THINGS MUST BE PUT IN ORDER
IN ALL FIELDS
September 27 and October 4, 1975
There is at present a need to put things in order in every field. Agriculture and industry must be put in order, and the policies on literature and art need to be adjusted. Adjustment, in fact, also means putting things in order. By putting things in order, we want to solve problems in rural areas, in factories, in science and technology, and in all other spheres. At Political Bureau meetings I have discussed the need for doing so in several fields, and when I reported to Comrade Mao Zedong, he gave his approval.
At present, there are a good many problems which we cannot solve without great effort. We must be daring and resolute. Over the past six months, I have made many speeches focusing on the importance of daring. There was a unit known for its tough and long-standing problems. Its leaders were like tigers whose backsides no one dared to touch. Later we made up our minds to spank the tigers, no matter who they were and whether they were 60, 40, 30 or 20 years old. And that soon produced the desired results.
The central task in putting things in order is to consolidate the Party. Once this central task — the consolidation of the Party — has been accomplished, the rest will follow. At this forum we should discuss this question of consolidating the Party. Comrade Mao Zedong has given his approval. How are we to consolidate the Party? We should certainly adopt a different approach from the one used in the past. Every province is being asked to draw up a plan in the light of its own characteristics. We should devote most of our endeavours to consolidating the leading bodies at different levels, including the commune and production brigade levels in rural areas, the workshop level in factories, and the department level in scientific research institutes. In this way, the problems can be solved relatively quickly. And once the leading bodies are consolidated, the problems existing among the rank-and-file Party members will be more readily solved.
Cadres should be selected after the basis for the selection has been laid through Party consolidation. In a production brigade, a commune or a county, if the two top men are well chosen, the whole leading body will be able to work well. Special consideration should be given to the selection of the top leadership at the county Party committee level. It is very important to establish strong county Party committees. To be a good secretary of a county Party committee isn’t easy: you must have broad experience as a leader and be able to administer the work all over the county, and in all fields, including Party, government, mass organization and military, cultural and educational affairs. The responsibilities of the secretary of a county Party committee are quite different from those of a factory director, who is only in charge of one factory. Anyone who does a good job as secretary of a county Party committee will find working in a prefectural or provincial Party committee smooth sailing. Right now, some provinces have difficulty in finding even one acceptable candidate for the post of provincial Party committee secretary. I don’t think this should be so difficult. There are plenty of county and prefectural Party committee secretaries. Why, then, is it so hard to find a provincial Party committee secretary? I think the problem may lie in the fact that no attention — or at least not enough — has been paid to this matter. Admittedly, some of the candidates are not faultless. But, having made self-criticisms for their mistakes, they have gained experience and learned something. They must not be neglected, and the loss will be ours if we pass them over. In choosing a leading cadre, be he old, young or middle-aged, we have to make sure that he is willing to work hard and to set an example in bearing hardships. This is the first criterion. Of course, he must have a good head on his shoulders too. Special consideration should now be given to the middle-aged cadres. By middle-aged I mean those who are in their early forties. They have at least 10 to 20 years of work experience, and some have more than 10 years of experience in leadership. Once a good candidate is found, he should be promoted step by step. And he need only stay on each step for a short period, holding a post for a year or so, let’s say, before being promoted. This kind of training is good and reflects true concern for the cadres.
I always feel that there is a big problem we have to solve: How should we spread Mao Zedong Thought? Comrade Luo Ronghuan was the first to express his disapproval of Lin Biao’s vulgarization of Mao Zedong Thought. He said that when we study Chairman Mao’s works we must study their essence. At that time, the Secretariat of the Central Committee discussed Comrade Luo Ronghuan’s views and concurred with them. Lin Biao urged people to study only the “three constantly read articles” (later, after two more were added, they became the “five constantly read articles”). This was a way of fragmenting Mao Zedong Thought. Mao Zedong Thought is rich in content and constitutes an integral whole. How can one designate only the “three constantly read articles” or the “five constantly read articles” as Mao Zedong Thought, while brushing aside Comrade Mao’s other works? How is it possible to propagate Mao Zedong Thought lopsidedly and merely pluck one or two sentences or one or two ideas out of context? The problem of fragmenting Mao Zedong Thought actually remains unsolved. Take our policies on literature and art for example. Comrade Mao Zedong has said it is necessary to make the past serve the present, to make foreign things serve China, to let a hundred flowers bloom and to weed through the old to bring forth the new. These policies form an integral whole. However, the policy of “letting a hundred flowers bloom” is no longer mentioned and has, in fact, been abandoned. This is another example of the fragmentation of Mao Zedong Thought. Nowadays students at a good many schools do not study. This too is inconsistent with Mao Zedong Thought. What Comrade Mao Zedong opposes is divorcing education from reality, from the masses and from labour. What he means is definitely not that students need not study but that they should study better. The motto he wrote for the children reads, “Study well and make progress every day.” Moreover, he has talked about the four modernizations and has said that class struggle, the struggle for production and scientific experiment are the three basic components of social practice. Today, the last component has been dropped and people are even afraid to discuss it, its very mention being regarded as a crime. How can this possibly be right? I’m afraid that the problem of how to study, propagate and implement Mao Zedong Thought systematically exists in quite a few fields. Mao Zedong Thought is closely bound up with practice in every sphere, with the principles, policies and methods in every line of work. We must study, propagate and implement it in its totality and not base our conclusions on a partial understanding or an erroneous interpretation by others.
(Remarks at a forum on work in the rural areas.)