our great leader Chairman Mao has fully and most profoundly explained the importance of arming the masses.
After country-wide victory, Chairman Mao told us time and again: “The imperialists are bullying us in such a way that we will have to deal with them seriously. Not only must we have a powerful regular army, we must also organise contingents of the people’s militia on a big scale. This will make it difficult for the imperialists to move a single inch in our country in the event of invasion.” “Should the imperialists dare to unleash an aggressive war against our country, then we will turn the whole nation into soldiers; the militia will co-operate with the People’s Liberation Army and at any time replenish it to crush the aggressors utterly.”
Vice-Chairman Lin Piao points out: People’s militia work is fundamental to the building up of China’s national defence, an important part of the strategic programme and a concrete application of the Party’s mass line in warfare. Combining the building of a modern revolutionary armed force with organising contingents of the people’s militia is the concrete application of the principle of “walking on two legs” in the building up of China’s national defence. It is an important development of Chairman Mao’s concept of people’s war under modern conditions. The people’s militia has always been an important component of our armed forces, a solid basis for the waging of a people’s war and an instrument of our proletarian dictatorship. In fact, whether to have a militia or not is a major issue which affects the weakening or strengthening of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
China’s Khrushchev and his agent Lo Jui-ch’ing consider that the militia organised in accordance with Mao Tse-tung’s thought is a main obstacle to their usurpation of Party and Army leadership and to their realisation of a capitalist restoration. They used a hundred and one ways to undermine the building of the militia and to oppose arming the masses. In building the militia, they also tried to spread purelv military viewpoints and opposed putting proletarian politics to the fore. They vainly attempted to remould our militia with a bourgeois world outlook and so turn it into a tool for realising their personal ambitions.
Chairman Mao teaches us: “This army is powerful because of its division into two parts, the main forces and the regional forces, with the former available for operations in any region whenever necessary and the latter concentrating on defending their own localities and attacking the enemy there in co-operation with the local militia and the self-defence corps.” After the winning of nationwide victory, Chairman Mao repeatedly gave instructions that great efforts should be made to strengthen the building of regional forces. In addition to building themselves up ever more effectively, the regional forces should, in ordinary times and in co-operation with the local authorities, strengthen their mass work and do a good job in building the people’s militia; in time of war they should draw on the people’s militia to reinforce and expand their ranks and fight the enemy.
China’s Khrushchev and his accomplice Lo Jui-ch’ing, while opposing the militia system, did their utmost to oppose the building of the regional forces. China’s Khrushchev said: “Should we or shouldn’t we have some (regional forces)? They leave farm production part of the time and return home in the busy farming season.” This absurd statement altogether negates the regional forces. In accordance with his master’s intentions, Lo Jui-ch’ing for five years tried to keep secret Chairman Mao’s instructions on strengthening the building up of the regional forces and refused to carry them out. Later on, although outwardly compliant, he did not actually give in and repeatedly discounted them. In a hundred and one ways he attempted to undermine the building of the regional forces.
Vice-Chairman Lin Piao points out: “Our Army consisted of local forces as well as of regular forces; moreover, it energetically built and developed the militia, thus practising the system of combining the three military formations, i.e., the regular forces, the local forces and the militia.” The system of combining these three military formations brings into play the enthusiasm of hundreds of millions of people. A militant whole can thus be organised, and the power of people’s war can be brought into full play. If imperialism invades us, the militia are not only an inexhaustible reservoir for our Army but can also lead the broad masses in waging widespread guerrilla warfare. The regional forces are the backbone in regional struggle against the enemy. They lead the vast militia in co-operating energetically with the main forces and continuously expand and are themselves transformed into main forces. This ensures the latter’s growth and expansion. With the regional forces and the vast militia fighting in co-operation with them, the main forces have their hands freed. They can form powerful “fists,” seek and create favourable opportunities for battle, maintain their mobility and concentrate their strength to fight battles of annihilation.
China’s Khrushchev and Lo Jui-ch’ing wanted to cut out the militia as well as the regional forces. They opposed arming the masses and the use of people’s war in dealing with an imperialist war of aggression; they staked the future of the country on technical equipment, fundamentally negating the concept of people’s war. If we followed out Lo Jui-ch’ing’s theories, the fruits of victory we have won in hard struggle would be lost and the whole proletarian revolutionary cause would be lost.
Active Defence and Passive Defence Are Two Diametrically Opposed Principles of Strategic Guidance Between Chairman Mao’s Military Line and the Bourgeois Military Line
Active defence is Chairman Mao’s consistent strategic concept, and the fundamental guiding principle by which we have successfully fought revolutionary wars and dealt with imperialist aggression. It is also the correct guiding principle for the winning of victories in revolutionary wars by the peoples in other countries. Chairman Mao teaches us: “Active defence is also known as offensive defence, or defence through decisive engagements. Passive defence is also known as purely defensive defence or pure defence. Passive defence is actually a spurious kind of defence, and the only real defence is active defence, defence for the purpose of counter-attacking and taking the offensive.” Whether one adopts the strategic principle of active defence or of passive defence is a fundamental question of strategic guidance which has a vital bearing on the outcome of a revolutionary war.
Active defence is founded on the ideological basis of the proletariat’s thoroughgoing revolution and complete annihilation of the enemy forces. Its essence is to fight wars of annihilation. Only by fighting a war of annihilation, is it possible to constantly deplete and weaken the enemy forces, develop and strengthen our own forces and finally defeat the enemy. Waging a war of annihilation is the basic guiding thought in our conduct of war. This guiding thought must be implemented whether guerilla or mobile warfare is the primary form of warfare being waged, whether strategic guidance or battle operations are involved.
The history of the Chinese people’s revolutionary war proves that only by firmly implementing our great supreme commander Chairman Mao’s strategic principle of active defence, will we be sure to win battles and enable the revolutionary cause to develop successfully. Otherwise, we will lose battles, and the revolutionary cause will suffer setbacks-Comrade Lin Piao, our deputy supreme commander, has always most faithfully, resolutely and thoroughly defended and followed Chairman Mao’s correct principle of active defence and opposed the wrong principle of passive defence. He has repeatedly called on us to study Chairman Mao’s great strategic concept earnestly and resolutely ensure thorough implementation of Chairman Mao’s strategic principle of active defence. Lo Jui-ch’ing has always opposed Chairman Mao’s strategic concept and stood for passive defence.
As early as the War of Resistance Against Japan, he followed P’eng Teh-huai in opposing Chairman Mao’s correct policy of boldly arousing the masses and starting up guerilla war independently in the enemy’s rear, of building anti-Japanese base areas and of developing* the people’s anti-Japanese armed forces. They had the presumption to concentrate the main forces of the Eighth Route Army for a war of attrition with the Japanese invaders. This caused serious setbacks to the development of the North China anti-Japanese base areas and our army there. In fact, these people supported and helped the Kuomintang.
After usurping an important position in our Army, Lo Jui-ch’ing did his utmost in advocating the wrong policy of passive defence to meet the needs of the class capitulationist and nationalist capitulationist line of China’s Khrushchev. China’s Khrushchev said: “Hold the enemy back” and “it will be bad if the enemy comes in.” Lo Jui-ch’ing also said: “Now conditions are different.” and that the only method to be used was that of “blocking the water.” Such absurd statements are nothing new, they are simply the same trash of passive defence, of “engaging the enemy outside the gates,” which was criticised by Chairman Mao as early as the thirties.
Acting according to this wrong policy would inevitably lead to the building of defensive works everywhere and wide dispersal of forces to man them. In that way, we would always be in a passive position and this would lead finally to the wreck of the proletarian regime. This is the psychology characteristic of the successors to the Khrushchev revisionism of submission to imperialism and the fear of war. The Chinese people are a great people armed with Mao Tse-tung’s thought. In order to annihilate the enemy forces in large numbers, they dare to lure the enemy in deep, concentrate superior forces and annihilate the enemy forces when circumstances favour our victory. In the final analysis, it is only by annihilating the enemy’s effective strength that it is possible to maintain positions.
They clamoured that “the conditions are different.” What conditions are different? The imperialists do indeed have atomic bombs and nuclear weapons. But this is not so terrific! Marxists have at all times held that no matter what changes take place in technical equipment the basic laws of revolutionary war will never change. “Weapons are an important factor in war, but not the decisive factor; it is people, not things, that are decisive.” Final victory or defeat in war is determined by the ground forces in fighting successive battles, by the political consciousness and courage of the people and their spirit of sacrifice, by fighting with rifles, hand-grenades and bayonets, by hand-to-hand engagements, night fighting and fighting over a range of tens of metres. In combating an imperialist war of aggression, no matter what weapons the enemy may use, if they dare to go deep into our country, we will enjoy the maximum initiative, give full play to our strong points and advantages, use various methods to deal them blows, vigorously demonstrate the magic power of people’s war and make sure that the aggressors will never go back alive.
China’s Khrushchev and Lo Jui-ch’ing frenziedly opposed Chairman Mao’s strategic principle of active defence and made every effort to push the strategic principle of passive defence for no other purpose than that of meeting the political needs of imperialism and modern revisionism. Utterly betraying the cause of the proletarian revolution, they acted completely against the basic interests of the Chinese people and the peoples of the world. On the eve of the great proletarian cultural revolution initiated and led by Chairman Mao himself, the counter-revolutionary revisionist Lo Jui-ch’ing’s plot to oppose Chairman Mao, Mao Tse-tung’s thought and Chairman Mao’s military line and to usurp the Army leadership and oppose the Party went completely bankrupt. The reactionary bourgeois military line pursued by him, and he also, were cast off by the commanders and fighters of the whole Army.
Holding high the great red banner of Mao Tse-tung’s thought, the revolutionary masses of the entire country are now bringing about an upsurge in revolutionary mass criticism and repudiation to overthrow and completely discredit the handful of top Party persons in authority taking the capitalist road, headed by China’s Khrushchev. We must vigorously destroy the bourgeois military line and thoroughly wipe out their poisonous influence. We must establish the absolute authority of Mao Tse-tung’s thought and of his military line in a big way, keep proletarian politics always to the fore, take further steps to promote the revolutionisation of the ideology and organisation of the whole Army, ensure that the guns are held firmly in the hands of the proletariat at all times and defend the dictatorship of the proletariat so that our impregnable state of the proletariat will never change its political colour!
Peking Review, No. 48, November 24, 1967