Thursday, December 20, 2018

Proletarians Are Revolutionary Optimists by Pi Sheng

Pi Sheng

THE struggle initiated and led by Chairman Mao to repulse the Right deviationist attempt at reversing correct verdicts has smashed the criminal plot of Teng Hsiao-ping, the arch unrepentant capitalist reader in the Party, to subvert the dictatorship of the proletariat and restore capitalism. 

This is another great victory we have won in combating the bourgeoisie in the Party after the two bourgeois headquarters of Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao were shattered in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution- In spite of the fact that our struggle against the bourgeoisie in the Party will be protracted and tortuous and that there is the danger of capitalist restoration in the entire historical period of socialism, the bourgeoisie is doomed to fail and the proletariat is bound to win. There is no doubt whatsoever about this general trend of historical development.

Revolution Will Triumph Over Reaction

The emergence of the bourgeoisie in the Party and the existence of contradictions and struggles inside the Party are objective realities. Everything develops through the struggles of its internal contradictions. The Party is no exception. As Engels pointed out long ago: “The; development of the proletariat proceeds everywhere amidst internal struggles.” “And when, like Marx and myself, one has fought harder all one’s life long against the alleged socialists than against anyone else (for we only regarded the bourgeoisie as class and hardly ever involved ourselves in conflicts with individual bourgeois), one cannot greatly grieve that the inevitable struggle has broken out.” (Frederick Engels’ Letter to August Bebel, October 28, 1882.) Speaking of the struggle against the bourgeoisie in the Party, Chairman Mao has stressed: “Without struggle, there is no progress.” “Can 800 million people manage without struggle?!”

The capitalist-roaders in the Party, such as Liu Shao-chi, Lin Piao and Teng Hsiao-ping, represent in a concentrated way the interests of the new and old bourgeoisie and all other exploiting classes; they are the main force endangering the Party and subverting the dictatorship of the proletariat. Our struggle against them is a concentrated expression of the struggle between the two classes and the two roads in the period of socialism, and will decide the destiny and future of our country. If the capitalist-roaders’ plot to usurp Party leadership and seize state power is not exposed and smashed in good time, there will be a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie over the proletariat; and if their revisionist line is not criticized, the gains of the revolution achieved by the proletariat both in the superstructure and in the economic base will be lost. It is quite clear that it won’t do without struggle. Only when we fully realize the danger of capitalist restoration by the bourgeoisie in the Party and consciously wage a tit-for-tat struggle against it, can we effectively consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat, prevent capitalist restoration and enable the cause of socialism to advance steadily.

Denying or evading the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, to be weary or afraid of waging struggles against the bourgeoisie in the Party — this is not the attitude Marxists should take. The proletarians are revolutionary optimists; they are fully confident of victory in the struggle against the bourgeoisie in the Party. “The supersession of the old by the new is a general, eternal and inviolable law of the universe.” (Mao Tsetung: On Contradiction.) Newborn things are bound to triumph over the decadent and revolution is bound to triumph over reaction. The bourgeoisie in the Party, just as the bourgeoisie as a whole, represents the decadent relations of production and is a declining reactionary force. The fact that the bourgeoisie has moved its headquarters into the Communist Party is not an indication of its strength. It only shows that the bourgeoisie outside the Party, after our repeated struggles against it, has become so notorious that it is difficult for it to hoist its own banner and concentrate its forces for an open, all-round trial of strength with the proletariat. Though the bourgeoisie inside the Party still possesses a certain amount of reactionary potentiality and counter-revolutionary destructive force, its perverse acts only reflect the death-bed struggles of the overthrown reactionary classes.

Like all reactionaries in history, the bourgeoisie in the Party is also a paper tiger and is nothing to be afraid of. It goes against the trend of history and “clings to the bourgeois ideology of oppression and exploitation of the proletariat and to the capitalist system.” This determines that it will be crushed to pieces by the wheel of history. The socialist system will eventually replace the capitalist system; this is an objective law independent of man’s will. No matter how the chieftains of the revisionist line Liu Shao-chi, Lin Piao and Teng Hsiao-ping wailed in desperation and frantically attacked and smeared the excellent revolutionary situation, the Chinese people will not waver in their iron will or lose their confidence of victory in taking the socialist road and continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Source of Strength

Chairman Mao has pointed out: “We must have faith in the masses and we must have faith in the Party. These are two cardinal principles. If we doubt these principles, we shall accomplish nothing.” (On the Question of Agricultural Co-operation.) To have faith in the Party and the masses is our inexhaustible source of strength in defeating the bourgeoisie in the Party. Our Party is a political party of the proletariat founded and fostered by our great leader Chairman Mao. The emergence of the bourgeoisie in the Party will in no way change the nature of our Party as the vanguard of the proletariat, nor will it in the slightest obscure our Party’s radiance.

On the contrary, the fact that our Party dares to openly acknowledge the existence of the bourgeoisie in the Party and expose it shows precisely that our Party is strong and powerful. “The correctness or incorrectness of the ideological and political line decides everything.” Chairman Mao’s proletarian revolutionary line holds the dominant position in our Party and is striking a deeper root in the hearts of the people with each passing day. This is the basic guarantee for our Party to vanquish the bourgeoisie in the Party. Our Party has become purer, stronger and more vigorous in the course of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution which exposed and criticized the representatives of the bourgeoisie, such as Liu Shao-chi, Lin Piao and Teng Hsiao-ping, and the renegades and secret agents under their protection.

Our Party has summed up the historical experience of the dictatorship of the proletariat both at home and abroad and has in particular drawn historical lessons from the fact that the Soviet Union has turned revisionist; our Party has also accumulated rich experience in its protracted struggles against opportunism and revisionism. This is an important condition for our Party to defeat the bourgeoisie in the Party. In the past 55 years our Party has been advancing in the great storms of the struggles between the two classes and the two lines. The chieftains of opportunist and revisionist lines have come forward one after another to split our Party from within, but they have all failed. On the contrary, through the elimination of these “worms” inside the revolutionary ranks, our Party has become more solidly united round the Party Central Committee headed by Chairman Mao in its triumphant advance along Chairman Mao’s proletarian revolutionary line. Historical experience has convinced us: “This Party of ours has a bright future.” The masses of workers and poor and lower-middle peasants are the main force in vanquishing the bourgeoisie in the Party.

Chairman Mao has pointed out: “After the democratic revolution the workers and the poor and lower-middle peasants did not stand still, they want revolution.” “Will there be need for revolution a hundred years from now? Will there still be need for revolution a thousand years from now? There is always need for revolution. There are always sections of the people who feel themselves oppressed; junior officials, students, workers, peasants and soldiers don’t like big-shots oppressing them. That’s why they want revolution.” The “bigwigs” of the bourgeoisie in the Party like Liu Shao-chi, Lin Piao and Teng Hsiao-ping made use of the power in their hands to work for restoration and retrogression and to oppose revolution.

Since they offended the majority, they were inevitably opposed and spurned by the masses of the people. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution has fully demonstrated the great might of the masses in combating the bourgeoisie in the Party. Liu Shao-chi, Lin Piao and Teng Hsiao-ping were haughty for some time, but they were overthrown one by one when the masses rose against them. By reading and studying conscientiously and having a good grasp of Marxism and by taking part in the great struggle of combating and preventing revisionism, hundreds of millions of people have enhanced their consciousness of class struggle and the two-line struggle and raised their ability to distinguish genuine from sham Marxism. No matter how the bourgeoisie in the Party changes its tactics and no matter what conspiracies and intrigues it resorts to, we are fully confident that it will be exposed, opposed and criticized by the revolutionary people who have a high level of political consciousness.

In the current great struggle to repulse the Right deviationist attempt to reverse correct verdicts, large numbers of ordinary workers, peasants, P.L.A. fighters, students and cadres at the grass-roots level were the first to step forward to resist and repudiate the revisionist programme of “taking the three directives as the key link” concocted by Teng Hsiao-ping, and they have become courageous fighters in the struggle against Teng Hsiao-ping’s revisionist line. This is indeed inspiring. History has proved and will continue to prove that in the great struggle waged by the proletariat against the bourgeoisie, there is bound to emerge from among the masses large numbers of outstanding people who uphold Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line, and tens of millions of successors to, the proletarian revolutionary cause will be trained; they will carry through to the end the great cause initiated by the older generation of proletarian revolutionaries.

Thoroughgoing Materialists Are Fearless

“The future is bright; the road is tortuous.” (Mao Tsetung: On the Chungking Negotiations.) The revolutionary optimism of the proletariat differs from blind optimism in that we understand the dialectics of historical development. Blind optimists fail to see or cannot see clearly the law governing class struggle in socialist society. They are susceptible to a slackening of vigilance and are easily beguiled by the theory of the dying out of class struggle, or they become pessimistic and despondent when the revolution comes up against difficulties. We should not only see the bright future of the revolution and have full confidence in victory, but also see the twists and turns on the road of revolution so that we will enhance our revolutionary fighting will and be prepared to strive for the bright future consciously and with indomitable fortitude. The declining classes are like a giant tree which has lost its life and is rotten to its foundation.

However they will not retreat from the stage of history of their own accord but will carry on a death-bed struggle to protect their lives with every possible means, the old system will be buried only after many reverses for a fairly long historical period. In the past, the replacement of an old system by a new and the triumph of a rising class over a decadent and declining class invariably took place after a long and tortuous struggle. 

In China, the revolution in which the slave system was replaced by the feudal system — from 594 B.C. when the State of Lu started to levy taxes on private land in accordance with the acreage under cultivation* to 221 B.C. when Chin Shih Huang unified China took mare than 370 years which were replete with struggles between progress and retrogression and between revolution and restoration. After the rising landlord class seized power of the country, these struggles continued for many more years.

The bourgeois revolutions in Britain, France and the United States lasted 48, 86 and nearly 100 years respectively, and the struggles were full of twists and turns. This is the case with the revolutions in the past in which one exploiting system replaced another. The proletarian revolution which aims at completely eliminating the bourgeoisie and all other exploiting classes and all exploiting systems will of course take much longer time and will go through many more twists and turns and reverses. Chairman Mao has pointed out: “Great disorder across the land leads to great order. And so once again every seven or eight years. Monsters and demons will jump out themselves. Determined by their own class nature, they are bound to jump out.” So long as there are still classes and class struggle and bourgeois right at home and imperialism and social-imperialism abroad, it is inevitable that “the capitalist-roaders are still on the capitalist road.”

The collapse of one or two chieftains of the revisionist line does not mean the complete destruction of the bourgeoisie in the Party or of the bourgeoisie as a whole. They will never take their defeat lying down, but are bound to rally their counterrevolutionary forces, change their counter-revolutionary tactics and continue to have a trial of strength with the proletariat. Class struggle and the struggle between the two lines are independent of man’s will, How can we cherish the illusion that the class enemies will change their reactionary class nature, that the monsters and demons will not jump out themselves, and that the old and new bourgeoisie will stop plotting and sabotaging?

How can we harbour the illusion that after several struggles the entire bourgeoisie- inside and outside the Party will be thoroughly vanquished, and that all the trash left over from the old society will be swept into the dust-bin? The fact that class struggles and struggles between the two lines are carried out repeatedly is something completely conforming to the law governing it; we should not feel surprised, still less should we feel annoyed. Chairman Mao has said: “Swimming in rivers with counter-currents builds up will-power and courage.” To the masses of cadres and people who persist in continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat, reverses and zigzags in revolutionary struggles will build up their will-power, stimulate their enthusiasm, enhance their talents and raise their ability to distinguish genuine from sham Marxism. In the last analysis, it is a question of world outlook whether or not one takes a revolutionary optimistic attitude towards actual struggles and the future of the revolution.

Dialectical materialism and historical materialism are the ideological foundation of revolutionary optimism, while idealism and metaphysics are the root cause of pessimistic views as far as the theory of knowledge to concerned. Some good-hearted comrades among us always have the illusion that the revolutionary ranks should be absolutely pure and the revolutionary road should be absolutely straight. So when they meet with twists and turns, they become depressed and fail to see the bright future. When analysing the situation of the revolutionary struggle, more often than not they overestimate the strength of the enemy and underestimate the strength of the people and arrive at unrealistic estimate of class forces. The reason for this is that in looking at a question their way of thinking is to a great extent subjective, superficial and one-sided; they cannot distinguish the essence from the appearance and the main aspect from the secondary aspect of things.

So, when they analyse class struggle and the future of social development, they are easily influenced by pessimistic ideas spread by the bourgeoisie. We must also take a revolutionary optimistic attitude .towards natural disasters and displaying the spirit of revolutionary heroism, fearing neither natural disasters nor earthquakes. “Men will conquer nature,” this is a great truth. “Thoroughgoing materialists are fearless.” (Mao Tsetung: Speech at the Chinese Communist Party’s National Conference on Propaganda Work.) 

To be proletarian revolutionary optimists, we must be thoroughgoing materialists. Therefore, we must diligently study Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, take an active part in the fiery mass struggles, draw rich political nourishment from them, earnestly remould our world outlook and frequently rid ourselves of the influence of idealistic and metaphysical ideas. Only thus can we heighten our revolutionary spirit, strengthen our confidence in victory in the struggle against the bourgeoisie in the Party and become vanguard fighters in continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat.

(Transition of an article in “Hongqi,” No. 8, 1976. Subheads are ours.)

Peking Review, No. 36, September 3, 1976

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