Remembering the Chinese Revolution

In Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the

Chinese Revolution



Contents    Previous Part

 Part Four

Historical Significance of the Chinese Revolution


(A) Fight against Revisionism and Emergence of Mao Tsetung Thought or Maoism

(B) Two stage Revolution

(C) People’s War

(D) The Proletarian Party

(E) Continuing the Revolution under the Dictatorship of the Proletariat


The Chinese revolution has set the path for revolutions in all backward countries. The Chinese revolution has shown the path for socialist construction, in its essence, throughout the world. And, most important, the Chinese revolution has thrown up the theory and ideology of Mao Tsetung Thought (or Maoism) which is universally applicable and constitutes a new and higher stage in the development of Marxism-Leninism.

In the present historical juncture, no revolution, democratic or socialist, is conceivable without the acceptance of the above three facts. There have been numerous revolutions, as in Albania, Vietnam, Cuba, North Korea, East Europe, etc., but the qualitative difference between these and both the Russian and Chinese revolutions is that while blazing a new path, both further developed the basic Marxist concepts. While Marx and Engels set forth the basic proletarian theory of scientific socialism, these were enriched and developed by Lenin, Stalin and Mao in the course of the above two revolutions.

The key factor behind the historical significance of the Chinese revolution is the evolution of Mao’s theory. In the course of solving the problems of the Chinese revolution, Mao’s theories have acquired a universality that is relevant for communists throughout the world. He developed Marxist science in every conceivable sphere; in philosophy, political economy, scientific socialism, proletarian tactics, party organisation, military science, and even in its herculean efforts to create the new communist man.

Notwithstanding the reversal in China, the insight Mao has provided to understanding the laws that govern man, his socio-economic environment, and those that govern revolution and its advance towards communism, is a qualitative leap from what existed earlier. For revolutionaries to downplay its importance and significance to any movement for change, amounts to discarding the most powerful and mighty weapon in the battle against the existing order, thereby blunting the edge of the movement. This is particularly tragic today, when imperialism, utilising its vast experience all over the world in counter-revolution, over the last century, has raised its methods to a high level of sophistication. In effect, while imperialism utilises all counter-revolutionary experience in its present strategies, some revolutionaries, by downplaying the significance of the Chinese revolution, negate the latest and richest experience.

Through the twists and turns of the Chinese revolution, just witnessed in the earlier sections of the booklet, there emerged not mere empiricist solutions to the problems faced, but scientific formulations that saw the problems and their solutions in the light of socio-economic laws of development. So answers given by Mao sought to solve the intricate questions of the revolution, by going to their roots, discovering the laws that govern them, and only then providing solutions. In his methodology he used the microscope and the telescope — i.e., to delve deep to find out the real causes, and to provide solution which were not short-term, transient, but far-reaching. Thus Mao’s writings acquired a universality, far beyond the immediate framework of the Chinese revolution.

Take his contribution to philosophy. Not only did he further develop Lenin’s theory of the unity and struggle of opposites (On Contradiction), not only did he further develop the understanding of the theory of knowledge (On Practice); but he also developed the methodology of tracing incorrect ideas, views, policies, trends and lines to their ideological roots. In any communist party, subjectivist, dogmatic, empiricist, mechanical, etc., trends do tend to crop up continuously. Unless combated, they eat into the revolutionary essence of a proletarian party, destroying it from within. Mao’s numerous philosophical writings are an essential weapon with which to combat such ideological deviations. Moreover, their simplicity makes it easy for the entire rank-and-file of the party to grasp. To negate this important tool available to all communist parties the world over, is tantamount to inviting alien, non-proletarian tendencies into the party and discarding an important shield against this bourgeois vermin.

Take the question of remoulding the outlook into a proletarian world outlook. Not only did Mao emphasise again and again the necessity for this, he also discovered various forms to facilitate its implementation. Whether it was in methods of party functioning, or in the mass work and mass line, or in the approach towards socialist construction, or in the class character of economic policy etc, etc., Mao evolved methods to deeply engrain the communist spirit of selflessness, simplicity, modesty and a concern for others. This can be seen in all his writings from the very beginning and was particularly emphasised after the seizure of power and during the GPCR. Today, with a large section of party membership made up from the urban petti-bourgeois and the peasantry, this Maoist methodology and approach for remoulding one’s outlook is of key significance. Moreover, with a continuous blasting from a consumerist propaganda machine, the extent of which has never been witnessed before, together with a setback in the international communist movement, petty-bourgeois outlook is even more deep-rooted and pernicious today, effecting the communist sweep and a real vanguard role of many a communist party in the world today. At such a time to ignore this important Maoist principle, is tantamount to opening the doors wide to all kinds of philistinism, lethargy, pessimism, legalism which eats into the very vitals of the revolution.

Then take Mao’s concept of mass line. This too is a theme that flows through all of his writings. This also, is a key factor for any successful revolution — to arouse the masses and rely on them to undertake great changes. It is a policy that is applicable not only in mass work, but also in party building, building of the people’s army and developing the united front. It is at once a method of work and also a method of inoculating oneself against the bourgeois diseases of selfishness, bureaucracy, commandism etc. It is also a counter to all concepts of ‘heroes making revolution’ and theories of ‘focoism’ and isolated terroristic methods. Today, to wantonly negate Mao’s concept of mass line by any real proletarian party is to invite disaster.

Some of Mao’s major contributions to Marxist theory have been in the sphere of : combating revisionism, particularly modern revisionism; developing further the theory of two-stage revolution; further developing the principles of the proletarian party; chalking out a new path for revolution in backward countries; developing a military line for the proletariat; and, most important of all, an all-encompassing theory to carry on the revolution (until communism) under the dictatorship of the proletariat. All these developments are of enormous significance for any communist party in the world today. Let us take a brief look at these points.

(A) Fight Against Revisionism and Emergence of Mao Tsetung Thought or Maoism

One can say that the entire history of Marxism, from the time of Marx, has developed and established itself, in the course of fighting alien trends within the movement. While Marx and Engels ideas developed while countering various anarchist, utopian and other trends inside the movement; from the time of Lenin revolutionary theory developed in the course of battle against revisionism — that is, while countering bourgeois ideology within the working class movement.

Mao’s struggle against revisionism has been of great historic importance: without it, the Chinese revolution would never have succeeded; without it, socialist construction in China would never have lasted roughly three decades; and without it, modern revisionism of the Soviet Union would not have been effectively countered, and the genuine communist forces from all over the world could never have been effectively rallied in the period of the post-1950s.

We have already seen in the earlier part of the book the disastrous impact of the incorrect lines of Chen Tu-hsui (right) and Li Lisan /Wang Ming, etc. It was only by effectively countering these incorrect lines that the Chinese revolution could succeed. Also in the post-revolution period we have seen how the various Right and ‘Left’ lines (more particularly Right) nearly derailed the revolution at various strategic turns.

But Mao’s contribution to the struggle against revisionism was not confined to China — he led the CPC in the ideological struggle against Khrushchev’s modern revisionism at an international plane, and thereby rallied all genuine communist forces the world over. The Great Soviet Union, which saw not only the first ever socialist revolution, but also the main bulwark against the fascist hordes, when subverted by the Khrushchev clique, created enormous confusion throughout the international communist movement. Its enormous prestige facilitated the great majority of communists to be led astray and into the revisionist camp. It was at such a critical moment that Mao led the CPC in a principled ideological battle against the modern revisionists of the CPSU. It was a relentless struggle in the glorious tradition of Lenin’s struggle against the Second International.

At the 20th Congress of the CPSU itself, where Khrushchev outrageously attacked Stalin and the very concept of the proletarian dictatorship, the CPC took up the gauntlet to save Marxism-Leninism. Alluding to Khrushchev’s attack on Stalin and his achievements, the CPC published a document in April 1956 entitled "on the historical experience of the dictatorship of the proletariat". Later, the CPC attacked Khrushchev’s revisionist theory of ‘three peacefuls’ in the famous article ‘Long Live Leninism !’ brought out in April 1960.

In November 1960 the CPSU hosted a meeting of 81 fraternal parties in Moscow in an attempt to foist its revisionist line on the ICM (International Communist Movement), but the CPC held fast to Marxist-Leninist ideology and fought forcefully in the drafting committee of the 26 parties and exposed the CPSU. Even the compromises arrived at at this meeting could not restrain the CPSU leadership in its outright degeneration.

In 1960 itself the CPSU withdrew all assistance to China and in 1962 instigated disturbances on the Sino-Soviet border and resorted to subversion. Yet, the CPC offered talks to sort out the problem, and on June 14, 1963 proposed a General Line for the International Communist Movement. But while the meeting between the two parties was still on, the CPSU leadership published an open letter on July 14, 1963 abusing the CPC and thus brought the debate into the open. So, the CPC, led by Mao, resumed public replies and issued a series of Nine Comments systematically refuting the key issues raised in the Open Letter of the CPSU. These Nine Comments, which constitute the main plank of the Great Debate in the ICM, form the quintessence of the struggle against modern revisionism, the great ideological struggle of our times, led by the great teacher of the world proletariat, Mao, to defend Marxism-Leninism from the onslaughts of the revisionists from the land of Lenin.

Just as Lenin’s struggle against the Second International fostered the growth of Leninist parties all over the world and led to the formation of the Third International, Mao’s struggle against Khrushchev’s modern revisionism helped Marxist-Leninist parties to sprout in several countries making a clean break with the pro-Soviet revisionist parties.

Later, it was the CPC, led by Mao, that pointed out the social-imperialist character of the Soviet Union and called for a united struggle against the two superpowers. It was the CPC that identified Asia, Africa and Latin America as the storm centres of world revolution. While opposing US imperialism and all reactionaries as paper tigers, Mao taught the world proletariat and oppressed people all over the world, that this is the era of revolutions, and that if the oppressed masses dare to fight they can certainly win victory in the world socialist revolution.

So Mao’s struggle against revisionism, particularly modern revisionism, is of great historical significance, which no real communist of today can undermine. Of course, now to this, has to be added the struggle against Teng revisionism. But it is the CPC’s struggle against Khrushchev’s revisionism that lays a solid ideological ground for future battles against Teng and all other various forms of revisionism. It is in the course of this struggle against revisionism, both within China and internationally, that Marxist theory has been developed to a new and higher stage, producing Mao Tsetung Thought or Maoism.

(B) Two Stage Revolution

Mao gave more concrete shape to Lenin’s concept of two stage revolution for the backward countries in the post-1917 era. Lenin, while opposing Trotskyite and other such deviations, clearly stated that revolutions cannot skip stages according to the whims of any party, but will develop according to laws inherent in the socio-economic system. The task of the revolutionary is to discover those laws and act accordingly. So, in Russia, the struggle against Tsarist autocracy went through democratic revolutions in 1905 and February 1917 and then the socialist revolution in October 1917.

Mao, in his articles ‘Introducing the Communist’, ‘Chinese Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party’ and ‘On New Democracy’ (all written in 1939/40) gave this Leninist concept a more concrete scientific shape in his concept of new democratic revolution. Mao said that :

(i) In the pre-1917 period all anti-feudal, anti-imperialist revolutions were part of the old bourgeois democratic revolution, while in the post-1917 period all the bourgeois democratic revolutions (called New Democratic Revolutions) will be part of the world socialist revolution.

(ii) While the former was led by the national bourgeoisie, the latter must necessarily be led by the proletariat.

(iii) That the bourgeoisie now splits into two camps: one the comprador bourgeoisie, that is a target of the revolution and ; two, the national bourgeoisie that is an ally (vacillating) of the revolution.

(iv) That the revolution can achieve success only by building a united front of four classes - workers, peasants, petti-bourgeoisie and national bourgeoisie - with the worker-peasant alliance as the basis.

(v) The main force of this revolution will be the peasantry, while the leading force will be the proletariat.

This theory of revolution in backward countries is of far reaching significance for all ongoing anti-imperialist, anti-feudal movements in the world today. The experience of the last few decades have shown that revolutions that have followed the above analysis continue to exist and develop, while a large number of armed revolutions that diverted from this path ended up either in compromise or liquidation, with the comprador bourgeoisie seizing the initiative. Most of those that failed, did not correctly define the friends and enemies of revolution and/or did not assert clear-cut proletarian leadership over the fighting forces through a communist party guided by Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought (or Maoism).

So we find a large number of national liberation movements in Africa and Latin America that continued their armed struggles, sometimes for decades, finally capitulated to one or the other imperialist power — either before victory or after it. In all these cases a section of the compradors was treated as an ally and proletarian leadership was missing. So also today we find a large number of nationality movements throughout the world (also in India) that are mostly led by the petti-bourgeoisie or national bourgeoisie (with even a section of the local compradors participating). Most only see the immediate target of oppression and therefore incorrectly define friends and enemies within their nation and deny proletarian leadership over these movements. As a result all are bound to end in compromise or else end with capitulation towards some imperialist power before or after victory. This is inevitable, as, has brilliantly been outlined by Mao, that in the present era (post-1917) it is impossible for any anti-imperialist, anti-feudal movement to achieve success unless led by the proletariat, and unless the comprador and feudal forces are also targeted.

Also there have been some examples of urban guerilla movements (eg. Latin America, etc) most of which seek to by-pass the New Democratic stage. In some of these countries with large urban populations, Mao’s understanding has to be creatively applied, particularly as most of these countries have not seen the completion of any democratic revolution.

Mao’s theory of New Democracy is today fundamental for all revolutionary movements in the backward countries, to be applied creatively to the concrete conditions of the concerned countries. Just because the situation is not a carbon-copy of the Chinese (which it can never be, specifically half a century later) does not in anyway deny the importance of this theory and its application to the ongoing revolutionary movements. A lack of appreciation of these concepts outlined by Mao, has been one of the major causes for many defeats of armed struggles over the past three decades.

(C) People’s War

Until the advent of the Chinese revolution, there was only one path available to the revolutionaries of the world — the Russian path of insurrection. In China too, the communists initially traversed this path. After the failure of a number of urban insurrections Mao began to put forward an alternative path. This was strongly opposed by the then leadership, comprising mostly of the Moscow-trained cadres. Inspite of the failures and heavy losses faced they continued to call for urban insurrections, negated peasant guerilla warfare.... leading to disastrous results. Faced with total destruction of their forces due to this mechanical, dogmatic line, Mao had to lead the Long March. It was only in 1935 at the Tsunyi conference that Mao’s concept found acceptance. And in May 1938 Mao wrote his famous work ‘On Protracted War’.

Since then a new path has opened up for the revolutionaries of the world, particularly for those in the backward countries. Since the victory of this path in the Chinese revolution, it has come to be accepted that the path of revolution for all backward countries of the world can only be that of protracted people’s war. This has been a significant development in Marxist strategy and a further enrichment of Lenin’s writings on insurrection, war and revolution. Today, without a thorough understanding of Mao’s concept of ‘protracted war’ it is impossible to win victory in any backward country of the world.

Through this concept Mao successfully fought incorrect views of ‘quick victory’ and also defeatist views that gave an impression of invincibility of the huge Kuomintang and Japanese forces. He scientifically demarcated three phases of the protracted war — the strategic defensive, the strategic equilibrium and the strategic counter-offensive.

Today, the concept of protracted war is even more important as similar concepts of ‘quick victory’ and defeatism continue to prevail. For example many fighting forces have depended on one or the other imperialist force to achieve quick victory. This was particularly the case in the 1970s and 1980 when a large number of national liberation movements became dependent on Soviet-social imperialism in order to get sophisticated arms and achieve quick victory. This has led to the liquidation of the movements and even victory has merely led to the replacement of one set of comprador elements with another set of such elements.

Also defeatist views prevail and these have increased in the face of an ultra-hi-tech powerful imperialist military machine. Also in India a similar view has prevailed for decades, that gives the impression that it is impossible to fight the huge genocidal Indian state machinery. Such views can only be countered by Mao’s concept of protracted war which step-by-step mobilises the masses for armed struggle and the achievement of victory.

It was during the course of the Chinese revolution that Mao developed the science of war — people’s war — to a new and higher plane. It is, in fact, with Mao that the international proletariat has attained a military theory. Lenin had written some rudimentary concepts of insurrection, war and the Red Army. But it was Mao who raised these concepts to a military science of People’s war through the establishment of a People’s Army.

In Mao’s concept of people’s war the broad masses must not only be armed, but organised militarily. This comprises, first and foremost the people’s army, which serves as the backbone of the revolutionary forces and the main instrument for fighting the enemy troops. Then there are also armed units of the masses organised on a wide-scale which directly coordinate with the army. So, in battle, there is a body of armed forces, regional troops and people’s militia fighting in coordination.

To arm the masses in the base areas as quickly as possible, Mao directed that a considerable part of the regular troops be distributed among the military sub-areas to organise people’s militia and self-defence forces so as to make the areas secure, coordinate with the field armies and smash the reactionary attacks.

Explaining the character of the People’s Army, Mao said, (On Correcting Mistaken Ideas in the Party, 1929) "The Chinese Red Army is an armed body for carrying out the political tasks of the revolution. Especially, at present, the Red Army should certainly not confine itself to fighting; besides fighting to destroy the enemy’s military strength, it should shoulder such important tasks as doing propaganda among the masses, organising the masses, arming them, helping them to establish revolutionary political power and setting up party organisations. The Red Army fights not merely for the sake of fighting, but in order to conduct propaganda among the masses, organise them, arm them, and help them establish revolutionary political power."

Through Mao’s vast number of military writings has evolved the military science of people’s war, which, till today, is unmatched in its brilliance. Some of the main principles outlined in these military writings are :

Strategically speaking the enemy should be considered as a paper tiger, while tactically it should be seen as a dangerous real tiger and crushed head-on by the people’s forces. Guerilla warfare and mobile warfare must be the main method of fighting the enemy; positional warfare is of secondary importance. As he said "with regard to the whole, mobile warfare is primary and guerilla warfare supplementary; with regard to the parts, guerilla warfare is primary and mobile warfare supplementary." Guerilla warfare is the only method in which a relatively weak force can confront the armed might of the state.

To allow the more powerful enemy into one’s territory and besiege him with guerilla warfare from all sides, is the only effective method of crushing a bigger force. By relying on the masses, and arming them to face the enemy, the enemy is made to continuously function in hostile territory. Thereby isolated, he can be smashed piecemeal by concentrating large forces in each tactical battle. The Maoist principle of guerilla warfare being : when the enemy attacks we retreat; when the enemy camps we harass; when the enemy tires, we attack.

Mao further developed not only the laws of guerilla warfare but also its relationship to mobile and positional warfare. He pointed out that though the overall people’s war is protracted, in specific campaigns and battles, operations of quick decision must be the principle. SURPRISE, was a key factor in guerilla actions. He also developed a new-style of command structure for guerilla warfare, involving a centralised strategic command and a decentralised command in campaigns and battles. In his concept of people’s war, Mao enumerates minute details of conducting the war, such as : questions of offence and defence; tasks of annihilation and tasks of attrition; questions of flexibility in dispersal, concentration and shifts in position; questions of the political mobilisation of the masses; the relation between officers and soldiers; relations between the army and the people; the army’s role in production, etc, etc.

Mao further developed Lenin’s thesis that the seizure of power by armed force and the smashing of the existing state machinery is the central task of any revolution. All activity should either be built around the people’s war, or should be geared to making preparations for it. Unless the party of the proletariat prepares, step by step, politically, organisationally and militarily for its strategic task, it can never seize the initiative; and even in times of crises, could find itself caught unawares, ill-equipped to face it, or utilise it to its advantage.

People’s war is the most comprehensive tool of warfare yet developed for the people to defeat a strong enemy force. It is a summation of the concrete experiences of China’s revolutionary war. It has generalised these experiences into principles and laws that are of universal significance.

Today, Mao’s principles of people’s war is even more relevant to face the hi-tech fire-power of the fascist forces. The imperialists’ propagate their hi-tech fire-power to frighten the people against launching attacks. They give the impression that all such attacks are futile in the face of their enormous strength. It is true, that in such conditions, direct battles would be futile. It is only through people’s war, utilising guerilla tactics, that the enemy can be effectively smashed. This was proved in the war in Indo-China, where the might of the American superpower was turned into a whimper.

Today any deviation from the Maoist principles of people’s war means certain defeat. To apply these principles creatively to the concrete conditions of each country is a primary pre-requisite to achieve victory.

(D) The Proletarian Party

Through the course of the Chinese revolution, Mao further developed the organisational principles of a Communist Party as laid down by Lenin and the Third International. Utilising dialectics, Mao did not look upon the party as a static monolithic entity, but as a dynamic body developing, like any other phenomena, through the unity and struggle of opposites. That is, through the struggle between incorrect and correct ideas, or between the proletarian view-point and the bourgeois view-point. This he said, was reflected in a struggle between two lines, and a struggle against the bourgeois (or petti-bourgeois) outlook through criticism and self-criticisms and rectification movements.

Mao developed the understanding of how to preserve the proletarian revolutionary character of the party through : waging a two-line struggle against opportunist and revisionist tendencies and lines; and by the ideological remoulding of party members through criticism and self-criticism. Today, without implementing these Maoist methods of party functioning, it is difficult for any real Communist Party to grow and develop. These principles, must be added to the already existing Leninist principles of a proletarian party.

Mao had said that in the party it was necessary to "create the kind of vigorous and lively political situation in which there are both centralisation and democracy, both discipline and freedom, both unity of will and personal ease of mind." Mao developed a brilliant dialectical relationship between democracy and centralism in order to release the maximum initiative of all party members, countering all forms of bureaucracy. He said "A great revolution requires a great party and many first-rate cadres to guide it.... To attain this aim, inner-party democracy is essential. If we are to make the party strong, we must practise democratic centralism to stimulate the initiative of the whole membership....Let us give scope to the initiative of the whole party membership, and so train new cadres in great numbers, eliminate the remnants of sectarianism, and unite the party as solidly as steel."

In the Maoist method of party organisation he opposed suppression of incorrect views within the party. He maintained that if you do not let others speak out, correct views cannot be expressed and incorrect views cannot be criticised and made right.... he thereby opposed the "patriarchal style of work" within the party. Unity, he said, is to be achieved through struggle, not through party dictates. Without struggle there is no unity. To achieve party unity on the basis of the principle of democratic centralism, it is necessary to use the method of criticism and self-criticism and carry out active ideological struggle. Covering up contradictions, rejecting struggle to keep on good terms, would, he said, corrode unity and undermine cohesion. He maintained that through constant criticism and self-criticism and by correcting mistaken ideas, can the party integrate the upholding of unity with the perseverance in principle, and continually attain higher unity on a new basis.

In order to promote this proletarian style of functioning Mao wrote numerous articles. The essence from these articles comprise the principles for building a party of a new type. Besides, Mao actively promoted the method of collective leadership against individual domination over committees. This was sought to be introduced within the party through systematic functioning that allowed for a dialectical relationship between leadership and cadres. This was detailedly outlined in a number of articles like : Some questions concerning methods of leadership (1943); On strengthening the party committee system; On setting up a system of Reports (1948); Method of work of party committees (March 1949) etc.

Besides, the key to a thoroughly Bolshevised party was seen in the concrete manifestation of its political line and the ideological depth of the party, reflected in the creative implementation of that political line. As Mao said : "for 18 years, the building and bolshevisation of the party have been closely linked with its political line, with the correct or incorrect handling of the questions of the united front and armed struggle... or conversely, the more bolshevised the party, the more correctly can it decide upon its political line and handle the question of united front and armed struggle." Today, this approach is particularly significant as some communist forces tend to measure the ‘purity’ of parties based on some abstract analysis of its ‘political line’ or ‘mode of thinking’ divorced from its application to concrete revolutionary practice.

So today, any communist party can act as the true vanguard of the proletariat in any country by implementing not only the Leninist principles of party organisation, but by building a party of a new type that incorporates all of Mao principles to party functioning.

(E) Continuing the Revolution Under the Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Mao’s greatest contribution to the development of Marxism-Leninism was his theory of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. In doing so he put forward a ‘critique of Soviet economy’ and was able to learn from the negative experiences of the Soviet Union. He more scientifically put forward the laws of development under socialism. He more concretely put forward the dialectical relationship between the economic base and the superstructure, and the important role the latter plays in allowing the transformation of the former. He put forward the nature of the principal contradiction during the entire period of socialist construction. And, most importantly, he discovered the form for continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat, in the historic Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR).

Mao, right at the beginning pointed out that the principal contradiction during the period of socialist construction is that between the working-class and the bourgeoisie. And at a time when Khrushchev was talking of the dying out of class struggle and Liu Shao-chi was putting forward the theory of productive forces, Mao said that "class struggle is the key link and everything else hinges on it." Besides, until the GPCR, it was always considered that the bourgeoisie engendered continuously by petti-production, lay outside the party. It was Mao who, for the first time pinpointed that the headquarters of the new bourgeoisie lay in the party itself. He said, "you are making the socialist revolution, and yet don’t know where the bourgeoisie is. It is right in the Communist Party — those in power taking the capitalist road."

The question before the CPC was to solve the main problems of socialist construction. The first problem lay in the step by step transformation of the ownership of the means of production by the whole people — i.e., socialist ownership. But as this was achieved (even partially) and the productive forces advanced, a gap developed between the advanced productive forces and the backward production relations. Unless the production relations were further revolutionised, these would act as fetters to the further development of the productive forces. But to revolutionise the production relations and get the masses to accept socialist relationships in the communes, in the factories, in the universities, in the government, in the army and even in the home — required continuous revolutionisation in the superstructure. This required : removal of the vestiges and persisting influence of the old exploiting classes; solving the contradictions between the working class and the peasantry, town and countryside, and mental and physical labour; tackling the spontaneous generation of the bourgeoisie by petty commodity production; and changing the force of old habits and customs. In order to do this it was necessary to restrict bourgeois right and curb the ‘law of value’. This was sought to be achieved initially by various campaigns — like the anti-3 evils, anti 6-evils campaign, the socialist education movements, etc. Finally, Mao discovered the form, in the GPCR.

While explaining the aims of the Cultural Revolution (to an Albanian military delegation) Mao said "struggling against the capitalist roaders is the principal task, but in no way is it the goal. The goal is to resolve the problem of world outlook; it is the question of pulling up the roots of revisionism.... The CC has emphasised many times that the masses must educate and liberate themselves, the world-view cannot be imposed on them. To transform ideology it is necessary that external causes work through internal causes, although these latter are principal. What would victory in the Cultural Revolution be if it did not transform world outlook? If the world-view is not transformed the 2000 capitalist roaders of today will become 4,000 the next time."

That is why during the Cultural Revolution not only were capitalist roaders in positions of authority vehemently attacked, enormous transformations were attempted in the production relations : in factories, managers and technocrats were replaced by factory committees, and bonuses, prizes and other material incentives scrapped; in the rural areas, the free market was discouraged, garden private plots were gradually brought into the commune, side-business was discouraged, and the policy of ‘work points in command’ was fought against; in education, preference was given to working class students, privileges to children of party bosses discouraged, the authority of the ‘professor-despots’ smashed, and manual labour and practical experience was emphasised; in health, its elitist bias was removed and the ‘barefoot doctor’ scheme was developed; in commune life socialisation was encouraged, thereby freeing women from household chores, community care for the aged and children developed, and disease reduced through public hygiene programmes and better nutrition. These new socialist relations were opposed tooth-and-nail by the capitalist roaders, who sought to sabotage the process by tempting a section of the people with material incentives and by private gains through the market.

Mao worked out the methods to restrict bourgeois right, and the forms to bridge the gap that continuously develops between the productive forces and the relations of production. This was done by frowning upon the various privileges usurped by top party persons and government officials, opposing commandism and bureaucracy and reducing the gap between mental and manual labour by encouraging greater involvement in production of intellectuals, officials, party leaders and army officials.

Mao profoundly criticised the revisionist theory of productive forces and concluded that the superstructure, consciousness can play an important role in transforming the economic base. This was expressed through his slogan "Grasp revolution, promote production." This principle dialectically handles the relationship between revolution and production, consciousness and matter and the superstructure and the economic base. By "keeping politics in command" Mao sought to maintain a proper balance between the growth of the productive forces and the development of the production relations.

So we find that the experience of socialist construction in China and Mao’s theories that guided it are an invaluable storehouse of knowledge for all future revolutions. Many revolutions did not even attempt to take on the bitter struggle necessary to develop socialism. So the Vietnamese, North Korean, Cuban revolutions ‘peacefully’ drifted into state capitalist systems linked, to different degrees, with Soviet social imperialism. The contrast, is a lesson before all communists. To negate the experiences of the Chinese revolution in the period of socialist construction, will inevitably result in the dominance of revisionism and the spontaneous growth towards a bourgeois economy.

Chinese Revolution – In Perspective

The two most earth-shaking events of this century have been the Russian and the Chinese revolutions. The first drew on the experience of the Paris Commune, the second on the experience of the Russian revolution. Quite naturally, any communist today must draw on both experiences. Both revolutions have refined, enriched and developed Marxist theory. The Chinese revolution has given us Mao Tsetung Thought or Maoism, which is the most highly developed form of Marxism yet achieved. No doubt, future successful revolutions will enrich this theory still further. But, as of today, Maoism provides the communists throughout the world, the most advanced ideological and political theory for chalking out a bright future for mankind.

The reversal in China was no doubt a deep blow and serious setback to the international communist movement. Ofcourse, Mao had warned a number of times at the possibility of such a reversal. In fact, in the early 1960s when the revisionists were strongly entrenched in the party, Mao had threatened to go back to Chingkang to launch a new guerilla war. The GPCR temporarily prevented that necessity. With the 1976 coup d’etat the compulsion for such a new people’s war did, ofcourse, arise. The causes for this reversal will no doubt be there. Some are apparent, others have to be discovered by in depth study.... and lessons drawn.

Anyhow, communists of today stand more enriched than that of their predecessors. Not only have the experiences of the Russian and Chinese revolutions given them a highly developed theory; the reversal, particularly that in China, have alerted all serious communists of the dangers of the pernicious role of revisionism.... and the need to counter all its varied manifestations, and eradicate it from its very roots. No party is free from this threat, and the best inoculation to ward off such an eventuality is to creatively apply Maoist principles to all aspects of party life and policy.

No doubt in China, the oppressed masses will once again return to Chingkang mountains, tear off the socialist mask from the ugly faces of the new bourgeoisie, and once again take to people’s war. Meanwhile, the Chinese revolution lives on, in the hearts of all genuine revolutionaries throughout the world, and Maoism acts as their guide to a new future.



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