Remnants of Chattel Slavery in the Modern US

by B.

Charles S. Aiken, The Cotton Plantation South Since the Civil War, The John Hopkins University Press (1998).

“What is a ‘survival’? What is its theoretical status? Is it essentially social or ‘psychological’? Can it be reduced to the survival of certain economic structures . . . [o]r does it refer as much to other structures, political, ideological structures, etc.: customs, habits, even ‘traditions’ such as the ‘national tradition’ with its specific traits? . . .

“[A] revolution in the structure does not ipso facto modify the existing superstructures and particularly the ideologies at one blow (as it would if the economic was the sole determinant factor), for they have sufficient of their own consistency to survive beyond their immediate life context, even to recreate, to ‘secrete’ substitute conditions of existence temporarily.”
– Louis Althusser, “Contradiction and Overdetermination,” For Marx.

The plantation regions of the South, the former heartland of chattel slavery and sharecropping, remain today among the regions in the US with the highest poverty rates. Extending in a crescent-like shape across the South, coinciding with the core territory of the oppressed Black nation, the plantation regions are characterized by lower incomes, higher unemployment, worse housing, less access to health care, higher infant mortality, underfunded public education, and higher school dropout rates.

This book by Charles S. Aiken, a professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Tennesse – Knoxville, contains a lot of valuable information on the historical development of these regions and their current conditions. The book draws upon Aiken’s previous work published in geography journals; in particular, the articles “New Settlement Patterns of Rural Blacks in the American South” and “A New Type of Black Ghetto in the Plantation South.”

Aiken’s main argument is that the plantation, which he defines as: the “large estat[e]” based on the spatial model of the feudal estate, “the large industrial far[m],” “the great farm,” and/or the “[i]ndustrial-type far[m] that specializ[es] in the mass production of a commercial crop,” survives as a key feature of the landscape of the US South.

Aiken examines the development of the plantation from 1865 to 1970, and discusses the situation at the end of the 20th century. He looks in particular at the significance of the survival of the plantation for Black people:

“At the end of the twentieth century, several million of the nation’s blacks still lived in the countryside, small towns, and cities of the plantation regions.”

Aiken’s insight that the Southern plantation, as a landscape feature, survived the fall of chattel slavery is familiar to Marxists who have recognized the US Civil War and the betrayal of Reconstruction as an uncompleted bourgeois-democratic revolution that continues to cast a long shadow over US society to this day.

For example, Lenin, writing in 1915 on US agriculture, noted that the “economic survivals of slavery” (“not in any way distinguishable from those of feudalism”) were “still very powerful” in the former slave-owning South. See V.I. Lenin, “New Data on the Laws Governing the Development of Capitalism in Agriculture.” Lenin wrote that following the emancipation of Black people from chattel slavery, the US ruling class “took good care . . . to restore everything possible, and do everything possible and impossible for the most shameless and despicable oppression [of Black people].” Id. The survivals of chattel slavery included a “complex of legal and social relationships” (reflected, for example, in the vast disparity in literacy rates between Black people and white people), which rested on the “economic basis” of sharecropping. Id.

The “shadow of the plantation” remains today despite the gains of the Civil Rights movement in pushing back de jure segregation. However, what has not been deeply elaborated and understood is how the remnants of the mode of production based on chattel slavery have endured beyond the decline in sharecropping and the mechanization of Southern agriculture by the 1960s. We have for guidance here Lenin’s statement on what happens to an “old landlord economy” that is bound “by thousands of threads to serfdom” during the transition to capitalism, in the absence of revolutionary land reform: “the entire agrarian system of the state becomes capitalist” yet “for a long time retains feudalist features . . . in the main, of landed proprietorship and of the chief supports of the old ‘superstructure.’” See V.I. Lenin, The Development of Capitalism in Russia.

What are the remnants today of chattel slavery in the US economic structure (clearly an articulation of different modes of production)? What are the remnants today of chattel slavery in the US superstructures (legal, political, ideological)? Aiken’s book fills in some of the particularities of the answers to these questions, which remain crucial for the development of political tactics and strategy.

Here is a summary of some of the key points in Aiken’s book regarding the current conditions:

1. The “legacy of the plantation” endures in the economy, politics, and society of the South.

2. The large landholdings of the chattel slavery period remain in tact, as pine forests or as idle land.

3. In the present social and political arrangement of the plantation regions: “Planters, timber companies, factories, and government agencies participate in the control and manipulation of the socioeconomic and political structures.”

4. “[N]ewly elected black officials in the South, like ones in the [‘postcolonial’] Caribbean, often adopt the image of the whites whom they replaced.” Citing John Rozier, Black Boss: Political Revolution in a Georgia County, University of Georgia Press, 1982, 187-96.

5. The economy of the plantation regions is currently characterized by: “low wages, insufficient economic diversification, shortage of local development capital, creation of few new enterprises, and inadequate economic linkages to the growth sectors of the national and international economies.” Furthermore, “[l]arge areas of the regions are capable of attracting job-creation facilities only from the bottom sector of the economy or facilities that have social, environmental, or economic stigma.” These facilities include NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard) and LULUs (Locally Unpopular Land Uses), such as hazardous waste landfills and incinerators, polluting factories, and federal and state prisons. One of the largest hazardous waste landfills in the eastern US is in the Alabama Black Belt.

6. Industries in the region today include pine forests, commercial farming, and labor-intense low-wage manufacturing (garment, food processing, furniture, chemicals, electrical appliances, pulp and paper mills). The “investment climate” is characterized by anti-union right-to-work laws, a lack of environmental regulations, and regressive taxation.

As Harry Haywood noted in his 1957 essay, “For a Revolutionary Position on the Negro Question”: “industrial development of the South is distorted and lopsided, ‘geared as it is to the expediency of the absentee owners, rather than to the necessities of the region and its people’. Industrialization is geared toward the extraction of raw materials and natural resources, and primary processing of agricultural products.”

7. Although there has been a great decline in agricultural employment due to mechanization (e.g. in 1990, 2.3% of the Black population in the lower Georgia Piedmont was employed in agriculture, while 32% was employed in manufacturing), the economy has been incapable of fully absorbing displaced farmers and agricultural workers into some other sector, thus exacerbating unemployment and underemployment. In the Alabama Black Belt, “the agricultural economy is largely gone,” but a “new type of local economy that can fully assimilate the underemployed population has not developed.” Even in places where agriculture remains viable, such as the Yazoo Delta where 12% of the Black population is employed in this sector, there exists a large underemployed labor force. Across the plantation regions, transfer payments are the leading source of personal income.

8. As the civil rights movement defeated Jim Crow de jure segregation and Black people gained access to public facilities, private facilities exclusively serving white people (including schools, country clubs, and recreational spaces) grew in importance.

9. Despite winning and exercising the right to vote, Black people have had their voting power diluted by state legislatures engaging in gerrymandering (combining predominantly Black electoral districts with predominantly white districts) and changing the selection process for certain positions (e.g. school superintendents) from election to appointment.

Aiken ends the book by calling for continued federal and state assistance to the plantation regions as a short-term measure and improved public education as the larger solution. Though a significant reform, this would obviously leave the “legacy of the plantation” in tact. As can be expected, Aiken’s liberal prescriptions ultimately fail to point towards the fundamental, needed solution: uprooting the “survivals of slavery” in all their forms, in the structure and the superstructures.

This task must be taken up by the historic bloc led by the international proletariat, but it cannot do this without deeper study and elaboration of the complexity and particularity of the US social formation. The US is not simply a “capitalist” or “capitalist-imperialist” society. It is a unique social formation: a settler-colonial society and a slave society, where the capitalist mode of production became dominant. If we look hard enough through a concrete analysis of the concrete conditions, and shed the idealist notion of a “pure” contradiction between Capital and Labor abstracted from social reality, we find within this late empire a tangle of contradictions and the “intense overdetermination” of the basic class contradiction in the direction of a rupture.

A final note: all of this exposes the fact that much of the discourse on reparations for slavery, by treating this as a past injustice whose remedy must now include acknowledgment and apology, fails to get to the root of the problem: remnants of the slave mode of production survive into modern times; its economic survivals are articulated to and reinforced by the capitalist mode of production in its imperialist stage; and its corresponding superstructural constituents also persist in law, politics, and ideology. In other words, the US continues today to have certain characteristic features of a slave society. Since sharecropping declined through the “landlord road” (with the characteristic maintenance of the plantation form), rather than the road of revolutionary land reform (“40 acres and a mule”), these features will continue “for a long time” in the absence of fundamental social transformation.

Press Release From Students at NYU

About a dozen NYU students who stayed until the end of the protest were suspended indefinitely and banned from all NYU buildings and facilities — including residence halls. This number includes the five student negotiators who were told that they were going to have a negotiating session with the NYU administration, willingly crossed the barriers, and then were abducted by NYU guards and told that they were suspended and not allowed back into the protest. We’re told that they will have hearings next week, please follow the updates on for follow-up action.

NYU’s Lynne Brown, Senior Vice President for University Relations and Public Affairs, sent out an e-mail to all NYU students today trying to undermine our efforts and cast us as violent criminals. Please call her out on her shameful lies, e-mail her directly at .

As stated on, please e-mail the Housing Dept. at and urge those administrators to refrain from denying students involved in the occupation on-campus housing. This repercussion is one discordant with the peaceful protesting of these students.

Finally, please e-mail, phone, fax and otherwise harass the following list of administrators on our behalf!

John Sexton,
Telephone: 212.998.6840
Fax: 212.995.4021

John Beckman, NYU Spokesman
(212) 998-6848

Office of the Provost
Tel: (212) 998-2415
Fax: (212) 995-3190

Office of the Vice President

Solidarity forever!

NYU Live Feed!!!!



Students take NYU

Students take NYU

Maobadi in NYC: Prachanda speaks to the New School!

Thanks to Com. Daniel for putting up audio on his site Hegemonik. Prachanda spoke to an audience of Communists, revolutionaries, Nepalis, Tibetan Independence activists, Human Rights activists, other

Prachanda Sketch

Prachanda Sketch

national dignatories, journalists, etc. at an event hosted by the India China Institute of the New School. I myself was at the event, and it was something quite inspiring and intense, I wish Prachanda and the CPN (M) the best in their struggle to transform their country from feudal social relations and hope they never lose sight of the need of Communist transformation of what we Maoists know as the “4 Alls”.

Maobadi in NYC: Prachanda’s address to the UN.

Prachanda speaking to the United Nations

Prachanda speaking to the United Nations

Mr. President,
Mr. General Secretary,
Distinguished Delegates

1.At the outset, allow me to congratulate you on your election as the President of this Assembly and to assure you of my delegation’s full cooperation in discharging your responsibilities. I also thank the UN Secretary General for his comprehensive report on the work of the UN and his positive reference to the situation obtaining in Nepal.

Mr. President,

2. It is indeed a historic opportunity for me to address this august Assembly as the first Prime Minister of Nepal of the newest republic of the world. As I stand here in front of the global leadership, I think of the long struggle that I and my party waged with single mindedness for the liberation of the common man from the clutches of the age-old suppression, deprivation, marginalization and outright negligence of the then existing polity. My fellow countrymen and women, toiling in the mountains and valleys, working day and night in the low lands and the urban areas and yet unable to ensure even the simple necessities of life for his or her family had a hope and expectation that one day they would lead a decent life with equal rights and opportunities and be recognized as respectful citizens of the country. We are at this significant turning point in the political history of Nepal.

And I and my party are proud to be leading force of that positive historical change. Today I see a great hope in the glinting eyes of the dalit boy from the far west, downtrodden women from the indigenous nationality in the east, homeless Tharu girl and landless Madhesi and other peasants from the hills living under the thatched roofs. I intend to lead them with conviction and sincerity towards a new journey of sustainable peace and equitable progress in a modern Nepal. I have therefore the honour and great privilege of bringing with me the greetings and best wishes of the people and government of that new Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal to this august Assembly.

3. Following the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in November 2006 after a decade long armed struggle, we began our peace process and eventually held elections to the Constituent Assembly in April this year. People have overwhelmingly voted for my party and made us the single largest political party in the Assembly with great hope and expectations. At its first meeting, the Constituent Assembly declared Nepal a Federal Democratic Republic formally ending the 240-year old monarchy and creating a new opportunity to transform the old feudalistic state into an inclusive and federated ‘new Nepal’. This was in keeping with the long-standing aspirations of the Nepalese people. They voted in favour of change and transformation that my own party had fought for so many years. After the historic political transformations, our agenda now is to bring equally historic socio-economic transformation of the country.

Today I must inform you with all humility that our Constituent Assembly is the most inclusive representative body in which all marginalized, oppressed ethnic communities, indigenous nationalities, dalits, disadvantaged and the people from backward regions and communities are its members which will herald a new beginning in the country. This may very well be an example of representativeness to the world in the first decade of the twenty first century.

4. The Government is committed to restore law and order, provide relief to the people affected by the conflict, fight against the cancerous growth of corruption and start an economic recovery package focusing on pro-poor growth, infrastructure development and public private partnership. The government will build an effective partnership with the international community in creating an atmosphere for unleashing a new socio-economic transformation that the Nepalese people are waiting for so long.

5. Nepal’s peace process is unique in its characteristics and is based on multiparty democracy, inclusiveness, accommodation, dialogue, and the recognition of the people as the ultimate arbiter. It is the outcome of our own creative disposition toward peace and we feel that it can also serve as a reference model for peace elsewhere.

6. We appreciate the United Nation’s continued support to the peace process, especially in monitoring the management of arms and personnel through the United Nations mission in Nepal (UNMIN). The UN Mission has undertaken its mandated tasks well. I also take this opportunity to thank our neighbors, friends, donors for their continued support in favor of the peace process and the institutionalization of democracy in Nepal. I am confident that they would do so for unleashing its development potentials also as per the wish of the Nepalese people.

Mr. President,
7. As we proceed along the peace process within the country, new problems in the form of global food crisis, rising oil prices and imminent dangers from climate change stare us in the face. These challenges also undermine our achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). There will be no success in achieving MDGs without ensuring them in the LDCs. Solemn pledges were made in the 2000 Millennium Declaration and in the 2002 World Conference on Financing for Development held in Monterrey. Many of these commitments are yet to be fulfilled and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals remains elusive to most the world’s poor people.

8. The United Nations agenda today has to tackle these development challenges and many other issues such as religious extremism and terrorism, proliferation of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction, transnational crimes such as drugs, human trafficking and money-laundering, continuing conflicts within and among states, and gross violations of human rights, genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. It is more than obvious that many of these global problems require global solutions. Together we can rise to the occasion and adopt a vision and strategy that the founders of the United Nations Organization charted in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the Organization. Multilateralism, not unilateralism is the answer to these problems.

9. The least developed countries like Nepal are faced with the special predicament in their development efforts. We are trapped in a vicious circle of poverty. For many historical reasons, we have low economic growth, low productivity, underdeveloped industries and traditional agriculture. Because of the low level of social indicators and less opportunities, conflict and crisis continue to be prevalent in these countries. Today, the growing gap between the rich and the poor within the country as well as between the nations is a sure sign of a looming disaster. It is also inhuman and unjust that such as high level of inequality is still so common in this age of human achievements, abundance and progress.

Equally important is the fact that islands of prosperity in the sea of poverty is not sustainable and certainly not in the enlightened self-interest of even the developed countries themselves, as it breeds resentment, fuels conflict and undermines their own progress in the long run. It also goes against the fundamental spirit of the United Nations. Because of the peculiar nature of the lDCs and their high level of vulnerabilities, I strongly urge that the issues of the LDCs should be looked at by the United Nations separately and with special focus programs. They should be ensured dedicated support and cooperation if we want to make our world just and inclusive that the United Nations so proudly espouses.

10. We are not only least developed but also land-locked. That is a double disadvantage in our efforts to fulfill the development aspirations. In fact, we feel further marginalized due to the overwhelming impact of the downside of globalization and the high cost of doing trade. We want full implementation of the respective global compacts, the Brussels Program of Action for the Least Developed Countries and the Almaty Program of Action for the Landlocked Developing Countries. In particular, I would like to highlight the need in the part of our developed country partners to fulfill the commitment and pledges in allocating certain percentage of their GNP to these countries and in making available trade concessions , debt relief like to commit that Nepal will fulfill its pledge to own its development programs in accordance with its national priorities including on poverty reduction and pro-poor governance policies.

11. We need to protect our people from the rising vulnerabilities of climate change. For example, in my own country Nepal, the meting of glaciers and shifting weather patterns, are threatening the life support systems, undermining the sustainability of agriculture and inducing extreme climate-induced disasters such as frequent floods and landslides. The Himalayan range provides life supporting water downstream for more than a billion people. The Mt. Everest, as the roof of the world, and the Himalayan range need to be protected and utilized properly to contribute to the humanity as a whole. So I strongly appeal to the international community to extend all necessary support and cooperation to protect and promote its pristine environment. We need to create a regime of common but differentiated responsibilities, in which the developed counties will lift the burdens of adaptation in the vulnerable countries, such as the least developed countries and small islands. The world will stand to benefit in addressing the climate change if we are able to harness the tremendous potentials of Nepal’s hydro-power as it a renewable and clean source of energy. For this, Nepal is ready to invite and encourage investment in its hydro-power projects.

Mr. President,

12. I am pleased that UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific has been now operational from Kathmandu twenty years after it was established by this august Assembly. I thank all the members, courtiers from the region and the Secretary General and the officials of the Secretariat for the smooth relocation of the Centre from New York to Kathmandu. I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate Nepal’s commitment to make this Centre successful through the cooperation of all the countries concerned.

13. Over the years, peacekeeping has evolved as the soul of the United Nations. With this in mind, Nepal has been regularly sanding its peacekeepers at the call of the United Nations since 1958. We are celebratory the 50th anniversary of Nepal’s continuous participation in the UN peacekeeping operations, I take this opportunity to reiterate Nepal’s commitment that we will continue to provide our troops for the cause of peace worldwide. Today, Nepal is the fifth largest contributor of troops and police personnel to UN’s peacekeeping operations. We are glad that they have earned accolades for their professional competence and performance both at home and abroad. We consider this our modest contribution to international peace and security

14. Enjoyment of universal human rights is absolutely essential in creating the environment of peace, justice, democracy and development. As a democracy, Nepal is fully committed to protect and promote the human rights of its people under all circumstances with constitutional and legal guarantees and implementation of the international human rights instruments to which Nepal is a party. The government is committed to end the environment of impunity. The proposed Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which will seek to arrive at a necessary balance between peace and justice, so that there is justice, and that the centrality of the peace process is preserved. We will continue to strengthen the National Human Rights Commission so that it can take up its statutory responsibility for protection and promotion of human rights in the country even more effectively. It goes without saying that the environment for the protection and promotion of human rights in Nepal has significantly improved, especially after the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement in November 2006.

Mr. President,
15. As a least developed country that entered the World Trade Organization not too long ago, Nepal is concerned at the lack of tangible progress in negotiations on the Doha Development Agenda. We think that the opportunities in world trade through multilateral trading framework of the WTO should not be delayed any further. The lest developed countries deserve a duty free and quota free market access for all their tradable products from all major countries with sincerity, together with more favorable rules of origin and the support for enhancing their supply side capacity. Only then the Doha Round would be development round in the real sense of the word. Without meaningful integration of the LDSs into the global regime, I do not know how we can make the global trading regime sustainable, equitable and inclusive. Similarly, the least developed countries need more aid for trade and trade facilitation measures to enhance trading capacity.

16. Today, the United Nations needs to reform and democratize itself to take on the numerous challenges in international peace and security effectively. And it should also reflect the current realities of the world. We should also give necessary credibility, legitimacy, competence and effectiveness to the world body in solving the global problems. I take this opportunity to reiterate Nepal’s solemn faith and commitment to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter. On behalf of the people and government of Nepal, pledge to work with all of you to take on the global challenges thought the United Nations in a spirit of goodwill, cooperation and mutual solidarity. It is with the belief that we have adopted them as one of the tenets of Nepal’s foreign policy. Nepal is an example of how swords have been turned into ploughshares. That is what the United Nations believes in. Therefore, as I address this gathering here, I have a special feeling about the whole objectives and ideals that the United Nations stand for and the co-relationship between those ideals and the political, economic and social transformation that we would like to achieve in our country. May we all succeed in attaining our common objectives thought our collective and sincere efforts as the united and inseparable members of the single global family?

I thank you!

Could American Stories be any Cheesier?

Thanks to my friend Chuck for this laugh riot. Right from the headlines of cliches, IMAX presents a gem of American Propaganda. It has it all.

Press Statement from the RNC Welcoming Committee!

RNC Welcoming Committee Call

RNC Welcoming Committee Call

10am Thursday, 627 Smith Avenue, St. Paul.
Photo and interview opportunities
Contact:, 202-277-5262

In light of the massive police and military violence playing out each day of the Republican National Convention, the targeting, entrapment, and persecution of protest logistics organizers, the inhumane conditions that continue for the hundreds of people in the Ramsey County Jail, and the harassment of supporters outside the jail, we in the RNC Welcoming Committee are not backing down from our organizing. The Welcoming Committee is working harder than ever to ensure that our friends and comrades are safe and that protesters who are speaking their minds in the face of repression have access to food, housing, bicycles, a meeting space, workshops, legal/jail support, and medical care.

The St Paul Police Department, the City of St Paul, and particularly Bob Fletcher with the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department have labeled us a “criminal enterprise”, painting a picture of us and other anti-RNC organizers as faceless terrorists. On Thursday, September 4th at 10 AM on the 2nd floor of the RNC Convergence Space at 627 Smith Ave S., we will show the true faces and stories of the RNC Welcoming Committee.

We will show the 2nd floor of the convergence center as it was arranged at the time of the police raid last Friday night. We will give the latest information on the RNC 8, and we will take and answer questions. Afterwards, several members of the Welcoming Committee will be available for interview and photo opportunities.

The joint press conference will also feature the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign.

A Critique of ISO on Identity Politics

A Chinese Poster displaying the alliance of all oppressed peoples fighting Imperialism

A poster from Maoist China displaying the alliance of all oppressed peoples fighting Imperialism

In an article “The politics of identity” published in the journal of the International Socialist Organization (ISO), a Trotskyist group in the US, Sharon Smith argues:

“At the most basic material level, no one group of workers ever benefits from particular forms of oppression.”(1)

Smith’s reasoning: “Whenever capitalists can force a higher paid group of workers to compete with a lower paid group, wages tend to drop. . . . The only beneficiaries are capitalists, who earn bigger profits, while ensuring the survival of the rule of the profit system.”

Smith’s argument, an attempt to undermine identity politics and “counterpos[e] to it a Marxist analysis,” greatly oversimplifies the problems of race, gender, and sexual orientation. Rather than a Marxist analysis, a concrete analysis of concrete conditions, the argument reduces social reality and its multiple contradictions into a single abstract contradiction between Labor and Capital.

While the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie is the fundamental contradiction in capitalist society, the social relations in capitalist society are too complex and particular to be reduced to extensions of the fundamental contradiction. These social relations have their own histories and particularities. They have to be understood in their own right.

All revolutionary-minded people share the commitment to developing a movement to end all exploitation and oppression. Class reductionism holds back this process.

In the final analysis, no groups of oppressed and exploited people have a historic interest in capitalism. However, the system is structured in ways that different classes and strata effectively play roles of maintaining oppression.

Within capitalism, these classes and strata do benefit “at the most basic material level” from certain forms of oppression of others. Material interests under capitalism need to be distinguished from the larger historic interests of oppressed and exploited people. These larger historic interests can only be understood from the perspective of revolutionizing the existing social conditions.

Smith’s reasoning and the only reasoning offered in the article for her position — “[w]henever capitalists can force a higher paid group of workers to compete with a lower paid group, wages tend to drop” — comes essentially from a trade unionist, not a communist, perspective. It is confined within the logic of the capitalist system.

As long as the only issue at stake is the increase or decrease of wages, as long as the discussion does not break out of the realm of possibility of capitalist production relations, the solution for higher paid groups of workers to wage competition is to restrict the labor market and support protectionist trade policies, rather than fight oppression.

As demonstrated by the ugly history of the labor movement in the U.S., from the exclusion of women and Black people by unions to the campaigns against Asian immigration and the ethnic cleansing of Chinese people throughout the West Coast, from the chauvinist “Buy American” campaigns to the collaboration of the AFL-CIO with U.S. imperialism, the trade unionist perspective in this country inevitably leads to reaction.

Furthermore, Smith’s reasoning cannot explain the role of oppression on its own economic terms. If there exist stable groups of lower paid workers, why don’t capitalists employ more of them? Why are the unemployment and underemployment rates among oppressed people consistently higher than, even double or triple, the national rates?

It is only from a communist perspective, from the standpoint of the abolition of wages, the crossing of the narrow horizon of bourgeois right, and the abolition of the proletariat as a class, that the role of oppression in capitalist society becomes clear. The oppression of non-white people, women, and LGBTQ people helps to reproduce the conditions of capitalist production by preventing a combined political challenge to the system.

The system prevents this political challenge and the development of revolutionary movements of exploited and oppressed people through the relative material privileges extended to all white people, all men, and all heterosexual people based on their membership in these groups. Recognition of this is the key element missing from Smith’s piece. These material privileges reinforce racist, sexist, homophobic ideas. The fight against the structures that create these privileges and ideas is central to the development of revolutionary consciousness.

Lenin used the concept of “privilege” to describe the national privileges extended to oppressor nationalities under imperialism.(2) In her path-breaking essay “The Question of Women’s Leadership in People’s War in Nepal,” Comrade Parvati, a leader of the Nepali Maoists, used the concept of privilege to describe male privileges, such as the “monopoly on mental work” granted to men by the “old traditional division of labor” and the corresponding relegation of women to manual work, and argued that male cadre in the revolutionary party must struggle to “[relinquish] the privileged position bestowed on them by the patriarchal structure.”(3)

The concept of “false consciousness,” which Smith employs, does not explain why racist, sexist, and homophobic ideas are widespread in this society and why people act on them. Saying that the effects of these ideas on people’s behaviors “vary from individual to individual” and “change according to changing circumstances” does not explain why these ideas, and not others, are dominant.

The contradictions between white people and non-white people, between men and women, between heterosexual people and LGBTQ people are rooted in material reality. As Lenin made the distinction between oppressor nations and oppressed nations, Marxists today must make the distinction between oppressor and oppressed in each of these social relations.

Saying, as Smith does, that “Both exploitation and oppression are rooted in capitalism. . . . In each case, the enemy is one and the same,” overlooks the fact that all white people, all men, and all heterosexual people perpetuate oppressive social relations through their normal participation in society, even though these relations are indeed rooted ultimately in capitalist state power and can only be fully uprooted through proletarian state power.

Furthermore, each of these contradictions must also be understood in its particularity and resolved in its particularity. The contradiction of race, inseparable from the system of national oppression in the U.S. and the existence of the U.S. as a prison-house of nations where a dominant Euro-American nationality oppresses entire subject nations and nationalities, will be resolved differently than the contradiction of gender, which predates capitalist society and is bound up with the existence of private property. As Mao wrote, “Qualitatively different contradictions can only be resolved by qualitatively different methods.”(4)

Smith’s solution — “[build] a united movement against capitalism” that will “train workers to act in solidarity with all those who are oppressed and exploited by capitalism” — does not deal with the need to deliberately uproot the contradictions of race, gender, sexual orientation, as well as the contradictions between mental and manual labor, between urban and rural areas, and others.

Resolving these contradictions in their particularity is part of the communist transformation of society. This transformation begins in our mass organizations and revolutionary parties, to the extent possible in the old society, and continues under the dictatorship of the proletariat until humanity reaches a classless, stateless world. Marx summed up the goal of the communist project and Zhang Chunqiao gave it the name of the “Four Alls”(5):

“[S]ocialism is the declaration of the permanence of the revolution, the class dictatorship of the proletariat as the necessary transit point to the abolition of class distinctions generally, to the abolition of all the relations of production on which they rest, to the abolition of all the social relations that correspond to these relations of production, to the revolutionizing of all the ideas that result from these social relations.”(6)

1. Sharon Smith, The politics of identity, International Socialist Review, January-February 2008,
2. V.I. Lenin, Theses on the National Question, June 1913,
3. Com. Parvati, The Question of Women’s Leadership in People’s War in Nepal, January 2003,
4. Mao Tse-tung, On Contradiction, August 1937,
5. Chang Chun-chiao, On Exercising All-Round Dictatorship Over the Bourgeoisie, 1975,
6. Karl Marx, The Class Struggles in France: 1848-1850, October 1850,

On Exercising All-Round Dictatorship Over the Bourgeoisie

[We at ‘Good Morning, Revolution!’ are going to be presenting a series of articles of relevance on the question of Socialism today in China. Some of these articles will be historical to the fight against the Revisionist road during the Cultural Revolution, Some of these articles will be on the actualized conditions of the Chinese people, and we will present a few in defense of ‘socialism’ as it exists in China. We at Good Morning, Revolution more or less agree that China had embarked on the Capitalist Road soon after the death of Mao Zedong and can’t be rightfully said to be Socialist. However the recent death of Hua Goufeng – Mao’s successor in the role of Chairman of the Party – has resparked this very much had debate. Its a debate that is worth having again to defeat revisionism.  We therefore post up first the well known and most valuable essay “On Exercising All-Round Dictatorship Over the Bourgeoisie” by Zhang Chunqiao. We will of course be offering our own summation after a study of these documents and more.]

Smash Revisionism!

Quotations from Chairman Mao

Why did Lenin speak of exercising dictatorship over the bourgeoisie? It is essential to get this question clear. Lack of clarity on this question will lead to revisionism. This should be made known to the whole nation.

Our country at present practises a commodity system, the wage system is unequal, too, as in the eight-grade wage scale, and so forth. Under the dictatorship of the proletariat such things can only be restricted. Therefore, if people like Lin Piao come to power, it will be quite easy for them to rig up the capitalist system. That is why we should do more reading of Marxist-Leninist works.

Lenin said that “small production engenders capitalism and the bourgeoisie continuously, daily, hourly, spontaneously, and on a mass scale.” They are also engendered among a part of the working class and of the Party membership. Both within the ranks of the proletariat and among the personnel of state and other organs there are people who take to the bourgeois style of life.


THE question of the dictatorship of the proletariat has long been the focus of the struggle between Marxism and revisionism. Lenin said, “Only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat.” And it is precisely to enable us to go by Marxism and not revisionism in both theory and practice that Chairman Mao calls on the whole nation to get clear on the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Our country is in an important period of its historical development. As a result of more than two decades of socialist revolution and socialist construction, and particularly of the liquidation of the bourgeois headquarters of Liu Shao-chi and of Lin Piao in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, our proletarian dictatorship is more consolidated than ever, and our socialist cause is thriving. Full of militancy, all our people are determined to build China into a powerful socialist country before the end of the century. In the course of this effort and in the entire historical period of socialism, whether we can persevere all the way in the dictatorship of the proletariat is a cardinal issue for China’s future development. Current class struggles, too, require that we should get clear on the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Chairman Mao says, “Lack of clarity on this question will lead to revisionism.” it won’t do if only a few people grasp the point; it must “be made known to the whole nation.” The present and long-range importance of success in this study cannot be overestimated.

As early as 1920, Lenin, basing himself on practical experience in leading the Great October Socialist Revolution and directing the first state of proletarian dictatorship, pointed out sharply, “The dictatorship of the proletariat is a most determined and most ruthless war waged by the new class against a more powerful enemy, the bourgeoisie, whose resistance is increased tenfold by its overthrow (even if only in one country), and whose power lies not only in the strength of international capital, in the strength and durability of the international connections o the bourgeoisie, but also in the force of habit, in the strength of small production. For, unfortunately, small production is still very, very widespread in the world, and small production engenders capitalism and the bourgeoisie continuously, daily, hourly, spontaneously, and on a mass scale. For all these reasons the dictatorship of the proletariat is essential.” Lenin pointed out that the dictatorship of the proletariat is a persistent struggle—bloody and bloodless, violent and peaceful, military and economic, educational and administrative—against the forces and traditions of the old society, that it means all-round dictatorship over the bourgeoisie. Lenin stressed time and again that it is impossible to triumph over the bourgeoisie without exercising a protracted, all-round dictatorship over it. These words of Lenin’s, especially those he underscored, have been confirmed by practice in subsequent years. Sure enough, new bourgeois elements have been engendered batch after batch, and it is precisely the Khrushchov-Brezhnev renegade clique that is their representative. These people generally have a good class background; almost all of them were brought up under the red flag; they have joined the Communist Party organizationally, received college training and become so-called red experts. However, they are new poisonous weeds engendered by the old soil of capitalism. They have betrayed their own class, usurped Party and state power, restored capitalism, become chieftains of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie over the proletariat, and accomplished what Hitler had tried to do but failed. Never should we forget this experience of history in which “the satellites went up to the sky while the red flag fell to the ground,” especially not at this time when we are determined to build a powerful country.

We must be soberly aware that there is still a danger of China turning revisionist. This is not only because imperialism and social-imperialism will never give up aggression and subversion against us, not only because China’s old landlords and capitalists are still around and unreconciled to their defeat, but also because new bourgeois elements are being engendered daily and hourly, as Lenin put it. Some comrades argue that Lenin was referring to the situation before collectivization. This is obviously incorrect. Lenin’s remarks are not out of date at all. These comrades may look up Chairman Mao’s On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People published in 1957. There Chairman Mao shows by concrete analysis that after the basic victory in the socialist transformation of the system of ownership, which includes the achievement of agricultural co-operation, there still exist in China classes, class contradictions and class struggle, and there still exist both harmony and contradiction between the relations of production and the productive forces and between the superstructure and the economic base. Having summed up the new experience of the dictatorship of the proletariat after Lenin, Chairman Mao gave systematic answers to various questions arising after the change in the system of ownership, set forth the tasks and policies of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and laid the theoretical basis for the Party’s basic line and for continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. Practice in the past 18 years, particularly in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, has proved that the theory, line and policies advanced by Chairman Mao are entirely correct.

Chairman Mao pointed out recently, “In a word, China is a socialist country. Before liberation she was much the same as a capitalist country. Even now she practises an eight-grade wage system, distribution according to work and exchange through money, and in all this differs very little from the old society. What is different is that the system of ownership has been changed.” In order to gain a deeper understanding of Chairman Mao’s instruction, let us look at the changes in the system of ownership in China and the proportions of the various economic sectors in China’s industry, agriculture and commerce in 1973.

First, industry. Industry under ownership by the whole people covered 97 per cent of the fixed assets of industry as a whole, 63 per cent of the people engaged in industry, and 86 per cent of the value of total industrial output. Industry under collective ownership covered 3 per cent of the fixed assets, 36.2 per cent of the people engaged in industry, and 14 per cent of the total output value. Besides these, individual handicraftsmen made up 0.8 per cent of the people engaged in industry.

Next, agriculture. Among the agricultural means of production, about 90 per cent of the farmland and of the irrigation-drainage machinery and about 80 per cent of the tractors and draught animals were under collective ownership. Here ownership by the whole people made up a very small proportion. Hence, over 90 per cent of the nation’s grain and various industrial crops came from the collective economy. The state farms accounted for only a small proportion. Apart from these, there still remained the small plots farmed by commune members for their personal needs, and a limited amount of household side-line production.

Then commerce. State commerce accounted for 92.5 per cent of the total volume of retail sales, collectively owned commercial enterprises for 7.3 per cent, and individual pedlars for 0.2 per cent. Apart from these, there still remained the sizable amount of trade conducted at rural fairs.

The above figures show that socialist ownership by the whole people and socialist collective ownership by working people have indeed won a great victory in China. The dominant position of ownership by the whole people has been greatly enhanced and there have also been some changes in the economy of the people’s communes as regards the proportions of ownership at the three levels- commune, production brigade and production team. On Shanghai’s outskirts, for example, income at the commune level in proportion to total income rose from 28.1 per cent in 1973 to 30.5 per cent in 1974, that of the brigades rose from 15.2 per cent to 17.2 per cent, while the proportion going to the teams dropped from 56.7 per cent to 52.3 per cent. The people’s commune has demonstrated ever more clearly its superiority, consisting in its larger size and higher degree of public ownership. In so far as we have, step by step in the past 25 years, eliminated ownership by imperialism, bureaucrat-capitalism and feudalism, transformed ownership by national capitalism and by individual labourers and replaced these five kinds of private ownership with the two kinds of socialist public ownership, we can proudly declare that the system of ownership in China has changed, that the proletariat and other working people in China have in the main freed themselves from the shackles of private ownership, and that China’s socialist economic base has been gradually consolidated and developed. The Constitution adopted by the Fourth National People’s Congress specifically records these great victories of ours.

However, we must see that with respect to the system of ownership the issue is not yet fully settled. We often say that the issue of ownership “has in the main been settled”; this means that it has not been settled entirely, and also that bourgeois right has not been totally abolished in this realm. The statistics cited above show that private ownership still exists partially in industry, agriculture and commerce, that socialist public ownership does not consist entirely of ownership by the whole people but includes two kinds of ownership, and that ownership by the whole people is still rather weak in agriculture, which is the foundation of the national economy. The disappearance of bourgeois right in the realm of the system of ownership in a socialist society, as conceived by Marx and Lenin, implies the conversion of all the means of production into the common property of the whole of society. Clearly we have not yel reached that stage. Neither in theory nor in practice should we overlook the very arduous tasks tha lie ahead for the dictatorship of the proletariat ir this respect.

Moreover, we must see that both ownership b the whole people and collective ownership involve the question of leadership, that is, the question of which class holds the ownership in fact and no just in name.

Speaking at the First Plenary Session of the Ninth Central Committee of the Party on April 28 1969, Chairman Mao said, “Apparently, we couldn’t do without the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, for our base was not solid. From m observations, I am afraid that in a fairly large majority of factories — I don’t mean all or the overwhelming majority — leadership was not in the hands of real Marxists and the masses of workers. Not that there were no good people in the leadership of the factories. There were. There were good people among the secretaries, deputy secretaries and members of Party committees and among the Party branch secretaries. But they followed that line of Liu Shao-chi’s, just resorting to material incentive, putting profit in command, and instead of promoting proletarian politics, handing out bonuses, and so forth.” “But there are indeed bad people in the factories.” “This shows that the revolution is still unfinished.” Chairman Mao’s remarks not only explain the necessity for the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution but also help us be more aware that in the problem of the system of ownership, as in all others, we should pay attention not only to its form but also to its actual content. It is perfectly correct for people to give full weight to the decisive role of the system of ownership in the relations of production. But it is incorrect to give no weight to whether the issue of ownership has been resolved merely in form or in actual fact, to the reaction upon the system of ownership exerted by the two other aspects of the relations of production — the relations among people and the form of distribution — and to the reaction upon the economic base exerted by the superstructure; these two aspects and the superstructure may play a decisive role under given conditions. Politics is the concentrated expression of economics. Whether the ideological and political line is correct or incorrect, and which class holds the leadership, decides which class owns those factories in actual fact. Comrades may recall how we turned any enterprise owned by bureaucrat capital or national capital into a socialist enterprise. Didn’t we do the job by sending a military-control representative or a state representative there to transform it according to the Party’s line and policies? Historically, every major change in the system of ownership, be it the replacement of slavery by the feudal system or of feudalism by capitalism, was invariably preceded by the seizure of political power, which was then used to effect large-scale change in the system of ownership and consolidate and develop the new system. Even more is this the case with socialist public ownership which cannot be born under the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Bureaucrat capital, which controlled 80 per cent of the industry in old China, could be transformed and placed under ownership by the whole people only after the People’s Liberation Army had defeated Chiang Kai-shek. Similarly, a capitalist restoration is inevitably preceded by the seizure of leadership and a change in the line and policies of the Party. Wasn’t this the way Khrushchov and Brezhnev changed the system of ownership in the Soviet Union? Wasn’t this the way Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao changed the nature of a number of our factories and other enterprises to varying degrees?

Also, we must see that what we are practising today is a commodity system. Chairman Mao says, “Our country at present practises a commodity system, the wage system is unequal, too, as in the eight-grade wage scale, and so forth. Under the dictatorship of the proletariat such things can only be restricted. Therefore, if people like Lin Piao come to power, it will be quite easy for them to rig up the capitalist system.” This state of affairs which Chairman Mao pinpointed cannot be changed in a short period. For instance, in the rural people’s communes on the outskirts of Shanghai where the economy at the commune and production brigade levels has developed at a rather fast pace, commune ownership accounts for 34.2 per cent of the fixed assets owned at all three levels, and brigade ownership accounts for only 15.1 per cent, while ownership by the production teams still occupies 50.7 per cent of the whole. Therefore, even if we take economic conditions in the communes alone, it will require a fairly long time to effect the transition from the team as the basic accounting unit to the brigade and then to the commune. Moreover, even when the commune becomes the basic accounting unit, the ownership will still be collective. Thus, in the short term, there will be no basic change in the situation in which ownership by the whole people and collective ownership co-exist. So long as we still have these two kinds of ownership, commodity production, exchange through money and distribution according to work are inevitable. And since “under the dictatorship of the proletariat such things can only be restricted,” the growth of capitalist factors in town and country and the emergence of new bourgeois elements are likewise inevitable. If such things are not restricted, capitalism and the bourgeoisie will grow more rapidly. Therefore, on no account should we relax our vigilance just because we have won a great victory in the transformation of the system of ownership and carried out one Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. We must realize that our economic base is not yet solid, that bourgeois right has not yet been abolished entirely in the system of ownership, and that it still exists to a serious extent in the relations among people and holds a dominant position in distribution. In the various spheres of the superstructure, some areas are in fact still controlled by the bourgeoisie which has the upper hand there; some are being transformed but the results are not yet consolidated, and old ideas and the old force of habit are still stubbornly obstructing the growth of socialist new things. New bourgeois elements are engendered, batch after batch, in the wake of the development of capitalist factors in town and country. The class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, the class struggle between the different political forces, and the class struggle in the ideological field between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie will continue to be long and tortuous and at times will even become very acute. Even when all the landlords and capitalists of the old generation have died, such class struggles will by no means come to a stop, and a bourgeois restoration may still occur if people like Lin Piao come to power. In his speech The Situation and Our Policy After the Victory in the War of Resistance Against Japan, Chairman Mao described how in 1936, near the site of the Party Central Committee in Pao-an, there was a fortified village held by a handful of armed counter-revolutionaries who obstinately refused to surrender until the Red Army stormed into it to settle the problem. This story has a universal significance, for it tells us: “Everything reactionary is the same; if you don’t hit it, it won’t fall. It is like sweeping the floor; where the broom does not reach, the dust never vanishes of itself.” Today there are still many “fortified villages” held by the bourgeoisie; when one is destroyed, another will spring up, and even if all have been destroyed except one, it will not vanish of itself if the iron broom of the dictatorship of the proletariat does not reach it. Lenin was entirely correct in saying, “For all these reasons the dictatorship of the proletariat is essential.”

Historical experience shows us that whether the proletariat can triumph over the bourgeoisie and whether China will turn revisionist hinges on whether we can persevere in exercising all-round dictatorship over the bourgeoisie in all spheres and at all stages of development of the revolution. What is all-round dictatorship over the bourgeoisie? The most succinct generalization is found in a passage from a letter Marx wrote in 1852 to J. Weydemeyer, which we are all studying. Marx said, “…no credit is due to me for discovering the existence of classes in modern society, nor yet the struggle between them. Long before me bourgeois historians had described the historical development of this struggle of the classes, and bourgeois economists the economic anatomy of the classes, What I did that was new was to prove: 1) that the existence of classes is only bound up with particular historical phases in the development of production; 2) that the class struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat; 3) that this dictatorship itself only constitutes the transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society.” In this splendid observation, Lenin said, Marx succeeded in expressing with striking clarity the chief and radical difference between his theory on the state and that of the bourgeoisie, and the essence of his teaching on the state. Here it should be noted that Marx divided the sentence on the dictatorship of the proletariat into three points, which are interrelated and cannot be cut apart. It is impermissible to accept only one of the three points while rejecting the other two. For the sentence gives complete expression to the entire process of the inception, development and withering away of the dictatorship of the proletariat and covers the whole task of the dictatorship of the proletariat and its actual content. In The Class Struggles in France, 1848-1850, Marx deals in more specific terms with this dictatorship of the proletariat as the necessary transit point to the abolition of class distinctions generally, to the abolition of all the relations of production on which they rest, to the abolition of all the social relations that correspond to these relations of production, and to the revolutionizing of all the ideas that result from these social relations. In all the four cases, Marx means all. Not a part, a greater part, or even the greatest part, but all! This is nothing surprising, for only by emancipating all mankind can the proletariat achieve its own final emancipation. The only way to attain this goal is to exercise all-round dictatorship over the bourgeoisie and carry the continued revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat through to the end, until the above-mentioned four alls are banished from the earth so that it will be impossible for the bourgeoisie and all other exploiting classes to exist or for new ones to arise; we definitely must not call a halt along the path of the transition. In our view, only those who understand the matter this way can be deemed to have grasped the essence of Marx’s teaching on the state. Comrades, please think it over: If the matter is not understood in this way, if Marxism is limited, curtailed and distorted in theory and practice, if the dictatorship of the proletariat is turned into an empty phrase, or all-round dictatorship over the bourgeoisie is crippled by amputation and exercised only in some spheres but not in all, or only at a certain stage (for instance, before the transformation of the system of ownership) but not at all stages, or in other words, if not all of the “fortified villages” of the bourgeoisie are destroyed but some are left, allowing the bourgeoisie to expand again, doesn’t this mean preparing the conditions for bourgeois restoration? Doesn’t it mean turning the dictatorship of the proletariat into a thing that protects the bourgeoisie, particularly the newly engendered bourgeoisie? All workers, all poor and lower-middle peasants and other working people who refuse to be plunged back into suffering and woe, all Communists who have dedicated their lives to the struggle for communism, and all comrades who do not want China to turn revisionist, must firmly bear in mind this basic principle of Marxism: It is imperative to exercise all- round dictatorship over the bourgeoisie, and absolutely impermissible to give it up half-way. There are undeniably some comrades among us who have joined the Communist Party organizationally but not ideologically. In their world outlook they have not yet over-stepped the bounds of small production and of the bourgeoisie. They do approve of the dictatorship of the proletariat at a certain stage and within a certain sphere and are pleased with certain victories of the proletariat, because these will bring them some gains; once they have secured their gains, they feel it’s time to settle down and feather their cosy nests. As for exercising all- round dictatorship over the bourgeoisie, as for going on after the first step on the 10,000-li long march, sorry, let others do the job; here is my stop and I must get off the bus. We would like to offer a piece of advice to these comrades: It’s dangerous to stop half-way! The bourgeoisie is beckoning to you. Catch up with the ranks and continue to advance!

Historical experience also teaches us that, as the dictatorship of the proletariat wins one victory after another, the bourgeoisie may pretend on the surface to accept this dictatorship while in reality it continues to work to restore the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. This is exactly what Khrushchov and Brezhnev have done. They changed neither the name “Soviet,” nor the name of the party of Lenin, nor the name “socialist republics.” But, accepting these names and using them as a cover, they have gutted the dictatorship of the proletariat of its actual content and turned it into a dictatorship of the monopoly capitalist class that is anti- Soviet, opposed to the party of Lenin and opposed to the socialist republics. They put forward the revisionist programme of “the state of the whole people” and “party of the entire people,” which is an open betrayal of Marxism. But when the Soviet people stand up against their fascist dictatorship, they hoist the flag of the dictatorship of the proletariat in order to suppress the masses. Similar things have happened in China. Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao did not limit themselves to spreading the theory of the dying out of class struggle; they, too, flaunted the flag of the dictatorship of the proletariat while suppressing the revolution. Didn’t Lin Piao preach his four “never forgets”? One of them was “never forget the dictatorship of the proletariat.” Indeed that was something he “never forgot,” only the words “to overthrow” need inserting to make it into “never forget to overthrow the dictatorship of the proletariat,” or as confessed by his own gang, “wave Chairman Mao’s banner to strike at Chairman Mao’s forces.” At times they trimmed their sails to the proletariat and even pretended to be more revolutionary than anyone else, raising “Left” slogans to create confusion and carry out sabotage, but they were usually waging a direct counter-struggle against the proletariat. You wanted to carry out socialist transformation? They said the new democratic order had to be consolidated. You wanted to organize co-operatives and communes? They said it was too early to do that. When you said literature and art should be revolutionized, they said it would do no harm to stage a few plays about ghosts. You wanted to restrict bourgeois right? They said it was an excellent thing indeed and should be extended. They are a bunch of past masters at defending old things and, like a swarm of flies, buzz all day long over the “birth marks” and “defects” of the old society referred to by Marx. They are particularly keen on taking advantage of the inexperience of our young people to boost material incentive to them, saying that like strong bean-curd cheese, it stinks but tastes fine. And they invariably wave the banner of socialism while carrying on these dirty tricks. Aren’t there some scoundrels who, engaging in speculation, graft and theft, say that they are promoting socialist co-operation? Don’t some instigators of crime who poison the minds of young people hoist the banner of “care and love for the successors to the cause of communism”? We must study their tactics and sum up our experience so as to exercise all-round dictatorship over the bourgeoisie more effectively.

“Are you out to stir up a wind of ‘communization’?” To fabricate rumours by posing such a question is a tactic which some persons have resorted to recently. We can give a definite answer: The wind of “communization” as stirred up by Liu Shao-chi and Chen Po-ta shall never be allowed to blow again. We have always held that, instead of having too much in the way of commodities, our country has not yet a sufficient abundance of them. So long as the communes cannot yet offer ‘Much to be “communized” along with what the production brigades and teams would bring in, and enterprises under ownership by the whole people cannot offer a great abundance of products for distribution to each according to his needs among our 800 million people, we will have to continue practising commodity production, exchange through money and distribution according to work. We have taken and will continue to take proper measures to curb the harm caused by these things. The dictatorship of the proletariat is dictatorship by the masses. We are confident that under the leadership of the Party, the broad masses have the strength and the ability to fight against the bourgeoisie and finally vanquish it. Old China was a vast sea of small production. Conducting socialist education among several hundred million peasants is a serious question at all times and requires the endeavour of several generations. But among the several hundred million peasants, the poor and lower-middle peasants form the majority, and they know from practice that the only path to the bright future for them is to follow the Communist Party and keep on along the socialist road. Our Party has relied upon them to forge unity with the middle peasants for the step-by-step advance from mutual- aid teams to the elementary and advanced agricultural producers’ co-operatives and then to the people’s communes, and we can surely lead them in further advance.

We would rather call the attention of comrades to the fact that it is another kind of wind that is now blowing — the “bourgeois wind.” This is the bourgeois style of life Chairman Mao has pointed to, an evil wind stirred up by those “parts” of the people who have degenerated into bourgeois elements. The “bourgeois wind” blowing from among those Communists, particularly leading cadres, who belong to these “parts,” does us the greatest of harm. Poisoned by this evil wind, some people have got their heads full of bourgeois ideas; they scramble for position and gain and feel proud of this, instead of being ashamed. Some have sunk to the point of looking at everything as a commodity, themselves included. They join the Communist Party and go to work for the proletariat merely for the sake of upgrading themselves as commodities and asking the proletariat for a higher price. Those who are Communists in name but new bourgeois elements in reality exhibit the features of the decadent and moribund bourgeoisie as a whole. Historically, when the slave-owning, landlord and capitalist classes were in the ascendancy, they did some things of benefit to mankind. But today’s new bourgeois elements are heading in the opposite direction to their forefathers. They are nothing but a heap of “new” garbage that can only harm mankind. Among the rumour-mongers about a wind of “communization” being stirred up, some are new bourgeois elements who have taken public property into their private possession and fear that the people will “communize” it again; others want to use the chance to grab something for themselves. These people have a better nose than many of our comrades. Some of our comrades say that study is an “elastic” task that can yield precedence to others, whereas these people have sensed by instinct that the present study is an “inelastic” matter gravely confronting both classes, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Indeed they themselves may deliberately stir up some wind of “communization,” or take over one of our own slogans in order to confuse the two different types of contradictions and play some unexpected trick. This is worth watching.

Under the leadership of the Party Central Committee headed by Chairman Mao, the mighty army of the proletarian revolution formed by China’s masses in their hundreds of millions is striding vigorously forward. We have 25 years of practical experience in exercising the dictatorship of the proletariat, as well as all the international experience since the Paris Commune, and so long as the few hundred members of our Party Central Committee and the several thousand senior cadres take the lead and join the vast numbers of other cadres and the masses in reading and studying assiduously, carrying on investigation and analysis and summing up experience, we can certainly translate Chairman Mao’s call into reality, gain clarity on the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and ensure our country’s triumphant advance along the course charted by Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought. “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.” This infinitely bright prospect will surely continue to inspire growing numbers of awakened workers and other working people and their vanguard, the Communists, to keep to the Party’s basic line, persevere in exercising all-round dictatorship over the bourgeoisie and carry the continued revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat through to the end! The extinction of the bourgeoisie and all other exploiting classes and the victory of communism are inevitable, certain and independent of man’s will.