Accent on Selecting Leading Cadres
From Among Workers and Peasants
by Chung Tso-wen
[This article is reprinted from Peking Review, Vol. 17, #5, Feb. 1, 1974, pp. 12-14.]
IN his “Report on the Revision of the Party Constitution” delivered at the Tenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Comrade Wang Hung-wen pointed out: “We must, in accordance with the five requirements Chairman Mao has laid down for successors to the cause of the proletarian revolution, lay stress on selecting outstanding persons from among the workers and poor and lower-middle peasants and placing them in leading posts at all levels.” This is an important experience gained from Party building and an important matter concerning the training of successors to the proletarian revolutionary cause.
Ever since the Ninth Party Congress in 1969, large numbers of outstanding Party members among the workers and poor and lower-middle peasants have been elected to Party committees at all levels in many localities. Thanks to their conscientious reading and study of Marxist-Leninist works, their deep-going criticism of Lin Piao and rectification of the style of work and their close ties with the masses, these comrades have made notable achievements on all fronts.
A Matter of Great Importance
The proletarian revolutionary teachers have always paid great attention to training cadres from among outstanding workers and peasants. Lenin pointed out in 1905: “To place workers on the committees is a political, not only a pedagogical, task.” As far back as in 1928, Chairman Mao set down for the leading organs of the Party at all levels that “the proportion of workers and poor peasants should ... be increased” so as to consolidate the Party organizationally and strengthen the proletarian leadership ideologically. Since then, he has on several occasions enjoined us to train and promote worker and peasant activists and have the worker and peasant masses take part in building up political power and in government administration.
During the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, Chairman Mao issued the instruction: “It is essential to bring into full play the leading role of the working class in the Great Cultural Revolution and in all fields of work.” In the past decades, our Party, in line with Chairman Mao’s directives, has trained large numbers of cadres from among the workers and peasants in the course of revolutionary struggles. Tempered in class struggle and the struggle between the two lines, many have become the backbone of the Party and state leadership at all levels.
Our Party is a proletarian political party and our country a socialist state under the dictatorship of the proletariat led by the working class and based on the worker-peasant alliance. The nature of our Party and state determines that special attention must be paid to placing outstanding persons from among the workers and peasants in the leading bodies at all levels. Organizationally, this is an important hallmark showing the class foundation of the Party and state. Training and selecting successors to the proletarian revolution from among the workers and peasants is conducive to our implementing Chairman Mao’s proletarian revolutionary line, holding fast to the socialist orientation, consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat and persisting in continuing the revolution under this dictatorship.
Lenin pointed out that putting outstanding workers and peasants in the leading posts of the Party and state was beneficial to safeguarding Party unity. The two-line struggles in the history of our Party, especially the struggle to smash the Lin Piao anti-Party clique, have proved that one of the main tricks of the class enemies in undermining the proletarian revolution is resorting to intrigues and conspiracies to split the Party so as to achieve their criminal aim of usurping the supreme power of the Party and the state and restoring capitalism. Hence, safeguarding Party unity on the basis of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought is an important principle for waging inner-Party two-line struggles and an important guarantee for consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Most far-sighted politically, the working class always sets store by unity and observes discipline and resolutely opposes sectarian and splittist activities. Particularly in times of stress, the working class is always firm in its stand and daring in waging principled struggles. Participation by outstanding worker-peasant comrades in the leading bodies at all levels is of great importance in waging active ideological struggle in the Party, safeguarding Party unity and opposing bourgeois careerists’ plots to split the Party.
Placing outstanding elements from among the workers and peasants in the leadership is beneficial to strengthening the links between the Party and the masses and promoting the revolutionization of the leading bodies. Under the dictatorship of the proletariat, in particular, since the Party is the force at the core leading the socialist cause forward, it has become all the more important for the Party to continue to maintain and strengthen extensive, constant and close ties with the people and increase mass supervision over the cadres. Chairman Mao has pointed out: “Another hallmark distinguishing our Party from all other political parties is that we have very close ties with the broadest masses of the people.” Frequent contacts with the masses enable the worker-peasant comrades on the Party committees to become better acquainted with conditions at the grass-roots level and familiar with the life of the masses. With these comrades on the Party committees, the leadership will be informed in time of what is going on at the grass-roots, and the Party organizations will be in a better position to give expression to the masses’ desire and demands and keep abreast of actual conditions when implementing policies and making decisions, thus avoiding bureaucracy and subjectivism. Harshly exploited and oppressed in the old society, many of these worker-peasant comrades generally have a relatively high level of class consciousness; they work hard and conscientiously and live a plain and simple life. When developed in the Party committees, these sterling qualities will help their members always bear in mind what the workers and poor and lower-middle peasants think and need and resist corrosion by the bourgeoisie.
Big Training Efforts
The Party organizations have taken effective measures to step up training those worker-peasant comrades who have been put in leading posts and let them play their role to the full. Fundamental in this respect is following Chairman Mao’s teaching and organizing them to “read and study conscientiously and have a good grasp of Marxism” so as to enhance their consciousness in class struggle and two-line struggle. Our Party is one leading hundreds of millions of people in carrying out the great cause of socialist revolution and construction. It is, therefore, of great importance to study Marxist theory on a wide scale and in a deep-going way. Only thus can we persist in practising Marxism and discern and criticize revisionism. The worker-peasant cadres’ class status and experience in struggles enable them to be easily receptive to Marxism, but they cannot spontaneously acquire Marxism. Chairman Mao has told us many times that those with working experience must learn theory and must read and study in earnest.
Veteran and young cadres studying together works by
Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin and by Chairman Mao.
Woodcut by Chu Yeh-ching
By spreading the nonsense that works by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin were “beyond us” and “difficult to understand,” the Lin Piao anti-Party clique vainly tried to pull us away from the right course of Marxism and lead us astray and on to the revisionist road. Practical experience is valuable, but without the guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, we are liable to mistake experience of a local nature for the universal truth and commit empiricist errors in our way of thinking. And in all likelihood, we shall not be able to distinguish between genuine and sham Marxism and between correct and erroneous lines in the complex struggles, and we shall lose our bearings and be led astray. While transforming the objective world, the proletariat must also remould its own subjective world, and this also calls for studying Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought. Only by arming ourselves with Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought can we establish the proletarian world outlook, raise our consciousness in defending the proletarian revolutionary cause and courageously wage tit-for-tat struggles against revisionism.
Chairman Mao has recently taught us: “It is necessary to run the study classes for worker-peasant-soldier cadres well, with classes lasting a term of three months and with four terms a year; they read books and at the same time take part in work.” This instruction of Chairman Mao’s is of far-reaching significance and points out the direction and method for furthering the work of training worker-peasant cadres. In some places, concrete measures have been taken to enable these comrades to spend some time every year doing physical labour and routine work at the grass-roots level, some time working in the office or making investigation and study, and some time reading some works by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin and by Chairman Mao in the study classes with specific problems of work in mind. Attending such study classes, the comrades are able to concentrate their time and energy in reading and study, which would otherwise be impossible because of busy routine work. In this way they acquire the basic viewpoints of Marxism and use them to sum up their work, particularly their experience gained in the two-line struggles so as to systematize and synthesize this experience and raise it to the level of theory and to get to the bottom of knotty problems by combining theory with practice.
Another important aspect of the work of training worker-peasant comrades on the Party committees is to boldly give them assignments and let them give full play to their ability. Following Chairman Mao’s teaching “Let them go into action and learn while doing, and they will become more capable,” many Party organizations see to it that these comrades get every opportunity to grasp the overall situation and they are sent to places or units where class struggle is more complex and conditions more harsh to carry out investigation and study personally, direct work and improve their leadership ability in actual struggle.
In line with Chairman Mao’s directive “See to it that they do not divorce themselves from the masses or from productive labour while performing their duties,” Party organizations in many places have made proper arrangements for the worker-peasant leading cadres to shoulder some responsibility in the Party committees and take part in physical labour at the same time. By regularly doing a stint of physical labour, they will maintain close ties with the masses, follow the trends of class struggle more directly, better understand and implement the Party’s basic line and correct mistakes in work whenever they occur. If they remain in their offices for a long time and do not take part in collective productive labour at the grass-roots level, they will in all probability develop the bourgeois style of work and thinking, divorce themselves from the broad masses of the working people and turn revisionist. That Lin Piao maliciously attacked cadres’ participation in physical labour was aimed precisely at turning our Party’s cadres into a revisionist privileged stratum and tools for restoring capitalism. Drawing lessons from this negative example, we have come to a deeper realization of the far-reaching significance of taking part in physical labour.
After taking up leading posts, many worker-peagant comrades have been strict with themselves. Modest and prudent and guarding against arrogance and rashness, they are serving the people wholeheartedly and displaying a vigorous revolutionary spirit.
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