–A criticism of Teng Hsiao-ping’s sophistic tactics in opposing the restriction of bourgeois rights
Inside “On the General Program for All Work of the Party and the Country” concocted on instructions from Teng Hsiao-p’ing, the arch unrepentant capitalist-roader within the Party, no mention is made of struggle against Party persons in power taking the capitalist road, nor is there any mention of the restriction of bourgeois rights, on which the capitalist roaders rely for peace and stability. This is by no means a matter of coincidence but the inevitable exposure of Teng Hsiao-p’ing’s bourgeois nature.
In his directive on the question of theory, Chairman Mao clearly points out that regarding bourgeois rights, “they can only be restricted under the dictatorship of the proletariat.”
Although “On the General Program” touches on this directive of Chairman Mao’s, it does not say a word about the most important content of this directive-the restriction of bourgeois rights. This is sufficient to show that what Teng Hsiao-p’ing calls the need to study Chairman Mao’s directive on the question of theory is completely false and what is true is his opposition to the dictatorship of the proletariat and the restriction of bourgeois rights.
Doesn’t Teng Hsiao-p’ing openly cry that “in order to restrict bourgeois rights, there must also be a material foundation; otherwise, how is restriction to be effected?” This most clearly shows that Teng Hsiao-p’ing actually opposes the restriction of bourgeois rights on the grounds that conditions are not available for restricting bourgeois rights.
Since Teng Hsiao-p’ing is opposed to the restriction of bourgeois rights, he naturally is also opposed to the criticism of bourgeois rights. Nevertheless, he plays another trick, saying that even if “criticism” has to be made, only the idea of bourgeois rights can be “criticized.”
This is in fact to sever the idea of bourgeois rights from the bourgeois rights arising from it. The consequence is bound to be the “criticism” of the idea of bourgeois rights on the one hand, and the unrestricted strengthening and extension of bourgeois rights on the other. Such a trick played by Teng Hsiao-p’ing takes standing philosophy on its head as its ideological foundation. This kind of reactionary philosophy must be throughly criticized.
First, this kind of philosophy takes away the actual foundation of the idea of bourgeois rights, and describes it as something independent and divorced from bourgeois rights. A basic viewpoint of Marxist philosophy is “the need to explain social consciousness with social being” (Selected Works of Lenin, Vol.II p.584) While “conceptual things are nothing more then reformed material things transferred into human minds.” (After Forward to 2nd Edition of Das Kapital Vol.I, Selected Works of Marx and Engels, Vol. II p.217) The idea of bourgeois rights is a reflection of bourgeois rights in man’s mind. There are still bourgeois rights in socialist society, and this is the objective foundation which makes possible the indefinite existence and functioning of the idea of bourgeois rights.
However in Teng Hsiao-p’ing’s philosophy which stands on its head, the idea of bourgeois rights seems to have become the decisive thing of prime importance, the thing which determines rather then relying upon social being. Therefore, bourgeois rights “are forgotten and distorted by idealism “right from the beginning” (Extracts from Hegel’s “Recorded Speeches on History of Philosophy” Collected Works of Lenin Vol.XXXVIII p.324) According to this kind of idealist philosophy that stands on its head, the restriction of bourgeois rights becomes “an infeasible truth”, which the handful of counter-revolutionaries yelled when staging the T’ienanmen Square incident.
Next, this kind of philosophy has taken away from the idea of bourgeois rights its concrete class content and turned it into a class concept that stands above classes. Marxist philosophy holds that any social consciousness in class society has its specific class content. For example, the idea of bourgeois rights is what the bourgeoisie looks upon as the “concept of their having the prerogative to exploit the workers.” (Engels: “On the Question of Housing” Selected Works of Marx and Engels, Vol.II p 476)
Only by fully understanding the class essence of the idea of bourgeois rights can we heighten our understanding of the necessity to restrict bourgeois rights. Otherwise the idea of bourgeois rights can only be criticized falsely while bourgeois rights are genuinely shielded.
What is the fact? Like Teng Hsiao-p’ing, such unrepentant capitalist-roaders within the Party are also opposed to criticizing the idea of bourgeois rights. For instance, such typical ideas of bourgeois right as “study in order to become officials”, “private ownership of knowledge” pursuit of the “White and expert” road, “acquiring fame and prestige” should have been criticized according to logic!
However the Teng Hsiao-p’ing type of capitalist roaders within the Party yell that “they cannot be unanalytically criticized.” After their “analysis” these corrupt ideas all become things that stand above classes and are “good to the People’s Republic of China.” Therefore, he can carry on his sinful activities in strengthening and extending bourgeois rights and restoring capitalism.
Next again, the kind of philosophy negates the important role of revolutionary practice. Marxism fully affirms the dynamic role of social consciousness and emphasizes the importance of struggle in the ideological sphere, but it particularly attaches significance to the enormous role of revolutionary practice in transforming the objective world under the guidance of the correct ideology.
The criticism of the idea of bourgeois right is doubtless very important, but this cannot replace entirely the restriction of bourgeois rights in actual life. Teng Hsiao-p’ing’s sinister attempt in advocating that the idea of bourgeois right can only be “criticized” in isolation is to negate the significance of revolutionary practice, write off a section of revolutionary measures adapted by our Party for restricting bourgeois rights, smother a large number of socialist new things for restricting bourgeois rights on all sides and cover up his true image in transforming the idea of bourgeois right into restorationist action.
The philosophy which stands on its head publicized by Teng Hsiao-p’ing is no new invention.
In the worker’s movement, the opportunists and new and old revisionists, for the sake of opposing the proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat, have all vociferously peddled this kind of idealist philosophy that stands on its head because it is particularly suitable to the political need of the reactionary class on the decline to deceive and corrupt the masses of the people and to defend and restore the old things.
Liu Shao-ch’i, Lin Piao, Teng Hsiao-p’ing and the capitalist-roaders within the Party of their kind-similar to the reactionary class on the decline in history-all go against the historical tide and have no truth in their hands. Therefore [they] can only seek help from this kind of reactionary philosophy that stands on its head. Liu Shao-ch’i chanted for several decades his idealist “self-cultivation”, and Lin Piao openly advocated “to reverse” Marxist historical materialism and publicized with every effort the fallacy of “eruption of revolution in the depth of the soul.”
What they worshiped is precisely this kind of philosophy which stands on its head-subjective idealist philosophy. At the time of opposing the restriction of bourgeois rights, Teng Hsiao-p’ing toys with sophistic tactics. This is determined by his subjective idealist world outlook. His ideology is “characterized by the breach between the subjective and the objective, the separation of knowledge from practice.” (Chairman Mao “On Practice”) He fundamentally ignores objective existence and the practice of struggle by the people, overestimates his own counter-revolutionary “subjective” force and underestimates the strength of the masses of people.
As he sees it, so long as he plays with sophistic tactics and casts forth the philosophy that stands on its head, he can befuddle and hoodwink the masses, and hence continue to strengthen and extend bourgeois right and practice his own fraudulent deals for restoring capitalism.
However the proletariat armed with Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung thought is an irresistible “material force which changes society and changes the world.” (Chairman Mao, “Where Do Correct Ideas Come From?”) Such kind of capitalist roaders within the Party as Teng Hsiao-p’ing can only be swept by the proletariat onto the garbage pile of history together with their philosophy which stands on its head.
Marx points out: “Nothing can prevent us from integrating our criticism with political criticism, and with the clearcut political stand of these people. Hence, we also integrate our criticism with actual struggle and look upon criticism and actual struggle as one and the same thing.”
(“Excerpts from Letters in the German-French Almanac” Collected Works of Marx and Engels, Vol.I, pp 417-418) We must adhere to these several “integrations” mentioned by Marx, thoroughly criticize Teng Hsiao-p’ing’s reactionary philosophy which stands on its head, link the criticism of the idea of bourgeois right and the criticism of bourgeois right with the restriction of bourgeois right, consolidate and develop the achievements gained from the restriction of bourgeois right, carry through to the end the continued revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat and gradually create conditions which make it impossible for the bourgeoisie to exist or to emerge again.
Survey of People’s Republic of China Press #6204 (76-42). (Peking Kuang-ming Jih-pao, August 31, 1976)