II. On the Course of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution is a great political revolution personally initiated and led by our great leader Chairman Mao under the conditions of the dictatorship of the proletariat, a great revolution in the realm of the superstructure. Our aim is to smash revisionism, seize back that portion of power usurped by the bourgeoisie, exercise all-round dictatorship of the proletariat in the superstructure, including all spheres of culture, and strengthen and consolidate the economic base of socialism so as to ensure that our country continues to advance in giant strides along the road of socialism.
Back in 1962, at the Tenth Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee of the Party, Chairman Mao pointed out:
To overthrow a political power, it is always necessary first of all to create public opinion, to do work in the ideological sphere. This is true for the revolutionary class as well as for the counter-revolutionary class.
This statement of Chairman Mao's hit the Liu Shao-chi counter-revolutionary revisionist clique right on the head. It was solely for the purpose of creating public opinion to prepare for the overthrow of the dictatorship of the proletariat that they spared no effort in seizing upon the field of ideology and the superstructure, violently exercising counter-revolutionary dictatorship over the proletariat in the various departments they controlled and wildly spreading poisonous weeds. To overthrow them politically, we must likewise first vanquish their counter-revolutionary public opinion by revolutionary public opinion.
Chairman Mao has always attached major importance to the struggle in ideology. After the liberation of our country, he initiated on different occasions the criticism of the film The Life of Wu Hsun, the Hu Feng counter-revolutionary clique, Studies of "The Dream of the Red Chamber", etc. And this time it was Chairman Mao again who led the whole Party in launching the offensive on the bourgeois positions occupied by Liu Shao-chi and his gang. Chairman Mao wrote the celebrated essay Where Do Correct Ideas Come From? and other documents, in which he criticized Liu Shao-chi's bourgeois idealism and metaphysics, criticized the departments of literature and art under Liu Shao-chi's control as being "still dominated by 'the dead' ", criticized the Ministry of Culture by saying that "if it refuses to change, it should be renamed the Ministry of Emperors, Kings, Generals and Prime Ministers, the Ministry of Scholars and Beauties or the Ministry of Foreign Mummies" and said that the Ministry of Health should likewise be renamed the "Ministry of Health for Urban Overlords". At the call of Chairman Mao, the proletariat first launched a revolution in the spheres of Peking Opera, the ballet and symphonic music, spheres that had been regarded as sacred and inviolable by the landlord and capitalist classes. It was a fight at close quarters. Despite every possible kind of resistance and sabotage by Liu Shao-chi and his gang, the proletariat finally scored important successes after arduous struggles. A number of splendid model revolutionary theatrical works came into being and the heroic images of the workers, peasants and soldiers finally rose aloft on the stage. After that, Chairman Mao initiated the criticism of Hai Jui Dismissed From Office and other poisonous weeds, focusing the attack right on the den of the revisionist clique-that impenetrable and watertight "independent kingdom" under Liu Shao-chi's control, the old Peking Municipal Party Committee.
The Circular of May 16, 1966 worked out under Chairman Mao's personal guidance laid down the theory, line, principles and policies for the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and constituted the great programme for the whole movement. The Circular thoroughly criticized the "February Outline" turned out by Liu Shao-chi's bourgeois headquarters for the purpose of suppressing this great revolution. It called upon the whole Party and the whole nation to direct the spearhead of struggle against the representatives of the bourgeoisie who had sneaked into the Party and to pay special attention to unmasking "persons like Khrushchov . . . who are still nestling beside us". This was a great call mobilizing the people of the whole country to unfold a great political revolution. The Cultural Revolution Group Under the Central Committee, which was set up by decision of the Circular, has firmly carried out Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line.
Under the guidance of Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line, the broad revolutionary masses plunged into the fight. In Peking University a big-character poster was written in response to the call of the Central Committee. And soon big-character posters criticizing reactionary bourgeois ideas mushroomed all over the country. Then Red Guards rose and came forward in large numbers and revolutionary young people became courageous and daring pathbreakers. Thrown into a panic, the Liu Shao-chi clique hastily hurled forth the bourgeois reactionary line, cruelly suppressing the revolutionary movement of the student youth. However, this did not win them much time in their death-bed struggle. Chairman Mao called and presided over the Eleventh Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee of the Party. The Plenary Session adopted the programmatic document, Decision of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party Concerning the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (i.e., the 16-Point Decision). Chairman Mao put up his big-character poster Bombard the Headquarters, thus taking the lid off Liu Shao-chi's bourgeois headquarters. In his letter to the Red Guards, Chairman Mao said that the revolutionary actions of the Red Guards
express your wrath against and your denunciation of the landlord class, the bourgeoisie, the imperialists, the revisionists and their running dogs, all of whom exploit and oppress the workers, peasants, revolutionary intellectuals and revolutionary parties and groups. They show that it is right to rebel against reactionaries. I warmly support you.
Afterwards, Chairman Mao received 13 million Red Guards and other revolutionary masses from all parts of the country on eight occasions at Tien An Men in the capital, which heightened the revolutionary fighting will of the people of the whole country. The revolutionary movements of the workers, peasants and revolutionary functionaries developed rapidly. Increasing numbers of big-character posters spread like raging prairie fire and roared like guns; the slogan "It is right to rebel against reactionaries" resounded throughout the land. And the battle of the hundreds of millions of the people to bombard Liu Shao-chi's bourgeois headquarters developed vigorously.
No reactionary class will ever step down from the stage of history of its own accord. When the revolution touched that portion of power usurped by the bourgeoisie, the class struggle became all the more acute. After Liu Shao-chi's downfall, his revisionist clique and his agents in various places changed their tactics time and again, putting forward slogans which were "Left" in form but Right in essence such as "suspecting all" and "overthrowing all", in a futile attempt to go on hitting hard at the many and protecting their own handful. Moreover, they created splits among the revolutionary masses and manipulated and hoodwinked a section of the masses so as to protect themselves. When these schemes were shattered by the proletarian revolutionaries, they launched another frenzied counter-attack, and that is the adverse current lasting from the winter of 1966 to the spring of 1967.
This adverse current was directed against the proletarian headquarters headed by Chairman Mao. Its general programme boiled down to this: to overthrow the decisions adopted by the Eleventh Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee of the Party, reversing the verdict on the overthrown bourgeois headquarters headed by Liu Shao-chi, reversing the verdict on the bourgeois reactionary line, which had already been thoroughly repudiated and discredited by the broad masses, and repressing and retaliating on the revolutionary mass movement. However, this adverse current was seriously criticized by Chairman Mao and resisted by the broad revolutionary masses; it could not prevent the main current of the revolutionary mass movement from surging forward.
The twists and reversals in the revolutionary movement further brought home to the broad masses the importance of political power: the main reason why Liu Shao-chi and his gang could do evil was that they had usurped the power of the proletariat in many units and localities and the main reason why the revolutionary masses were repressed was that power was not in the hands of the proletariat in those places. In some units, the socialist system of ownership existed only in form, but in reality the leadership had been usurped by a handful of renegades, enemy agents, and capitalist-roaders in power, or it remained in the hands of former capitalists. Especially when the capitalist-roaders in power whipped up the evil counterrevolutionary wind of economism after failing in their scheme to suppress the revolution on the pretext of "grasping production", the broad masses came to understand still better that only by recapturing the lost power was it possible for them to defeat the capitalist-roaders in power completely. Under the leadership and with the support of Chairman Mao and the proletarian headquarters headed by him, the working class in Shanghai with its revolutionary tradition came forward courageously and, uniting with the broad revolutionary masses and revolutionary cadres, seized power from below in January 1967 from the capitalist-roaders in power in the former Municipal Party Committee and Municipal People's Council.
Chairman Mao summed up in good time the experience of the January storm of revolution in Shanghai and issued his call to the whole nation: "Proletarian revolutionaries, unite and seize power from the handful of Party persons in power taking the capitalist road!" Following that, Chairman Mao gave the instruction: "The People's Liberation Army should support the broad masses of the Left." He went on to sum up the experience of Heilungkiang Province and other provinces and municipalities and laid down the principles and policies for the establishment of the revolutionary committee which embraces representatives of the revolutionary cadres, representatives of the People's Liberation Army and representatives of the revolutionary masses, constituting a revolutionary three-in-one combination, thus pushing forward the nation-wide struggle for the seizure of power.
The struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie for the seizure and counter-seizure of power was a life-and-death struggle. During the one year and nine months from Shanghai's January storm of revolution in 1967 to the establishment of the revolutionary committees of Tibet and Sinkiang in September 1968, repeated trials of political strength took place between the two classes and the two lines, fierce struggles went on between proletarian and non-proletarian ideas and an extremely complicated situation emerged. As Chairman Mao has said:
In the past, we fought north and south; it was easy to fight such wars. For the enemy was obvious. The present Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution is much more difficult than that kind of war.
The problem is that those who commit ideological errors are mixed up with those whose contradiction with us is one between ourselves and the enemy, and for a time it is hard to sort them out.
Nevertheless, relying on the wise leadership of Chairman Mao, we finally overcame this difficulty. In the summer of 1967, Chairman Mao made an inspection tour north and south of the Yangtse River and issued extremely important instructions, guiding the broad revolutionary masses to distinguish gradually the contradictions between ourselves and the enemy from those among the people and to further bring about the revolutionary great alliance and the revolutionary three-in-one combination and guiding people with petty-bourgeois ideas onto the path of the proletarian revolution. Consequently, it was only the enemy who was thrown into disorder while the broad masses were steeled in the course of the struggle.
The handful of renegades, enemy agents, unreformed landlords, rich peasants, counter-revolutionaries, bad elements and rightists, active counterrevolutionaries, bourgeois careerists and double-dealers who had hidden themselves among the masses would not reveal their colours until the climate suited them. In the summer of 1967 and the spring of 1968, they again fanned up a reactionary evil wind to reverse correct verdicts both from the Right and the extreme "Left". They directed their spearhead against the proletarian headquarters headed by Chairman Mao, against the People's Liberation Army and against the new-born revolutionary committees. In the meantime, they incited the masses to struggle against each other and organized counter-revolutionary conspiratorial cliques in a vain attempt to stage a counter-seizure of power from the proletariat. However, like their chieftain Liu Shao-chi, this handful of bad people was finally exposed. This was an important victory for the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.