This polemic against the political line and practice of the ‘Gang of Four’ (Jiang Qing, Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan, and Wang Hongwen) during the Cultural Revolution in China is from Class Struggle (Winter, 1976-77, #6), the theoretical journal of the October League / Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist). It represents the line of Hua Guofeng, who followed Mao Zedong as the Chairman of the Communist Party of China. The document isn’t perfect, and is itself somewhat ultra-left, but it is being posted here to help look at some of the political problems of the Cultural Revolution in China:
‘Grasping Revolution, Promoting Production’
An exposure of the ‘Gang of Four’ and their attempt to restore capitalism in China
The following article, written by Jen Ping, first appeared in the Nov. 14, 1976 issue of People’s Daily, organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. Entitled “A Gang of Vermin Noxious to the Country and the People,” it deals with one of the major questions distinguishing Marxism-Leninism from revisionism, the so-called “theory of productive forces.” It exposes how the “gang of four,” the anti-party clique headed by Wang Hung-wen, Chiang Ching, Chang Chun-chiao and Yao Wen-yuan, distorted a correct understanding of this question so as to further their plot to seize power and restore capitalism in China.
Basing himself on the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism, our great leader and teacher Chairman Mao summed up the experience in the socialist revolution and socialist construction and laid down for our party the great principle of “grasping revolution, promoting production.” This principle is a scientific reflection of the dialectical relationship between revolution and production, between superstructure and the economic base, and between the relations of production and the productive forces. It shows the only correct road for the rapid advance of the national economy in the socialist direction. In order to usurp party and state power, subvert the dictatorship of the proletariat and restore capitalism, the anti-party clique of Wang Hung-wen, Chang Chun-chiao, Chiang Ching and Yao Wen-yuan did their utmost to tamper with and oppose the principle. They spread a host of fallacies and did many evils to undermine revolution and production and to endanger the country and people. The crimes they committed were outrageous.
The “gang of four” don’t know how to work a machine, grow a crop or fight a battle. They lack truth and mass support. Only by bludgeoning and labeling people did they manage to get along. They did not engage in production and opposed those who did. Should anyone talk about production or do something to promote it, they would fly into a fury and indiscriminately condemn him as a follower of the “theory of productive forces” on the pretext that he talked only about production and not about revolution. Is the effort to promote production synonymous with the “theory of productive forces”? No! The “gang of four” completely reversed right and wrong on this question in order to create confusion.
The theory of productive forces is a revisionist theory that one-sidedly exaggerates the decisive role of the productive forces, but negates the powerful reaction of the relations of production on the productive forces and that of the superstructure on the economic base. It negates taking class struggle as the key link, putting politics in command, the proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat. Chairman Mao pointed out: “Class struggle is the key link and everything else hinges on it.” “Moreover, ideology and politics are the commander, the soul.” Lenin pointed out: “Politics cannot but have precedence over economics. To argue differently means forgetting the ABC’s of Marxism.” The relationship between revolution and production represents the unity of opposites.
Of the two, revolution is the principal aspect of the contradiction and plays the leading role. It determines the line guiding the development of production and is at the same time a powerful motive force in this development. The relationship between revolution and production and between politics and economics is one between the key link and the subordinate links, between the commander and the commanded. It is wrong either to reverse this relationship or to take an eclectical attitude towards it.
CLASSES AND CLASS STRUGGLE
In the historical period of socialism, there are still classes and class struggle, and only when we persevere in taking class struggle as the key link, effectively grasp revolution and continue to readjust the inharmonious portions of the relations of production and the superstructure can we push the social productive forces forward rapidly, consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat and prevent the restoration of capitalism. While criticizing Liu Shao-chi’s counter-revolutionary revisionist line, Chairman Mao said explicitly: “Political work is the life-blood of all economic work.” We must at all times persevere in giving first place to revolution and putting proletarian politics in command.
Teng Hsiao-ping was entirely wrong he preached “taking the three directives as the key link” and stated that “white or black, so long as the cast can catch mice, they are alright.” We are opposed to the theory of productive forces at all times, past, present, or future. But this can in no way be construed as opposing promoting production. The “gang of four” deliberately confused the two different concepts and equated the theory of productive forces to the effort to promote production; they brought insolent accusations against people so that no one would dare or be able to promote production. Their criminal aim was to undermine both production and revolution.
By stressing the commanding role of revolution, we do not mean that production is unimportant, still less, do we mean it is dispensable. Marxists regard man’s activity in production as the most fundamental practical activity and material production as the basis for the subsistence and development of mankind.
Chairman Mao teaches us: “Class struggle, the struggle for production and scientific experiment are the three great revolutionary movements for building a great socialist country. These movements are a sure guarantee that communists will be free from bureaucracy and immune against revisionism and dogmatism, and will forever remain invincible. They are a reliable guarantee that the proletariat will be able to unite with the broad working masses and realize a democratic dictatorship.”
TAKE CLASS STRUGGLE AS KEY LINK
In the period of socialism, only by taking class struggle as the key link, developing production actively and building socialism successfully can we provide a solid material basis for consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat, build up a powerful national defense, support the world revolution better, improve the material and cultural life of the working people step by step, and prepare the material conditions for the gradual elimination of the three major differences, for the triumph of socialism over capitalism and the realization of the ultimate goal of communism. There, striving for the expansion of socialist production and building socialism well is a basic task of the dictatorship of the proletariat and a glorious duty of the working class and other laboring people.
The “gang of four” advocated metaphysics frantically. With ulterior motives, they opposed revolution to production, politics to economy, class struggle to the struggle for production and the dictatorship of the proletariat to socialist construction. This would not only impede the expansion of production, but inevitably undermine the great cause of the proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat. According to their logic, when “the satellites go up into the sky,” the red flag would inevitably “trail in the dust”’ if the 800 million people want to “make revolution,” they should feed themselves only with northwest wind. Is it not a monstrous insult to Marxism to pass such “theory” off as Marxism?
We the proletariat want both to keep the red flag flying from generation to generation and send satellites up into the sky; we want to ensure that our country will never change its political color and will grow prosperous and strong.
The “gang of four” asserted that “production will go up automatically when revolution is carried out well.” By this they meant to negate party leadership and throw production into chaos so that the socialist economy would “automatically” fall into an anarchist state and capitalism would be restored.
The struggle for production hinges on class struggle. To develop production, we must first of all grasp class struggle and the two-line struggle well. Facts have always shown that if revolution is not done well, production will certainly suffer and go astray. A really good job in making revolution will surely spur production. To develop socialist production, however, we must also study Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought conscientiously and strive to grasp the laws governing production and solve the contradictions arising in the course of production.
We must strengthen party leadership, rely whole-heartedly on the working class and the masses of the people, establish and improve rational rules and regulations, do a better job of economic accounting, lower production costs, increase the accumulation of funds, carry out technical innovations and technical revolution, launch socialist emulation, raise labor productivity, and so on. Economic work must be done with increasing carefulness. How can production go up automatically without an enormous amount of hard work being done and specific problems solved? Socialist production needs leadership; it must develop proportionately in a planned way and in the socialist direction.
REVISIONIST, SPLITTIST AND CONSPIRATORIAL
The “gang of four” indulged themselves in revisionist, splittist and conspiratorial activities. What they dreamed of day and night was how to usurp party and state power. They did not care a fig for the development of production or the safety of the people. After the strong earthquake in Tangshan, Chairman Mao and the party central committee showed great solicitude, and Comrade Hua Kuo-feng himself visited the quake-affected area to express sympathy for the people there. But the vicious “gang of four” said that “the earthquake affected only a few hundred square kilometers of land; it is only a matter of a few months” and, compared with their “great cause” of counter-revolutionary restoration, only a matter of minor and “partial” importance. After the Tangshan earthquake, leading comrades in charge of anti-quake and relief work pointed out that it was necessary to work well in order to insure the safety of Chairman Mao, the party central committee and the people. But the “gang of four” outrageously slandered these comrades, alleging that they “ignored politics and class struggle.” What kind of “politics” did these rascals want? Living on expensive beds designed to protect them in the event of an earthquake, they hummed such poems as “watching and waiting at ease for the mountain to fall and the earth to split” and quoted lines from an old poem “the earth turns round to herald a new world; the sky whirls for the establishment of an everlasting new regime” as an expression of their counter-revolutionary pipe dream for “ruling all the rivers and mountains” and the restoration of capitalism.
In the name of “revolution” the “gang of four” poked their nose into everything and created trouble everywhere. “Don’t be afraid to stop production or work,” they shouted, so as to undermine the national economic plan and the strategic policy of “be prepared against war, be prepared against natural disasters, and do everything for the people.” Wherever they went, they brought bourgeois factionalism and splits to undermine management of enterprises, disrupted government financial and economic policies and whipped up an evil wind of economism. They incited people to engage in beatings, smashings and robberies, supported such actions and used the reactionary slogan of “attack by reasoning but defend yourself by force” to oppose Chairman Mao’s instruction (when there is a debate) “it should be conducted by reasoning, not by coercion or force.” With their reactionary slogan, they created fightings which hit the national economy and brought serious losses in some areas. In short, the “gang of four” would be elated if they could destroy the socialist economy and topple the dictatorship of the proletariat. What sinister designs they harboured!
MASQUERADED AS HEROES
The “gang of four” are typical counter-revolutionary double-dealers. They masqueraded as heroes against “dictatorship by the ministries,” but actually tried hard to enforce a kind of dictatorship with the “gang of four” at the core. They clamored against “material incentives,” but in fact resorted to “material incentives” themselves. They abused others as advocating “slavish comprador philosophy” while they themselves worshipped things foreign, fawned on foreigners, maintained illicit foreign relationships and engaged in flagrant activities of capitulationism and national betrayal. They chanted loudly about “restricting bourgeois right” while they scrambled even more frenziedly than the capitalists for more bourgeois right. They appropriated at will the fruits of labor of the people, spent money like dirt with an unsparing hand and led a decadent and dissolute life, indulging in eating, drinking, pleasure-seeking, hunting, riding and watching old operas and vulgar films. They are out-and-out bourgeois elements sucking the blood of the workers.
Since the anti-party “gang of four” was smashed, the people in their hundreds of millions have shown unprecedented enthusiasm for socialism. The revolution is forging ahead, and production is taking on a new look. Many factories and mines have topped their production quotas every day, and their output is at an all-time high. In those places and organizations, which suffered seriously from interferences and sabotage by the “gang of four,” the situation in revolution and production has rapidly turned for the better, and the people there are determined to work most energetically to make up for the losses caused by the “gang of four.” The situation there is excellent and inspiring. All this is eloquent proof that revolution is the locomotive of history and the power motive force for the development of production.
Chairman Mao formulated for us the Marxist-Leninist principle of “grasping revolution, promoting production” and hoisted the two bright red banners of Taching and Tachai as examples for us to learn from and catch up with. We must rally most closely around the Party Central Committee headed by our wise leader Chairman Hua Kuo-feng, adhere to the party’s basic line, and penetratingly criticize and thoroughly settle accounts with the “gang of four” for their counter-revolutionary crimes.
We must uphold the general line of going all out, aiming high and achieving greater, faster, better and more economical results in building socialism, deepen the mass movements to learn from Taching in industry and learn from Tachai in agriculture, do still better in implementing the charter of the Anshan Iron and Steel Company, take the road of being both red and expert, work energetically and in high spirits to seize victories in both revolution and production and strive to fulfill or overfulfill the national economic plan.
The working class, the poor and lower-middle peasants and the masses of people of China have high aspirations and confidence and the ability to surmount difficulties and push forward the national economy at an even faster pace, and strive to further consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat, accomplish the comprehensive modernization of agriculture, industry, national defense and science and technology and build China into a powerful socialist country before the end of the century and realize the ultimate goal of communism.