“Thousands of willows sway in the spring breeze; all the 600 million people of the divine country are Shun or Yao.”
In this thunderous and heroic Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, millions of revolutionary masses in our great country have for the first time come to enjoy an extensive democracy without precedent in human history. The revolutionary people enjoy the democracy of free speech, of being able to organize demonstrations, of being able to put out their own publications, of being able to air their views freely, of being able to put up big-character posters, and of being able to exchange revolutionary experience. Looking back at the history of human civilization over several thousand years, in which dynasty or in which country was there ever such extensive democracy?
None, absolutely none. The bourgeoisie and the counter-revolutionary revisionists sometimes also make noises about democracy and freedom, but their words are no more than sheer lies, meant to deceive. As far as the proletariat is concerned, they mean exploitation, oppression, and fascist dictatorship. Our great leader Chairman Mao has the utmost faith in the masses, fully understands the desires of the popular masses, and greatly respects the revolutionary creativity of the popular masses. It was precisely our most respected leader Chairman Mao who first supported the revolutionary big-character posters, the revolutionary Red Guards, and the great exchange of revolutionary experience. Only a great Marxist-Leninist and ingenious proletarian revolutionary leader like Chairman Mao would be so bold and daring as to propose practicing extensive democracy under the conditions of proletarian dictatorship. The extensive democracy of the proletariat is a great innovation in the international Communist movement, and a major development of the theories of Marxism-Leninism by Chairman Mao.
Proletarian extensive democracy means for the popular masses to be their own masters. The issue of primary importance in extensive democracy is to mobilize and give free rein to the masses; to give the people the most extensive democratic rights; and to exercise dictatorship over all enemies of socialism.
With such extensive democracy, the broad masses can be aroused to the fullest extent to rebel against all forms of revisionism and all reactionaries, thus leaving the enemy no place to hide.
With such extensive democracy, we can fully bring into play the revolutionary spirit of the masses and fully arouse the activism of the masses for socialist revolution and socialist construction.
With such extensive democracy, we can create a social climate in which the common laborers may criticize the leading organs of the Party and government as well as the leaders of those organs.
With such extensive democracy, the masses in their millions will be able to supervise our Party and government leaders at all levels as well as our Party and government organs at all levels.
The development of proletarian extensive democracy is of great and far-reaching significance as far as the consolidation of the dictatorship of the proletariat and guarding against capitalist restoration is concerned.
The extensive democracy we have in mind is extensive democracy under the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Proletarian dictatorship and proletarian extensive democracy constitute a unity of opposites. Without proletarian dictatorship, proletarian extensive democracy cannot be safeguarded. For the same reason, if there is no proletarian extensive democracy, proletarian dictatorship cannot be consolidated and may even degenerate into a bourgeois or fascist dictatorship. What makes it possible for our country to realize this extensive democracy is the fact that we have a consolidated dictatorship of the proletariat and the invincible People’s Liberation Army.
At a time when the struggle between the two classes and the two roads still goes on, departing from proletarian dictatorship will put us in no position to talk about proletarian extensive democracy. This is especially so in the midst of the present scrimmage between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Proletarian dictatorship must closely integrate dictatorship over counter-revolutionaries with extensive democracy for the people. Proletarian dictatorship is powerful because it stands for the dictatorship of the working masses over the exploiters and the dictatorship of the majority over the minority, and also because it brings into being extensive democracy for the broad working people.
There cannot be any proletarian dictatorship—or at least not any consolidated proletarian dictatorship—without the criticism, supervision, and active support of the broad masses. The more intense the class struggle, the greater the need for the proletariat to rely most resolutely and thoroughly on the broad masses of the people and to mobilize their revolutionary activism to triumph over the forces of reaction.
Of late, a small handful of Party-persons in power taking the capitalist road and an extremely small number of diehards clinging to the bourgeois reactionary line are not reconciled to their defeat. Working in collusion with ox-monsters and snake-demons out there in society, they launch frantic counter-attacks against the proletarian revolutionary line in an attempt to sabotage the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, sabotage proletarian extensive democracy, and sabotage the dictatorship of the proletariat. Under the guise of extensive democracy, they arbitrarily accuse the proletarian revolutionaries of all sorts of crimes and direct the spearhead of struggle at the Proletarian Headquarters. Unwilling to tolerate this, the broad revolutionary masses exercise dictatorship over the small handful of rotten eggs concerned.
This revolutionary measure has greatly strengthened the determination of the revolutionaries and dampened the arrogance of the reactionaries. The revolutionary masses jump with joy and applaud it. But a small handful of clowns are enraged. They are turning hysterical and viciously slander our revolutionary activities. “You are sabotaging extensive democracy!” Because we exercise dictatorship over the clowns who bombard the Proletarian Headquarters, you call this sabotaging extensive democracy. It just goes to show that the democracy you have in mind is bourgeois democracy. Such “democracy,” dear sirs, is indeed what we intend to sabotage.
Chairman Mao teaches us: “There is in the world only concrete freedom, concrete democracy, but no abstract freedom, abstract democracy. In the society of class struggle when the exploiting classes are free to exploit the working people, there is no democracy for the proletariat and the working people.” In either case, A has to eliminate B. This is what has to happen and there can be no compromise. By eliminating bourgeois democracy to a greater extent and with greater thoroughness, proletarian democracy will greatly expand. As the bourgeoisie sees it, this means that in our country there is no democracy or that democracy is being sabotaged. Actually this is eradicating what is bourgeois and promoting what is proletarian, and the promotion of proletarian democracy means the eradication of bourgeois democracy.
“You are violating the freedom of speech!” Dear sirs, you are right. We mean to forbid the reactionaries from speaking and acting in an unruly way. Freedom is given only to the people and not to the reactionaries. Anybody among the people can say what he wants to say, write big-character posters against other persons, and put up such posters in whatever place he chooses. Just look at our factories, government organs, schools, rural villages, and city streets, and you will find big-character posters everywhere. Let us ask: In which country is there so high a degree of freedom and democracy?
“You have no faith in the masses!” This is complete nonsense! You small handful of counter-revolutionaries are definitely not the “masses,” and we have no faith in you at all. We are dealing with you bad eggs in accordance with the demands of the broad revolutionary masses, and our actions are a manifestation of our great faith in the masses. In refutation of that renegade Kautsky, Lenin said:
“With the attitude of a learned bookworm or the innocence of a ten-year-old girl, Kautsky asked: Since you have the support of the majority, why is dictatorship still necessary? Marx and Engels explained: “—in order to break the resistance of the bourgeoisie. “—in order to strike fear in the reactionaries. “—in order to uphold the authority of the armed people to oppose the bourgeoisie. “—in order to enable the proletariat to suppress their own enemies with brute force.”
These teachings of Lenin were beyond the comprehension of that renegade Kautsky, and they are also beyond the comprehension of those clowns who accuse us of having “no faith in the masses.” Only genuine revolutionaries can comprehend them. Some muddle-headed individuals adopt a Philistine view toward the present life-and-death class struggle. They fail to see the class contradiction and the great battle between the two lines. They do not understand why we are so determined to repulse the frantic attack represented by this small counter-revolutionary adverse current. They say: “People are merely voicing some objections: Why do you have to take such dictatorial measures?” They see only the outward appearance of things and not their essence.
Among the people, when some comrades voice objections, we listen humbly to what they have to say, even though the words may be sharp and the argument heated. But those fellows with ulterior motives, who in the guise of criticism are actually attacking the proletarian headquarters, must be exposed. Otherwise, people may be taken in by them. Chairman Mao has taught us that democracy is a means and not an end in itself. We use this means to reach our great goal of making a success of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, of consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat, and of promoting the socialist cause. Only by strengthening the dictatorship of the proletariat can we safeguard the extensive democracy of the proletariat. Those who want to bombard the Proletarian Headquarters and undermine the dictatorship of the proletariat in our country are having a pipe dream and will never succeed!
Right now, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution has entered a new phase. The proletarian revolutionaries must warmly respond to the great call of the Party and Chairman Mao and learn from the Shanghai revolutionaries. Let us unite all proletarian revolutionaries and tighten our grip on the destiny of the proletarian dictatorship, the destiny of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and the destiny of the socialist economy. Let us fight to repulse the latest counter-attack of the bourgeois reactionary line and to gain new victories in the Great Cultural Revolution.
Red Flag, No. 2, 1967, pp. 37-39.