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 Chapter  XIV

The Party

Marx and Engels on the Working Class Party

The Party of a New Type

Democratic Centralism


Two-Line Struggle


The concept of a working class party capable of providing leadership to revolution, took shape during the time of Marx and Engels; it underwent continuous development in the course of Paris Commune, Russian and Chinese revolution and other revolutions; and took qualitative leaps during the times of Lenin and Mao. It was mainly in the fight against the opportunist trends in the international communist movements (both left and right) that Marx, Lenin and Mao developed and enriched the concept of the communist party.

Marx and Engels on the Working Class Party

In the initial period when the working class was a weak political force, Marx and Engels concentrated mainly on uniting the various dispersed working class forces and forming an independent working class party independent of the parties of other classes. Thus the Communist Manifesto proclaimed,

"The Communists do not form a separate party opposed to other working-class parties.

"They have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole." 159

The rules of the First International founded by Marx stated,

"The working class can act as a class only by establishing a distinct political party, opposed to all the old parties formed by the possessing classes." 160

Thus the founders of Marxism, primarily had the task of the ‘formation of the proletariat into a class’, of fusing Marxism with the proletariat, of the formation of a party with ‘no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole’.

It was according to these considerations therefore that the Provisional Rules, or Constitution of the First International began "with a preamble calling for organisation, as follows:

"‘That the emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves; that the struggle for the emancipation of the working classes means not a struggle for class privileges and monopolies, but for the equal rights and duties, and the abolition of all class rule;

"‘That the economical subjection of the man of labour to the monopolizer of the means of labour, that is, the source of life, lies at the bottom of servitude in all its forms, of all social misery, mental degradation, and political dependence;

"‘That the economical emancipation of the working classes is therefore the great end to which every political movement ought to be subordinated as a means;

"‘That all efforts aiming at that great end have hitherto failed for the want of solidarity between the manifold divisions of labour in each country, and from the absence of a fraternal bond of union between the working classes of different countries;

"‘That the emancipation of labour is neither a local nor a national, but a social problem, embracing all countries in which modern society exists, and depending for its solution on the concurrence, practical and theoretical, of the most advanced countries;

"‘That the present revival of the working classes in the most industrious countries of Europe, while it raises a new hope, gives solemn warning against a relapse into the old errors and calls for the immediate combination of the still disconnected movements.’" 161

Thus the prime organisational considerations of Marx and Engels at that period were the ‘want of solidarity’ between the ‘still disconnected movements’ and therefore the need to unite them at the national and international level.

However, from the very beginning, they put forward, in a preliminary form, the concepts of the Communists as the vanguard, as the advanced detachment of the proletariat. The Communist Manifesto therefore stated,

"The Communists, therefore, are on the one hand, practically, the most advanced and resolute section of the working-class parties of every country, that section which pushes forward all others; on the other hand, theoretically, they have over the great mass of the proletariat the advantage of clearly understanding the line of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement." 159

It was Marx who drew the Inaugural Address and Provisional Rules, the first programme and constitution of The First International.

A continuous struggle had to be waged against various wrong trends in the International which grew stronger during 1860s. Sections of the International were created in several countries of Western Europe. As noted by Marx himself, "The International was founded in order to replace the socialist or semi-socialist sects by real organisation of the working class for struggle. . . . The history of the international was a continual struggle of the General Council against the sects and against amateur experiments, which sought to assert themselves within the International against the real movement of the working class." (Quoted in Foster William Z., History of the Three Internationals, p. 45)

The major trends against which Marx and Engels had to wage a constant and bitter struggle were : Anarchism led by Bakunin and other leaders who claimed adherence to Proudhan; Blanquist trend led by Luis Blanqui, the French working class leader, which relied more on conspiratorial methods. All these took active part in the Paris Commune of 1871, but most of these trends deteriorated or the active elements went over to Marxism convinced by the brilliant analysis put forth by Marx regarding the reasons for the Commune's failure.

The Party of a New Type

Due to the efforts of Marx and Engels working class parties accepting a Marxist ideological basis were formed in most capitalist countries by the turn of the century. However these parties which grew in the relatively peaceful period following the Paris Commune developed various wrong trends particularly in the period of the ascendancy of the opportunists within the Second International. These parties were oriented basically towards parliamentary struggle. As Stalin describes them, they were "unfit for the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat, that they (were) not militant parties of the proletariat, leading the workers to power, but election machines adapted for parliamentary elections and parliamentary struggle. ..the party at that time was really an appendage and subsidiary of the parliamentary group...under such circumstances and with such a party at the helm there could be no question of preparing the proletariat for revolution." 162

Further, matters changed radically with the dawn of imperialism and with intense revolutionary struggles. "The new period is one of open class collisions, of revolutionary action by the proletariat, of proletarian revolution, a period when forces are being directly mustered for the overthrow of imperialism and the seizure of power by the proletariat. In this period the proletariat is confronted with new tasks, the tasks of reorganising all party work on new, revolutionary lines; of educating the workers in the spirit of revolutionary struggle for power; of preparing and moving up reserves; of establishing an alliance with the proletarians of neighbouring countries; of establishing firm ties with liberation movement in the colonies and dependent countries, etc. etc. To think that these new tasks can be performed by the old Social-Democratic Parties, brought up as they were in the peaceful conditions of parliamentarism, is to doom oneself to hopeless despair, to inevitable defeat. If, with such tasks to shoulder, the proletariat remained under the leadership of the old parties, it would be completely unarmed. ...

"Hence the necessity for a new party, a militant party, a revolutionary party, one bold enough to lead the proletarians in the struggle for power, sufficiently experienced to find its bearings amidst the complex conditions of a revolutionary situation, and sufficiently flexible to steer clear of all submerged rocks in the path to its goal.

"Without such a party it is useless even to think of overthrowing imperialism, of achieving the dictatorship of the proletariat.

"This new party is the party of Leninism." 162

Stalin also outlined the specific features of the party of a new type:

"1) The Party [is] the advanced detachment of the working class." This means, that "The Party is the political leader of the working class", it is "the General Staff of the proletariat", and also that it "is an inseparable part of the working class."

"2) The Party [is] the organised detachment of the working class." This means that "the Party is not merely the sum total of Party organisations." It "is at the same time a single system of these organisations, their formal union into a single whole, with higher and lower leading bodies, with subordination of the minority to the majority, with practical decisions binding on all members of the Party."

"3) The Party [is] the highest form of class organisation of the proletariat.. This does not mean, of course, that non-Party organisations, trade unions, co-operatives, etc., should be officially subordinated to the Party leadership. It only means that the members of the Party who belong to these organisations and are doubtlessly influential in them should do all they can to persuade these non-Party organisations to draw nearer to the Party of the proletariat in their work and voluntarily accept its political leadership."

"4) The Party [is] an instrument of the dictatorship of the proletariat. ..the proletariat needs the Party not only to achieve the dictatorship; it needs it still more to maintain the dictatorship, to consolidate and expand it in order to achieve the complete victory of socialism....But from this it follows that when classes disappear and the dictatorship of the proletariat withers away, the Party also will wither away."

"5) The Party [is] the embodiment of unity of will, unity incompatible with the existence of factions."

"6) The Party becomes strong by purging itself of opportunist elements." 163

Such a new type of Party, Lenin insisted would have to be based on a solid core of professional revolutionaries. His words:

"I assert: (1) that no revolutionary movement can endure without a stable organisation of leaders maintaining continuity; (2) that the broader the popular mass drawn spontaneously into the struggle, forming the basis of the movement and participating in it, the greater the need for such an organisation and the more solid it must be ...; (3) that the organisation must consist chiefly of people professionally engaged in revolutionary activity; (4) that in an autocratic state, the more we confine membership of such an organisation to professional revolutionaries trained in the art of combating the political police, the more difficult it will be to unearth the organisation and (5) the greater the number of people from the working class and other social classes who will be able to join the movement and work actively in it." 164

The party of a new type as expounded above by Stalin was developed by Lenin in the course of struggle against the opportunism of the Second International, against the peaceful evolutionary theories put forth by Bernstein, Martov, Woolmar Jaures, Mac Donald and other so-called leaders of Social Democracy and labour movements, who only advocated the formation of legal parties and opposed the need to form secret and militant revolutionary parties fit enough to overthrow the exploiting ruling classes and seige political power.

Lenin's Where to begin? (1901) and What is to be done? (1902) laid out an elaborate plan for building a revolutionary party and laid bare the roots of the opportunist philosophy of the Economists that sought to make the working class an apendage of the bourgeoisie.

The debate of the Economists was followed by the emergence of the new opportunist trend of Menshivism against which Lenin had to wage a bitter battle from the time of the Second Party Congress in 1903. The struggle on the formulation of party rules was an important struggle at the Congress. While Martov, Axelrod, Trotsky and others were for a loose and amorphous party by argueing that party membership should be given to any one who accepts the party programme, and pays his or her financial obligations, although he or she is not willing to be a member of a party unit i.e. abiding the constitution and carrying out the responsibilities entrusted by the party. Lenin, in his famous work One Step Forward, Two Steps Backward written in 1904, thoroughly exposed the Menshevik principles of party organisation and laid the theoretical basis for the building of a revolutionary proletarian party. The organisational principles expounded in this work later became the organisational foundation of the Bolshevik Party and the parties of the new type.

Democratic Centralism

The organisational structure of the Communist Party is built on the principles of democratic centralism. Lenin explained the theoretical basis for this understanding in the following manner:

"We have already more than once enunciated our theoretical views on the importance of discipline and how this concept is to be understood in the party of the working class. We defined it as unity of action, freedom of discussion and criticism. Only such discipline is worthy of the democratic party of the advanced class. The strength of the working class lies in organisation. Unless the masses are organised, the proletariat is nothing. Organisation — it is everything. Organisation means unity of action, unity in practical operations... Therefore the proletariat does not recognise unity of action without freedom to discuss and criticise." 165

Thus when Lenin, in 1920, drafted the conditions of admission to the Third International, he included the condition that, "Parties belonging to the Communist International must be based on the principle of democratic centralism." 166

In 1921, the Third Congress in its theses on the organisation and structure of the Communist Party, explained democratic centralism as follows:

"Democratic centralisation in the Communist Party organisation must be a real synthesis, a fusion of centralism and proletarian democracy. This fusion can be achieved only on the basis of constant activity, constant common struggle of the entire Party organisation. Centralisation in the Communist Party organisation does not mean formal and mechanical centralisation but a centralisation of Communist activities, that is to say, the formation of a strong leadership, ready for war and at the same time capable of adaptability..

"In the organisation of the old, non-revolutionary labour movement, there has developed an all-pervading dualism of the same nature as that of the bourgeois state, namely, the dualism between the bureaucracy and the ‘people’. Under this baneful influence of bourgeois environment there has developed a separation of functions, a substitution of barren formal democracy for the living association of common endeavour and the splitting up of the organisation into active functionaries and passive masses. Even the revolutionary labour movement inevitably inherits this tendency to dualism and formalism to a certain extent from the bourgeois environment.

"The Communist Party must fundamentally overcome these contrasts by systematic and persevering political and organising work and by constant improvement and revision.

"..... Centralisation should not merely exist on paper. But be actually carried out, and this is possible of achievement only when the members at large will feel this authority as a fundamentally efficient instrument in their common activity and struggle. Otherwise, it will appear to the masses as a bureaucracy within the Party and, therefore, likely to stimulate opposition to all centralisation, to all leadership, to all stringent discipline. Anarchism is the opposite pole of bureaucracy.

"Merely formal democracy in the organisation cannot remove either bureaucratic or anarchical tendencies, which have found fertile soil on the basis of just that democracy. Therefore, the centralisation of the organisation, i.e., the aim to create a strong leadership, cannot be successful if its achievement is sought on the basis of formal democracy. The necessary preliminary conditions are the development and maintenance of living associations and mutual relations within the Party between the directing organs and members, as well between the Party and the masses of the proletariat outside the Party." 167

Thus the Third International placed the greatest importance on real, and not formal democracy, as the basis for the correct implementation of democratic centralism. However in practice there were often serious deviations in many Communist Parties.

Mao, while fighting against such deviations within the CPC, made a dialectical presentation of the understanding of democratic centralism, that was a significant contribution to the Marxist theory of organisational principles. In a talk given in 1962, Mao said:

"I said in 1957 that we should create ‘a political situation in which we have both unity of will and personal ease of mind and liveliness.’ We should create such a political situation both inside and outside the Party. Otherwise it will be impossible to arouse the enthusiasm of the masses. We cannot overcome difficulties without democracy. Of course, it is even more impossible to do so without centralism. But if there’s no democracy there won’t be any centralism.

"Without democracy there can’t be correct centralism because centralism can’t be established when people have divergent views and don’t have unity of understanding. What is meant by centralism? First, there must be concentration of correct ideas. Unity of understanding, of policy, plan, command and action is attained on the basis of concentrating correct ideas. This is unity through centralism. But if all those concerned are still not clear about the problems, if their opinions are still unexpressed or their anger is still not vented, how can you achieve this unity through centralism? Without democracy, it is impossible to sum up experience correctly. Without democracy, without ideas coming from the masses, it is impossible to formulate good lines, principles, policies or methods.

"Our centralism is centralism built on the foundation of democracy. Proletarian centralism is centralism with a broad democratic base. The Party committees at all levels are the organs which exercise centralised leadership. But leadership by the Party committee means collective leadership, not arbitrary decision by the first secretary alone. Within Party committees, democratic centralism alone should be practised. The relationship between the first secretary and the other secretaries and committee members is one of the minority being subordinate to the majority. Take the Standing committee or the Political Bureau of the Central Committee by way of example. It often happens that when I say something, regardless of whether it is correct or incorrect, if the others don’t agree, I must accede to their opinion because they are the majority...

"Unless we fully promote people’s democracy and inner-Party democracy and unless we fully implement proletarian democracy, it will be impossible for China to have true proletarian centralism. Without a high degree of democracy it is impossible to have a high degree of centralism and without a high degree of centralism it is impossible to establish a socialist economy. And what will happen to our country if we fail to establish a socialist economy? It will turn into a revisionist state, indeed a bourgeois state, and the dictatorship of the proletariat will turn into a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, and a reactionary, fascist dictatorship at that. This is a question which very much deserves our vigilance and I hope our comrades will give it a good deal of thought.

"Without democratic centralism, the dictatorship of the proletariat cannot be consolidated. To practise democracy among the people and to exercise dictatorship over the enemies of the people-these two aspects are not to be separated. ... . Without broad democracy for the people, it is impossible for the dictatorship of the proletariat to be consolidated or for political power to be stable. Without democracy, without arousing the masses and without supervision by the masses, it is impossible to exercise effective dictatorship over the reactionaries and bad elements or to remould them effectively; they will continue to make trouble and may stage a comeback. We must be vigilant on this question and I hope comrades will give it a good deal of thought too." 168

Thus in the dialectical relationship between democracy and centralism, Mao showed that the correct method was ‘first democracy, then centralism’. He also showed the crucial importance of democratic centralism both inside and outside the party. He showed how correct democratic centralism was essential for the consolidation of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and, therefore, the establishment of socialism and the prevention of the restoration of capitalism.


Marxism has always stressed the absolute necessity of the Party’s close links with the masses.This was stressed by Marx and Engels and one of the essential features of the Leninist party. Thus the History of the CPSU (B) concludes by drawing a historic lesson of the utmost need for close connections with the masses:

"Lastly, the history of the Party teaches us that unless it has wide connections with the masses, unless it constantly strengthens these connections, unless it knows how to hearken to the voice of the masses and understand their urgent needs, unless it is prepared not only to teach the masses but to learn from the masses, a party of the working class cannot be a real mass party capable of leading the working class millions and all the labouring people.

"A party is invincible if it is able, as Lenin says, ‘to link itself with, to keep in close touch with, and to a certain extent if you like, to merge with the broadest masses of the toilers, primarily with the proletariat, but also with the non-proletarian toiling masses.’ (Lenin, Collected Works, Russ, ed., Vol. XXV, p. 174.)

"A party perishes if it shuts itself up in its narrow party shell, if it severs itself from the masses, if it allows itself to be covered with bureaucratic rust.

"‘We must take it as the rule,’ Comrade Stalin says, ‘that as long as the Bolsheviks maintain connection with the broad masses of the people they will be invincible. And, on the contrary, as soon as the Bolsheviks sever themselves from the masses and lose their connection with them, as soon as they become covered with bureaucratic rust, they will lose all their strength and become a mere cipher....

"‘I think that the Bolsheviks remind us of the hero of Greek mythology, Antaeus. They, like Antaeus, are strong because they maintain connection with their mother, the masses, who gave birth to them, suckled them and reared them. And as long as they maintain connection with their mother, with the people, they have every chance of remaining invincible.

"‘That is the clue to the invincibility of Bolshevik leadership.’ (J. Stalin, Defects in Party Work.)" 169

Mao, starting from these basic standpoints, developed the concept of mass-line to a qualitatively new level. At the philosophical level he showed how it was an essential aspect of the Marxist theory of knowledge. At the political and organisational levels, he showed how it was the correct political line and also how it was the essential organisational line of inner-party relations.

"In all the practical work of our Party, all correct leadership is necessarily ‘from the masses, to the masses’. This means: take the ideas of the masses (scattered and unsystematic ideas) and concentrate them (through study turn them into concentrated and systematic ideas), then go to the masses and propagate and explain these ideas until the masses embrace them as their own, hold fast to them and translate them into action, and test the correctness of these ideas in such action. Then once again concentrate ideas from the masses and once again go to the masses so that the ideas are persevered and carried through. And so on, over and over again in an endless spiral, with the ideas becoming more correct, more vital and richer each time. Such is the Marxist theory of knowledge." 170

The 1945 CPC Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party, explains:

"As Comrade Mao Tse-tung says, the correct line should be ‘from the masses, to the masses’. To ensure that the line really comes from the masses and particular that it really goes back to the masses, there must be close ties not only between the Party and the masses outside the Party (between the class and the people), but above all between the Party’s leading bodies and the masses within the Party (between the cadres and the rank and the file); in other words there must be a correct organisational line. Therefore, just as in each period of the Party’s history Comrade Mao Tse-tung has laid down a political line representing the interests of the masses, so he has laid down an organisational line serving the political line and maintaining ties with the masses both inside and outside the Party." 171

"The concept of a correct relationship between the leading group and the masses in an organisation or in a struggle, the concept that correct ideas on the part of the leadership can only be ‘from the masses, to the masses’, and the concept that the general call must be combined with particular guidance when the leadership’s ideas are being put into practice — these concepts must be propagated everywhere — in order to correct the mistaken viewpoints among our cadres on these questions. Many comrades do not see the importance of, or are not good at, drawing together the activists to form a nucleus of leadership, and they do not see the importance of, or are not good at, linking this nucleus of leadership closely with the masses, and so their leadership become bureaucratic and divorced from the masses. Many comrades do not see the importance of, or are not good at, summing up the experience of mass struggles, but fancying themselves clever, are fond of voicing their subjectivist ideas, and so their ideas become empty and impractical. Many comrades rest content with making a general call with regard to a task and do not see the importance of, or are not good at, following it up immediately with a particular and concrete guidance, and so their call remais on their lips, or on paper or in the conference room, and their leadership become bureaucratic. .....we must correct these defects and learn to use the methods of combining the leadership with the particular in our study, in the check-up on work and in the examination of cadres’ histories; and we must also apply these methods in all our future work.

"Take the ideas of the masses and concentrate them, then go to the masses, persevere in the ideas and carry them through, so as to form correct ideas of leadership — such is the basic method of leadership."170

Briefly, this is the essence of Mao’s mass-line.

Two-Line Struggle

This is another aspect of the Party, regarding which Mao greatly developed Marxist understanding and theory.

The essence of Mao’s understanding followed from Leninist understanding of the unity of will of the Party. Stalin presented this understanding as follows:

".... iron discipline in the Party is inconceivable without unity of will, without complete and absolute unity of action on the part of all members of the Party. This does not mean, of course, that the possibility of conflicts of opinion within the Party is thereby precluded. On the contrary, iron discipline does not preclude but presupposes criticism and conflict of opinion within the Party. ..... But after a conflict of opinion has been closed, after criticism has been exhausted and a decision has been arrived at, unity of will and unity of action of all Party members are the necessary conditions without which neither Party unity nor iron discipline in the Party is conceivable....

". from this it follows that the existence of factions is compatible neither with the Party’s unity nor with its iron discipline." 172

Mao totally agreed with the incompatibility of factions in a proletarian party. However he presented the question in a different manner. In 1937, Mao wrote:

"... as long as classes exist, contradictions between correct and incorrect ideas in the Communist Party are reflections within the Party of class contradictions. At first, with regard to certain issues, such contradictions may not manifest themselves as antagonistic. But with the development of the class struggle, they may grow and become antagonistic. The history of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union shows us that the contradictions between the correct thinking of Lenin and Stalin and the fallacious thinking of Trotsky, Bukharin and others did not at first manifest themselves in an antagonistic form, but that later they did develop into antagonism. There are similar cases in the history of the Chinese Communist Party. At first the contradictions between the correct thinking of many of our Party comrades and the fallacious thinking of Chen Tu-hsiu, Chang Kuo-tao and others also did not manifest themselves in an antagonistic form, but later they did develop into antagonism. At present the contradiction between correct and incorrect thinking in our Party does not manifest itself in an antagonistic form, and if comrades who have committed mistakes can correct them, it will not develop into antagonism. Therefore, the Party must on the one hand wage a serious struggle against erroneous thinking, and on the other give the comrades who have committed errors ample opportunity to wake up. This being the case, excessive struggle is obviously inappropriate. But if the people who have committed errors persist in them and aggravate them, there is the possibility that this contradiction will develop into antagonism." 173

Thus Mao’s approach, based on dialectical materialism was to see incorrect opinions within the Communist Party as the reflection of alien classes in society. Thus as long as the class struggle continued in society there was bound to be its reflection in the ideological struggle within the Party. His approach towards these contradictions too was different. He saw them as non-antagonistic contradictions initially which through ‘serious struggle’ we should try to rectify. We should give ample opportunity to rectify and only if the people committing errors ‘persist’ or ‘aggravate them’, then there was the possibility of the contradiction becoming antagonistic.

This was a correction of Stalin’s presentation which saw, "The theory of ‘defeating’ opportunist elements by ideological struggle within the Party, the theory of ‘overcoming’ these elements within the confines of a single party, is a rotten and dangerous theory, which threatens to condemn the Party to paralysis and chronic infirmity,.. Our Party succeeded in achieving internal unity and unexampled cohesion of its ranks primarily because it was able in good time to purge itself of the opportunist pollution, because it was able to rid its ranks of Liquidators and Mensheviks."174 Such a presentation refused the possibility of a non-antagonistic contradiction and treated the struggle against opportunism as an antagonistic contradiction from the very beginning.

Drawing lessons from the same historical experience, Mao presented the methods of inner-Party struggle in the following manner. In a talk at a Working Conference in 1962, he said, "All leading members of the Party must promote inner-Party democracy and let people speak out. What are the limits? One is that Party discipline must be observed, the minority being subordinate to the majority and the entire membership to the Central Committee. Another limit is that no secret faction must be organised. We are not afraid of open opponents, we are only afraid of secret opponents. Such people do not speak the truth to your face, what they say is only lies and deciet. They don’t express their real intention. As long as a person doesn’t violate discipline and doesn’t engage in secret factional activities, we should allow him to speak out and shouldn’t punish him if he says wrong things. If people say wrong things, they can be criticised, but we should convince them with reason. What if they are still not convinced? As long as they abide by the resolutions and the decisions taken by the majority, the minority can reserve their opinions."175

It was thus according to this understanding that even during the Cultural Revolution, in October 1966, Mao suggested that even the chief capitalist roaders like Liu Shao-chi and Teng Hsiao-ping should be allowed to reform themselves. He said, "Liu and Teng acted openly, not in secret, they were not like P’eng Chen. In the past Chen Tu-hsiu, Chang Kuo-tao, Wang Ming, Lo Lung-chang, Li Li-san all acted openly; that’s not so serious. ........those who are secretive will come to no good end. Those who follow the wrong line should reform, but Chen, Wang and Li did not reform.

"Cliques and factions of whatever description should be strictly excluded. The essential thing is that they should reform, that their ideas should conform, and that they should unite with us. Then things will be all right. We should allow Liu and Teng to make revolution and to reform themselves. ...... We shouldn’t condemn Liu Shao-chi out of hand. If they have made mistakes they can change, can’t they? When they have changed it will be all right. Let them pull themselves together, and throw themselves courageously into their work." 176

Mao’s understanding thus was on the clear basis that as long as class struggle existed in society there was bound to be the the class struggle in the Party, i.e., the two-line struggle. Therefore it was only correct that this struggle should be fought out openly according the principles of democratic centralism. This contrasted with Stalin’s understanding about which Mao commented in his above mentioned talk, "In 1936 Stalin talked about the elimination of class struggle, but in 1939 he carried out another purge of counter-revolutionaries. Wasn’t that class struggle too? " 177 It was clear therefore that Mao through his understanding and implementation of the concept of two-line struggle attempted to bring about a correct dialectical approach to classes, class struggle and inner-party struggle.



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