IT IS IMPORTANT TO ACCOMPLISH OUR
December 27, 1961
With regard to our mass work, our Party has stressed the need to follow the mass line at some of its meetings. Following the mass line has been a very good tradition of our Party’s for a long time. Our work among the masses has always been thorough. Both when we were in the rural areas and after we won nationwide victory, we did all aspects of work well. I am not boasting in saying that some foreign political parties really believe in our mass line. In the past, we accomplished a great deal. Sometimes we got things done without publicizing them in newspapers. This did not mean that we failed to conduct extensive and thoroughgoing publicity. For example, we made known to every household our effort to improve public security and the general mood of society. We did this by relying on the leadership of the Party and the day-to-day work of the mass organizations.
Over the past few years, we have neglected our painstaking day-to-day work. This is the fault of the leadership of the Party. The Party does not have its own work, nor do the Youth League, the trade unions and the women’s federations. The March 8th teams, youth teams and children’ teams have all come to do ordinary work, ignoring the matters on which our people in all professions and trades should keep a tight grip. The Central Committee of the Party will soon convene an unprecedented meeting on the work of the Party to be attended by about 7,000 people. The Party’s work has been weakened to a great extent. This can be seen from the Party’s leadership over the work among women. Did we follow the mass line over the past few years? Yes, we did, but at least we also launched many mass movements against the will of the masses and in violation of the mass line. We are not evading these problems. It is also a good thing that we committed some follies. They have made us more aware that the traditions and experience of the Party are valuable and that we should restore them and conduct our thoroughgoing and painstaking work bit by bit. All good things, such as the style of work and practices we used to have, should be restored. We should not retain the things which have been bragged about over the past few years but the good experience, work style and practices we have accumulated for a long time. The principle of readjustment, consolidation, filling out and raising standards has been formulated mainly to tackle economic problems, but is also applicable to mass work. It will be appropriate if we do not cover up what we have done and proposed inappropriately and realistically review our experience.
What is the day-to-day work among women? It is the special work that women’s federations should be particularly responsible for. For example, the work of encouraging women to be industrious and thrifty in managing their households. We should stress the need both to build up the country through thrift and hard work and to be industrious and thrifty in managing a household. It is not right just to stress one of the two. Only when the country becomes powerful and prosperous can families become rich. We must first build up the country through thrift and hard work, and then we should manage our households well. We are now carrying out a ten-year plan, and we should keep this slogan for ten years. This is due to the material foundation of our country. It is the special work of women’s federations. Of course, men should also be industrious and thrifty in managing their households. But the publicity work should be mainly the responsibility of women’s federations. You should conduct publicity among the men. It is a long-term task to advocate building up the country through thrift and hard work and being industrious and thrifty in managing our households.
Promoting family harmony is also what we should always do. We should properly handle relations between husband and wife, between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, between sisters-in-law and between parents and children. This has been women’s day-to-day work for a long time. These problems are women’s special problems and special work of women’s federations. The education of children is also the responsibility of the father, but in general the mother assumes the major responsibility. Marital problems are often reported by women, and, generally speaking, women are the plaintiffs. As they are concerned with these problems, aren’t these problems their special problems? Women’s hygiene, the prevention and cure of diseases, midwifery and breast-feeding, etc., are women’s special problems. It has been our tradition that no matter what work (including work among women) we do, we should do it thoroughly within the limits of our official duty, put forward specific measures in full accordance with the demands of the masses and help the masses to solve problems.
By stressing the importance of day-to-day work, we do not mean to reject shock movements without exception. For example, the movement against the three evils, the movement against the five evils, the suppression of the counter-revolutionaries and theagrarian reform are shock movements. For another example, now it is our shock work to check floods. It is all right for us to make a concentrated effort sometimes to do some work among women quickly, but the day-to-day work is the foundation. Mass movements are only a form of the mass line and should not last all the year round. We cannot launch the same movement here and there. One should not copy the experience of someone else indiscriminately, but should instead be realistic. If we carry out movements all the year round, we tend to exaggerate and practise formalism, which is, in fact, against the will of the masses and divorced from the masses. In the final analysis, therefore, we should routinize the day-to-day work. A great deal of day-to-day work we do constitutes the most reliable foundation for shock movements. We can accomplish nothing without doing mass work for a long time. We won victory in the three-year-long War of Liberation because we pooled all the forces by doing mass work for a long time. For example, when our army was preparing to cross the Yellow River, the masses gave us their door planks. As the door planks in the Hebei-Shandong-Henan Area were not enough, the people in southern Hebei contributed theirs. Meanwhile, people did not have much to eat, but they gave their grain to the People’s Liberation Army. That would not have been possible if we had not done work among the masses for a long time. The Kuomintang could hardly do what we did. The Communist Party has always maintained ties with the masses, doing things for their good, and the fundamental interests of the Party and the masses coincide. The War of Liberation was the people’s war, and only by relying on the people could we receive their support and win the war.
At present, the stress of Party and mass work should be put on routinizing the day-to-day work. At this meeting, the establishment of grass-roots organizations has been proposed. This is a good proposal, and there should be more specific proposals. Our work must be done by grass-roots organizations. We should also hold meetings of women and working conferences. We should do this at regular intervals, review our experience and discuss some problems every year. The system of day-to-day work should be restored, and without such a system, work cannot be done. What is our day-to-day work? If you do not make it clear, the Party committees will not be able to put it on the agenda. They may call on you when they deem it necessary, for example, asking you to explain to the people why food is rationed. But they may not know what special problems to be handled. Therefore, the women’s federations should tell the Party committees what the special problems are. In a word, we should routinize our day-to-day work, including consolidating our organizations. To establish and improve grass-roots organizations, we should have cadres at the grass-roots level. I am in favour of your proposal that most communes should have full-time women cadres. The female leaders of communes with a small population can serve as women cadres concurrently and they should do a good job as women cadres. It is necessary to have women cadres in charge of women’s affairs. If you can routinize the day-to-day work in three years, it will be your greatest achievement. We should do this work conscientiously. Only by carrying out the grass-roots and day-to-day work can we hopefully implement all of our slogans and principles. Otherwise the calls we make and the directives we issue to lower levels will disappear for ever like a stone dropped into the sea. Now people in all trades and professions are routinizing their day-to-day work. Of course, they are acting under the leadership of the Party committees. They will accomplish nothing without the support of the Party committees. As you are in charge of women’s affairs, you should solve all problems that must be solved. As long as you often raise problems, air your views, put forward measures and get things done, how can the Party committees not support you?
Have you discussed the situation at the conference? In doing work among women, women must take charge of their own affairs, discuss major matters and widen their field of vision. Not only the cadres in charge of women’s affairs but also ordinary women should be concerned about political affairs. Day-to-day work involves political and ideological work. To build up the country through thrift and hard work is something of great importance, which involves ideology. It is no good to pay attention only to the family to the neglect of the country. Women cadres should have the world in view, as should women in the rural areas. At all meetings we should discuss the situation. After listening to reports, we should air our views about them. This should become a regular practice. By so doing we are discussing ideological guidelines. But we are actually doing something concrete, too, because ideological understanding will manifest itself in reality and in people’s enthusiasm for work. We must discuss major matters and should not narrow our vision. We should bear this in mind when training women cadres. In future, we should make a rule that women’s federations at or above the county level should discuss major matters at their conferences.
(Excerpt from a speech to all the comrades attending the conference of the chairwomen of the women’s federations of provinces, municipalities directly under the Central Government and autonomous regions.)