A New Type of Production Relations in a Socialist Enterprise-1976

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-An account of how the Shanghai Clock and Watch Factory observes the “Charter of the Anshan Iron and Steel Works” and effects the system of “two-way learning on the sport”

In what way can an enterprise establish a new type of socialist relations of production and continue to improve it? How can we prevent leaders of an enterprise, as servants of the people, from gradually degenerating into capitalist roaders and members of the bureaucratic class, and how can we prevent the working masses, masters of the enterprise, from being reduced once again to hired hands?

Through what means can we ensure that the leadership of an enterprise will be firmly kept in the hands of genuine Marxists and the working masses?

Chairman Mao’s series of important directives issued during the Proletarian Cultural Revolution and the struggle to beat back the right deviationists who attempted to reverse correct verdicts have indicated the right direction and approach for resolving the above problems.

In which way should these directives be implemented in an industrial enterprise? Many advanced industrial units have answered this question with their own actions. The Shanghai Clock and Watch Factory is one of them. At the high tide of criticizing Deng in depth, we paid a visit to the factory.

To our excitement, we saw with our own eyes a brand new scene of how a socialist enterprise operates.

Fresh Experience in Managing a Socialist Enterprise

Because of the Cultural Revolution the political movements concerning the criticism of Lin and Confucius, the study of the theory of proletarian dictatorship, and especially the great ongoing struggle to criticize Deng’s counter-revolutionary revisionist line and repulse the right deviationist attempt to reverse correct verdicts, the Shanghai Clock and Watch Factory has gained new ground in its effort to launch in depth the mass movement of learning from Taching in industry and adhering to the “Charter of the Anshan Iron and Steel Works”.

Fresh experience has been gained in organizing the cadres to take part in physical labor and the workers to participate in management. They have initiated a system of “two way learning on the spot” in which each cadre takes a turn in workshops a hundred days a year while groups of workers serve for four to six months in offices, participating in management.

Throughout the entire factory, cadres who were divorced from manual labor have mastered at least one production skill, while the secretary of the factory Party committee and his deputies, five in all, have learned to do two or three kinds of technical production work.

When they work in the workshops, they are assigned to the daytime or nighttime shift like other workers and fulfill the same required production tasks. With the workers, they take part in study and criticism conducted by teams and squads. Workers from the forefront of production are sent to the factory headquarters in turns, undertaking leadership and administrative jobs in offices and sections.

When their assignments to the headquarters are completed, they return to their former teams and squads.

In addition to the above, mass management committees are set up at the team and squad levels and various types of worker’s administrative groups are established in workshops. As a rule workers who directly participate in the administration of the factory account for more then a third of the total number of workers.

Acting in the capacity of masters of both the state and the factory, the workers exercise revolutionary supervision over the cadres. On top of that, the extensive participation in administrative work on the part of the workers has continuously propelled institutional reforms in the superstructure.

Having streamlined the factory organization, administrative personal now only account for 8 percent of the total number of staff members and workers in the factory.

The revolutionary practice of “two learning on the spot” has brought about a revolutionary and profound change in the relations among men, among units, and between the cadres and the masses in the factory. They have made new breakthroughs in such areas as the drive to restrict bourgeois rights and gradually narrow the three major differences, the effort to formulate regulations and conventions convenient for the masses in order to establish a revolutionary order and discipline, and in their endeavor to promote productive capacity.

Cadres Voluntarily Toil as Workers

During the past few years, it has become a voluntary practice for leading cadres of the Shanghai Watch and Clock Factory to learn on the spot in certain grass-roots units and take part in production labor.

Let’s begin with some examples.

In March this year, according to schedule, it was the turn of Lu Wen-hsi, secretary of the factory Party committee, to learn on the spot and take part in physical labor in the No. 3 Workshop. At that time, the entire factory was ablaze with the struggle to criticize Deng, a campaign that was in need of leadership.

However it was the opinion of the Party committee that sending Party leaders to participate in production labor at this juncture would strengthen the leadership rather then weakening it.

Old Lu took part in labor like other workers and learned from the masses while working along with them. At the same time, he punctually brought back to the Party committee, the masses fresh experience in criticizing Deng so that the committee could give instructions to the factory as a whole and step by step guide the progress of the campaign against Deng.

Deputy Committee Secretary Ch’ou Chin-tao was in charge of the entire factory’s production. After Lu’s turn to labor at the lower levels, Ch’ou went on to learn on the spot by participating in production labor in the pilot manufacturing group for new products.

The maxim of the cadres at the Shanghai Watch and Clock Factory is that they should learn how to toil as workers. They bear in mind the historical experience of the Paris Commune, namely that it was necessary to prevent cadres from “seeking their particular interests” after the establishment of the proletarian dictatorship (Selected Works of Marx and Engels, Chinese edition Vol.2 p 334).

They are constantly on the alert not to convert the power in their hands into privilege. To join the workers in their struggle, every year during the hot season, the cadres go to the hottest and dirtiest spot to take part in production. The cadres regularly make public to the entire factory the number of days in each month that they engaged in direct production work.

As for workers who take part in management in the headquarters of the factory, the cadres frequently report to them concerning the progress of the factory’s work and also concerning the cadre’s own views and ideas.

To intensify the struggle to criticize Deng, the cadres often invite workers to join the sessions of the Party Committee twice a week so that the workers can educate the cadres in the studies and expound any specific topic concerning the criticism of Deng. On festive occasions, the cadres and workers rehearse, sing revolutionary songs, and stage plays and operas together.

Why is it that cadres in this factory can persist in taking part in labor and voluntarily toil as workers?

The basic reason is that the vast numbers of cadres, through the education of the Proletarian Cultural Revolution, have come to understand that these two requirements constitute a major aspect of their commitment to prevent and combat revisionism. What was the relationship between the cadres and workers prior to the Cultural Revolution when Liu Shao-chi’s counter revolutionary revisionist line was dominant. Here is how the workers describe things at that time: “The factory manager’s office was an impassable threshold which the workers had no right to step across. As a turnip is only allowed to grow in its hole, a worker was obliged to work quietly where he belonged.”

The workers looked upon this kind of relationship as one between a cat and a mouse; the cadres thought it was designed to uphold the cadre’s privileges and guarantee that they could run the enterprise well. Whenever the worker tried to initiate a technical innovation, they had to present their case to seven related offices and sections for their approval, involving altogether twenty-three procedures.

The revisionist oriented supervision, barriers, and pressure reduced the workers into hired hands and put the cadres in a position sharply conflicting with the workers.

Like a rainstorm, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution washed away the mud and slops left over from the revisionist line pursued by Liu Shao-ch’i. The broad masses of workers broke down the evil traditions which restrained their initiative and created a new situation in which the working class, led by the Party, retains the leadership over the enterprise.

Under the guidance of the Party committee, cadres in the entire Shanghai Clock and Watch Factory persist in taking part in production labor as ordinary workers. By working with the workers, the cadres learned through personal contact the fine character of the working class and the worker’s lofty spirit of behaving themselves as the masters of the enterprise.

They became aware of the extreme importance of improving relations between the leadership and the masses. Deputy Secretary of the Factory Party Committee Chao hsiu-hua was assigned to work on the morning shift in the materials section of No.2 Workshop. On the first day he got to the workshop punctually at six o’clock in the morning. However, he found he was late, for it had become a regular practice over the past few years for workers in the section to start work ahead of schedule.

As Little Chao had had no knowledge of this beforehand, he was deeply impressed. He realized that cadres were liable to estrange themselves from the masses once they stopped taking part in production labor.

Without sharing the joys and hardships of the masses, the cadres could not appreciate the working masses and learn from them. From that time on, Little Chao has consciously and persistently participated in labor and mingled with the workers as an ordinary laborer.

Deputy Secretary of the Factory Party Committee Liu Chih-lung is a new cadre from a worker’s background. Once when he was assigned to learn on the spot and do production labor in the arc-shaping section, he found a worker cutting a stamp while on the shift. Liu was angry and wanted to criticize the worker. However, since Liu remembered that one has no right to speak without having conducted an investigation beforehand, he decided to have a heart to heart talk with the worker.

What he discovered through the talk was a great surprise to him. The workers had succeeded in making a new technical innovation. To distinguish the specifications of different products, they needed nine sets of stamps. In order to save state expenditure, the worker took the initiative and cut the stamps on his own.

After this episode, Liu made a penetrating examination of his own sentiments at the full meeting of the factory’s cadres. He questioned himself about why his attitude towards the workers was liable to change after he himself had been promoted to a cadre. This incident showed that, though a new cadre himself, he was susceptible to the influence and erosion of ideas about upholding bourgeois rights.

For this reason, even a new cadre from a worker’s background should pay attention to placing himself in the right position when dealing with the masses. It is a revisionist idea to regard a cadre as someone who takes charge of workers. It is therefore a bad idea and we should never allow ourselves to be affected by it. The strict demands Liu Chih-lung made on himself served as an education to the cadres throughout the factory.

Chairman Mao taught us: “Management is socialist education in itself. If administrative personnel do not practice the three unities with the workers in workshops and sections and respect them as teachers from whom they can learn a few skills, they will be locked all their lives in a state of severe class struggle with the working class and will finally be knocked out by the workers as capitalists. Without gaining technical know-how and by remaining an outsider all the time, one can never be a good administrator. It is impossible for a muddlehead to give explicit directions to others.”

In association with their own experience of doing production labor in fixed units at the grassroots level, responsible comrades of the factory Party committee, as well as cadres in offices and sections, conscientiously studied this important directive of Chairmen Mao. They further understood that in order for the leaders of a socialist enterprise to throughly break away from the revisionist line pursued by Liu Shao-ch’i, Lin Piao and Teng Hsiao-p’ing, completely disassociating themselves from the old relations of production as well as conventional ideas, they have no choice but to toil as an ordinary worker and perseveringly take part in collective production labor.

Through participation in labor, they improve the relations between the leadership and the masses and realize a fundamental transformation of their own world outlooks. Right now, the vast numbers of cadres and masses in the factory carry forward the fine tradition of cadres and masses sharing each other’s joys and hardships, a tradition which prevailed during the period of revolutionary war. They have gained fresh ground in developing socialist production relations and created a new political situation in which both the cadres and the masses are active in thinking and united as one in fighting for a common goal.

Workers have truly become masters of the enterprise

The worker’s participation in managing the enterprise constitutes a major aspect of “two way learning on the spot”. As group after group of workers has taken part in administrative work and exercised revolutionary supervision over the cadres, carefully helping and educating them, the Shanghai Clock and Watch Factory has undergone a tremendous change in its relations of production.

Take a small incident for example. Last June, several workers sat in on sessions of the nucleus study group held by the factory Party committee. They saw Hsu Ai-hsin, a member of the Party committee and branch secretary of the No. 1 Workshop, receive six phone calls in a row within ten minutes after he sat down for the study session. Then somebody beckoned to him from outside the meeting room.

He asked for leave and went away without returning.

The incident aroused the worker’s deep thinking and concern. Why were there so many people who wanted to consult Old Hsu and interrupt his study? The workers looked into the matter and found out that the six phone calls were all in reference to trifles. They felt that Old Hsu kept a tight hold on small matters but neglected major issues. The workers made Old Hsu understand what they saw in this situation, and their opinion sounded like a warning to him. Deeply moved, Old Hsu sincerely understood that the worker’s supervision indicated their concern and assistance for him.

Worker comrades in the factory said: “Participating in management and exercising supervision over cadres does not mean that we merely post wall posters. We must constantly and patiently come to the cadre’s aid with meticulous ideological advice. Only by doing so can we consider ourselves to be working in compliance with Chairman Mao’s teachings.”

Since workers can be assigned to work at leading posts and participate in leadership and management, can cooks be allowed to do the same? Last year a cook and Party member by the name of Yu Hsin-chi was recommended by his comrades to learn on the spot in the armed defense squad.

With a vigorous spirit, he learned to work hard and strengthen his ties with the masses. Adhering to political principles, he did a good job during his stay there. Not long after his return to the kitchen as a cook, the head of the defense squad was assigned to learn on the spot in a workshop. Yu was again invited to the squad and worked as its head for two months.

Again he achieved good results in his work, having a notable impact on the entire factory. Lenin once said: “Among the common people, that is the workers and peasant masses who do not exploit other’s labor, there is an extremely large number of people who have a talent for organization.” (“Current Task for Soviet State Power,” Selected Works of V.I.Lenin, Chinese Edition, Vol. 3, p.514). What Lenin said is a fact, is it not?

The historical period of socialism is an era during which declining capitalism and growing communism are locked in a protracted fight. Having workers participate in management is a factor embodying the growth of communism. Teng Hsiao-p’ing opposed the “Charter of the Anshan Iron and Steel Works” and pursued a revisionist line in running enterprises.

His purpose was to strangle socialist new things and nip elements of growing communism in the bud in an attempt to restore capitalism. Comrades of the Shanghai Clock and Watch Factory have opposed Teng’s line and have created fresh experience in having workers take part in management. This indicated the direction in which the management of a socialist enterprise should proceed.

Through the great revolutionary practice of persistently implementing the “Charter of the Anshan Iron and Steel Works” the Shanghai Clock and Watch Factory has effected profound changes in the two realms of the superstructure and the economic base. By adhering to the revolutionary system of “two way learning on the spot” in which cadre are allowed to participate in productive labor and workers in management, relations among people have become entirely different.

The workers say, “the cadres and the workers, though different in their division of labor are both masters of the enterprise.” The revisionist line pursued by Liu Shao-ch’i interfered with the cadres and workers and divided them into two separate camps by means of the division of labor prior to the Cultural Revolution. Sometimes they were even locked in a state of sharp class struggle. Now since they have adhered to the “Charter of the Anshan Iron and Steel Works” and implemented the system of “two way learning on the spot”, they have been as close to each other as a fish in water.

The system of “two-way learning on the spot” serves as an education for many cadres. They have arrived at an even deeper understanding of revolution after having studied Chairman Mao’s teaching that the bourgeoisie is “right in the Communist Party” and after having studied his major instructions on the Socialist Education Movement launched in 1964.

Said the cadres: “It was the revisionist line and the old relations of production that alienated cadres from labor and the masses. Leading cadres in our factory are all promoted from among the rank and file workers. However, if we were divorced from labor and the masses for a long time, holding ourselves loftily and acting as overlords, we would probably evolve into newly emerging bureaucrats and capitalist roaders who would finally be kicked out by the working class.”

“In the past,” they continued, “we spoke of adding a brick or a tile to the edifice of socialism. Now merely stating that is not enough. We must also add a pickax or a spade so that we can gradually dig away the soil engendering capitalism and the bourgeoisie. It is a great struggle during which we must prepare ourselves for the protracted fight ahead. We must persist in the struggle against the bourgeoisie in the Party and behave ourselves as proletarian revolutionaries all the time.”

Adherence to the policy of putting proletarian politics in command of everything as well as the continual improvement of production relations has propelled production in this factory rapidly forward.

The factory’s total output value in 1975 was 7.3 times that of 1965. During the ten years of Cultural Revolution it registered an average increase of 23 percent per year. Labor productivity rose by 5.6 times and production costs went down by 55 percent. The profit it turned over to the state increased by sixteen times, and it has completed more then a thousand items of technical innovation.

It has also succeeded in making many advanced machines and much advanced equipment. These include the automatic laser diamond drill, the automatic aligning machine, and the automatic spherical grinder which make it possible for the factory to develop its production in the direction of mechanization and automation.

All these facts bear ample evidence for Marx’s famous thesis that “the most powerful force of production is the revolutionary class itself.” To hell with Teng Hsiao-p’ing’s concept that “class struggle is dying out” and the theory that “productive forces decide everything.”

Under the guidance of Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line, cadres and workers of the Shanghai Clock and Watch Factory use their brilliant accomplishments as ammunition to combat Teng Hsiao-p’ing’s crime of attempting to reverse correct verdicts and being the overall representative of the bourgeoisie inside and outside the Party and of all exploiting classes.

The Shanghai Clock and Watch Factory has always adhered to the “Charter of the Anshan Iron and Steel Works” and effected the system of “two-way learning on the spot” so that the worker masses can be mobilized on an extensive scale for participation in management.

All this serves as a powerful restriction on bourgeois right and also as a symbol indicating the tremendous and powerful changes which our country’s industrial front is now undergoing and must continue to undergo. Class struggle is the key link. The proletariat must hold it fast in its hands in order to propel the various socialist enterprises. Revolution commands production and revolution boosts production. As long as we adhere to Chairman Mao’s proletarian revolutionary line, we will achieve even greater growth in socialist productivity. The proletarian dictatorship in our country will be further strengthened and we will win still greater victories in our effort to advance the cause of socialism.

An NCNA Reporter and a Jen-min Jih-pao Reporter and Correspondent

Chinese Economic Studies, Fall 1977. (Translation of article from People’s Daily, July 18, 1976.)

 

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