by the Editorial Departments of “Hongqi” and “Renmin Ribao”
THE historic document drawn up a year ago under the personal guidance of our great leader Comrade Mao Tse-tung–the May 16, 1968 Circular of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party–is a great Marxist-Leninist document. It is now made known to the general public. It put forward the theory, line, principles and policies of the great proletarian cultural revolution, thus crushing the scheme of the Peng Chen counter-revolutionary revisionist clique for the undermining of the great proletarian cultural revolution in a futile attempt to restore capitalism. This document sounded the clarion call for the advance in the great proletarian cultural revolution.
The “outline report,” which Peng Chen dished up in February last year, is an out-and-out revisionist programme, a programme for restoring capitalism. The appearance of this programme was a devastating exposure of the long-meditated anti-Party, anti-socialist conspiracy of the Peng Chen revisionist clique. The Circular unmasked the Peng Chen counter-revolutionary revisionist clique, and made it bankrupt. This forced a break in the counter-revolutionary revisionist front headed by the Khrushchov of China, and threw it into confusion. This great historic document, drawn up under the personal guidance of Comrade Mao Tse-tung. has creatively developed Marxism-Leninism and solved the question of revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Marx and Engels founded the theory of scientific socialism. Lenin and Stalin developed Marxism, solved a series of questions of the proletarian revolution in the era of imperialism and solved the theoretical and practical questions of establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat in one country. Comrade Mao Tse-tung has developed Marxism-Leninism, solved a series of questions of the proletarian revolution in the present era and solved the theoretical and practical questions of carrying on the revolution and preventing a restoration of capitalism under the dictatorship of the proletariat. These are three monumental milestones in the history of the development of Marxism. The class struggle under the dictatorship of the proletariat, when reduced to a single point, is still the question of political power. This means that the proletariat wants to consolidate its dictatorship while the bourgeoisie wants to overthrow this dictatorship.
And, among the representatives of the bourgeoisie who vainly attempt to subvert the dictatorship of the proletariat, those who do the greatest harm are the ones in authority taking the capitalist road who have sneaked into leading organs of the Party and of political power and who wave “red flags” to oppose the red flag. Chairman Mao points out in this great, historic document: “There are a number of these (representatives of the bourgeoisie) in the Central Committee and in the Party, government and other departments at the central as well as at the provincial, municipal and autonomous region level.” The whole Party must “hold high the great banner of the proletarian cultural revolution, thoroughly expose the reactionary bourgeois stand of those so-called ‘academic authorities’ who oppose the Party and socialism, thoroughly criticize and repudiate the reactionary bourgeois ideas in the sphere of academic work, education, journalism, literature and art and publishing, and seize the leadership in these cultural spheres. To achieve this, it is necessary at the same time to criticize and repudiate those representatives of the bourgeoisie who have sneaked into the Party, the government, the army and all spheres of culture, to clear them out or transfer some of them to other positions.”
“Those representatives of the bourgeoisie who have sneaked into the Party, the government, the army and various cultural circles are a bunch of counterrevolutionary revisionists. Once conditions are ripe, they will seize political power and turn the dictatorship of the proletariat into a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Some of them we have already seen through, others we have not. Some are still trusted by us and are being trained as our successors, persons like Khrushchov, for example, who are still nestling beside us. Party committees at all levels must pay full attention to this matter.” The great proletarian cultural revolution, in its most significant practice over the past year, has shown how brilliant these scientific theses of Chairman Mao are!
These scientific theses are the beacon light guiding the great proletarian cultural revolution and the consolidation of the dictatorship of the proletariat; they are the beacon light guaranteeing the transition from socialism to communism. Are there still classes and class struggle in a socialist society, particularly after the socialist transformation of the ownership of the means of production has in the main been accomplished? Do all the class struggles in society still center around the question of the fight over political power? Under the conditions of the dictatorship of the proletariat, do we still have to make revolution? Against whom should we make revolution? And how should we carry out the revolution? Marx and Engels could not possibly solve this series of major theoretical problems at their time. Lenin saw that after the proletariat seized power, the defeated bourgeoisie still remained stronger than the proletariat and was always trying to stage a comeback. At the same time, the small producers were incessantly generating capitalism and the capitalist class anew, thus posing a threat to the dictatorship of the proletariat. In order to cope with this counterrevolutionary threat and overcome it, it was therefore necessary to strengthen the dictatorship of the proletariat over a long period of time. There was no other way. However, Lenin died before he could solve these problems in practice.
Stalin was a great Marxist-Leninist who actually cleared out a large number of counter-revolutionary representatives of the bourgeoisie who had sneaked into the Party, including Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Radek, Bukharin, Rykov and their like. But where he failed was in not recognizing, on the level of theory, that classes and class struggle exist in society throughout the historical period of the dictatorship of the proletariat and that the question of who will win in the revolution has yet to be finally settled; in other words, if all this is not handled properly there is the possibility of a come-back by the bourgeoisie. The year before he died, Stalin became aware of this point and stated that contradictions do exist in socialist society and if not properly handled might turn into antagonistic ones.
Comrade Mao Tse-tung has given full attention to the whole historical experience of the Soviet Union. He has correctly solved this series of problems in a whole number of great writings and instructions, in this great historic document and in the most -significant practice of the great proletarian cultural revolution personally initiated and led by him. This is a most important sign indicating that Marxism has developed to an entirely new stage. In the early years of the 20th century, Marxism developed into the stage of Leninism. In the present era, it has developed further into the stage of Mao Tse-tung’s thought.
Chairman Mao tells us that the main targets of the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat are the representatives of the bourgeoisie who have wormed their way into the apparatus of the proletarian dictatorship, the handful of Party people in authority taking the capitalist road. The contradiction between the handful of Party people in authority taking the capitalist road on the one hand, and the masses of workers, peasants and soldiers and revolutionary cadres and intellectuals on the other, is the principal contradiction and is an antagonistic one. The struggle to resolve this contradiction is a concentrated manifestation of the struggle between two classes–the proletariat and the bourgeoisie–and two roads, socialism and capitalism.
To expose the handful of Party people in authority taking the capitalist road, put before the public and thoroughly criticize and repudiate their revisionist wares, completely refute, discredit and overthrow them and carry out the struggle to seize power from them–this is the main task that the great proletarian cultural revolution has to accomplish. This is the general orientation of the struggle and we must hold firmly to it. The “person like Khrushchov,” mentioned by Chairman Mao in the document as still nestling beside us, has now been exposed by the masses. This Khrushchov of China is the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road and is also the chief representative of the bourgeoisie inside the apparatus of the proletarian dictatorship. Factual disclosures have now established that this top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road is a veteran opportunist. Before nationwide victory was achieved, he opposed the seizure of political power by the proletariat. After nationwide victory was won, he opposed the dictatorship of the proletariat, opposed the socialist revolution and wanted to practise capitalism in China.
After the socialist transformation of the ownership of the means of production was in the main accomplished, he wanted to restore capitalism in China. It has now been conclusively proved that the counter-revolutionary revisionist “February outline” by Peng Chen was supported by him and was actually his programme as well What role did he play in regard to the mass movement of the great proletarian cultural revolution? Taking a reactionary bourgeois stand, he exercised a bourgeois dictatorship and suppressed the vigorous movement of the great proletarian cultural revolution. He called black white and stood facts on their heads, encircled and attacked the revolutionaries, suppressed opinions differing from his own, and imposed a white terror, and he did all this with great smugness. He inflated the arrogance of the bourgeoisie and damped down the morale of the proletariat. How utterly pernicious!
It is now crystal clear to all that, among the counter-revolutionary revisionists, among those who would seize political power and turn the dictatorship of the proletariat into a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie once conditions are ripe, as described by Chairman Mao in this great, historic document, the main figure is no other than that top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road. The exposure in broad daylight of the handful of top Party persons in authority taking the capitalist road is a most important event affecting the destiny of our socialist state and the future of the world revolution. It is the most important outcome of the great proletarian cultural revolution. The revolutionary people of China and of the whole world unanimously acclaim this great victory. The intrigues of imperialism and modern revisionism, by which they vainly attempt to create subversion in China through their agents, have suffered the greatest failure.
The fact that the revisionist clique has usurped Party and state leadership and is restoring capitalism in the Soviet Union, the first socialist country, provides the biggest lesson in the history of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the world. It has happened, too, in a number of other socialist countries. And precisely by summing up the historical experience of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the world, our great leader Chairman Mao has aroused hundreds of millions of people to undertake the great and historically unparalleled proletarian cultural revolution, providing the surest guarantee that our Party and country will never change political colour. This is Comrade Mao Tse-tung’s greatest contribution in theory and practice to the proletariat of the whole world.
The document announces the dissolution of the former “group of five in charge of the cultural revolution” which was fully controlled by the Peng Chen counterrevolutionary revisionist clique. It announces establishment of a new Central Cultural Revolution Group directly under the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Party’s Central Committee. This is an important measure for currying out the proletarian cultural revolution. The publication of this great historic document is an important event in the political life of our country and in the international communist movement. We have already won tremendous victories in our great proletarian cultural revolution. Yet serious fighting tasks are still ahead of us. We shall thoroughly criticize and completely repudiate, politically, ideologically and theoretically, the handful of top Party persons in authority taking the capitalist road. We shall further bring about the great alliance of the proletarian revolutionaries, unite the greatest possible numbers among the masses and unite the great majority of the cadres. We shall bring about the revolutionary “three-in-one” combination and seize power in those places and departments where this is necessary so that power will be truly taken into the hands of the proletariat. We shall combine the great movement of criticism with the tasks of “struggle-criticism-transformation”* in each unit and successfully carry out these tasks.
We shall work still better to “take a firm hold of the revolution and promote production” so as to ensure the growing prosperity of all kinds of undertakings in the field of socialist construction. The Central Committee of the Party calls on all revolutionary comrades to study this document conscientiously. Through this study, taking into consideration the new situation in the struggle at the present time and the experience gained in the struggle during the past year, they should further arm themselves with Mao Tse-tung’s thought, achieve a better comprehension and grasp of the theory, line, principles and policies set forth by Chairman Mao for the great proletarian cultural revolution, and carry this revolution through to the end.
The present great cultural revolution is only the first; there will inevitably be many more in the future. In the last few years Comrade Mao Tse-tung has said repeatedly that the issue of who will win in the revolution can only be settled over a long historical period. If things are not properly handled, it is possible for a capitalist restoration to take place at any time. It should not be thought by any Party member or any one of the people in our country that everything will be all right after one or two great cultural revolutions, or even three or four. We must very much on the alert and never lose vigilance.
(“Renmin Ribao,” May 18, 1967.)
*“Struggle-criticism-transformation” means: to struggle against and overthrow those persons in authority who are taking the capitalist road, to criticize and repudiate the reactionary bourgeois academic “authorities” and the ideology of the bourgeoisie and all other exploiting classes and to transform education, literature and art and all other parts of the superstructure which do not correspond with the socialist economic base. –Tr Peking Review, No. 21, May 19, 1967