4. We must be good at keeping ourselves politically pure and healthy and under all circumstances maintain our revolutionary vigour as members of a party in power.
Ours is a large party with a membership of 39 million and it is a party in power. This can easily make some of our comrades feel conceited and succumb to bureaucratic practices. Confronted as we are with so many new things and new problems, we can hardly avoid making mistakes. Besides, class struggle continues to exist to a certain extent in our society, and the ideological influences of the exploiting and other non-proletarian classes still survive. These facts, combined as they are with the complexities of contemporary international relations, put us in daily contact with the undesirable phenomena of capitalism, feudalism and small production. The contradictions between proletarian and non-proletarian ideology and between correct and erroneous thinking within our Party demand that we make more effective use of the best weapon Communists have for remoulding themselves, namely, the practice of criticism and self-criticism.
Communists should take a clear-cut stand on questions of principle and should uphold truth. Every Party member should uphold the Party spirit and be unequivocal in his position on questions of right and wrong which involve the interests of the Party and the people and should show clearly what he is for and what he is against. The rotten and vulgar practice of trying to be on good terms with everybody at the expense of principle is incompatible with the proletarian character of our Party.
Our Party's fine tradition of criticism and self-criticism, gravely undermined in previous years, is now being revived and carried forward, and some new and useful experience has been gained in this respect. In making either criticism or self-criticism, one should base oneself on facts and rectify existing mistakes without trying to hide or magnify them. Criticisms should be offered in a well-reasoned way and should be instructive so that they can help the comrades concerned raise their level of political consciousness; they must not be based on speculation or aimed at intimidating others. We should induce the comrades concerned voluntarily to examine themselves and correct their mistakes. In our criticisms we must not make far-fetched interpretations and unduly involve other comrades at a higher or lower level. So long as the comrades concerned have recognized their mistakes and are willing to correct them, we should encourage them to go on working boldly. Our main mistake in the past was to engage in excessive struggle that yielded results contrary to our expectations; people became reluctant to make self-criticism and were afraid to criticize others. We must change this unhealthy tendency.
We Communists need to practise criticism and self-criticism so that our Party will become more, not less, united and militant. Provided we fully revive and carry forward this fine tradition, our Party will undoubtedly continue to show inexhaustible vitality and will never show signs of decay.