3. We must put democratic life in the Party on a sounder basis and strengthen Party organization and discipline.
One of the fundamental reasons why the grievous errors of the "cultural revolution" remained unrectified for so long is that the regular political life of our Party, inner-Party democratic centralism and the collective leadership of the Central Committee in particular, had been disrupted. As a result, the personality cult, anarchism and ultra-individualism all prevailed. This afforded the Lin Biao and Jiang Qing counter-revolutionary cliques and other scoundrels an opportunity they exploited to the full. No comrade in the Party must ever forget this bitter lesson and we must all take warning from it.
We are historical materialists. We do not deny the significant role that outstanding individuals play in history or the significant role of outstanding leaders in a proletarian party. But at the same time we maintain that our Party must be placed under collective leadership to be exercised by those who combine ability with political integrity and who have emerged in the course of mass struggles, and that we must ban all forms of the personality cult. Party organizations should commend all comrades, irrespective of their rank or position, who have made special contributions and achieved outstanding results in their work, so as to encourage other Party members and people to learn from their example. But such public commendation must be truthful and unvarnished.
Appropriate relationships should be established between the leaders and the led in our Party organizations at all levels. Comrades at a lower level must respect and obey the leadership of comrades at a higher level. They must not feign compliance while actually violating or resisting instructions from the higher level. On the other hand, comrades at a higher level must heed the opinions of their subordinates, respect their functions and powers and accept their supervision. Leaders should take part in inner-Party activities just like ordinary Party members, abide by Party rules and discipline and the law of the state, and maintain their ties with the rank-and-file and the masses in general; they must not put themselves in a special category just because they are in leading positions.
Decisions concerning important matters must be made after collective discussions by the appropriate Party committee, and no one individual is allowed to have the final say. All members of a Party committee must abide by its decisions. Party committees at all levels must practise a division of labour and responsibilities to be discharged under the collective leadership of the Party committee, with each member doing his share conscientiously and responsibly and in the best and most efficient way possible.
All Party members are entitled to criticize, at Party meetings, any individuals within the Party, including leading members of the Central Committee; retaliation is impermissible. Party organizations at all levels and all Party members should give full play to their initiative and dare to work independently and conscientiously in a spirit characterized by boldness in thinking and action. But no Party member is allowed to impair the Party's interests and the common goal by turning the department or unit entrusted to him by the Party into his own independent kingdom.
Our Party's fighting strength lies in its vitality and strict discipline. Now that we are committed to the socialist modernization of the country and our task is most challenging and difficult, we have still greater need to promote this fine Party tradition.