Classes And Class StruggleJanuary 30, 2022
Classes struggle, some classes triumph, others are eliminated. Such is history, such is the history of civilization for thousands of years. To interpret history from this viewpoint is historical materialism; standing in opposition to this viewpoint is historical idealism."Cast Away Illusions, Prepare for Struggle" (August 14, 1949), Selected Works, Vol. 4 p. 428.
In class society everyone lives as a member of a particular class, and every kind of thinking, without exception, is stamped with the brand of a class."On Practice" (July 1937), Selected Works, Vol. I, p. 296.
Changes in society are due chiefly to the development of the internal contradictions in society, that is, the contradiction between the productive forces and the relations of production, the contradiction between classes and the contradiction between the old and the new; it is the development of these contradictions that pushes society forward and gives the impetus for the supercession of the old society by the new."On Contradiction" (August 1937), Selected Works, Vol. I, P. 314.
The ruthless economic exploitation and political oppression of the peasants by the landlord class forced them into numerous uprisings against its rule… It was the class struggles of the peasants, the peasant uprisings and peasant wars that constituted the real motive force of historical development in Chinese feudal society."The Chinese Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party" (December 1939), Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 308.*
In the final analysis, national struggle is a matter of class struggle. Among the whites in the United States it is only the reactionary ruling circles who oppress the black people. They can in no way represent the workers, farmers, revolutionary intellectuals and other enlightened persons who comprise the overwhelming majority of the white people."Statement Supporting the American Negroes in Their Just Struggle Against Racial Discrimination by U.S. Imperialism" (August 8, 1963), People of the World, Unite and Defeat the U.S. Aggressors and All Their Lackeys, 2nd ed., pp. 3-4.*
It is up to us to organize the people. As for the reactionaries in China, it is up to us to organize the people to overthrow them.
Everything reactionary is the same. If you don’t hit it, it won’t fall.
This is also like sweeping the floor. As a rule, where the broom does not reach, the dust will not vanish of itself."The Situation and Our Policy After the Victory in the War of Resistance Against Japan" (August 13, 1945), Selected Works, Vol. IV, p. 19.
The enemy will not perish of himself. Neither the Chinese reactionaries nor the aggressive forces of U.S. imperialism in China will step down from the stage of history of their own accord."Carry the Revolution Through to the End" (December 30, 1948), Selected Works, Vol. 4, p. 301.
A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another."Report on an Investigation of the Peasant Movement in Hunan " (March 1927), Selected Works, Vol. I, p. 28.*
Chiang Kai-shek always tries to get power and gain from the people.
Our policy is to give him tit for tat and to fight for every inch of land. We act after his fashion. He always tries to impose war on the people, one sword in his left hand and another in his right.
We take up swords, too, following his example… As Chiang Kai-shek is now sharpening his swords, we must sharpen ours too."The Situation and Our Policy After the Victory in the War of Resistance Against Japan" (August 13, 1945), Selected Works, Vol. IV, pp. 14-15.
Who are our enemies? Who are our friends?
All previous revolutionary struggles in China achieved so little because of their failure to unite with real friends in order to attack real enemies. A revolutionary party is the guide of the masses, and no revolution ever succeeds when the revolutionary party leads them astray.
To ensure that we will definitely achieve success in our revolution and will not lead the masses astray, we must pay attention touniting with our real friends in order to attack our real enemies.
To distinguish real friends from real enemies, we must make a general analysis of the economic status of the various classes in Chinese society and of their respective attitudes towards the revolution."Analysis of the Classes in Chinese Society" (March 1926), Selected Works, Vol. I, p. 13.
Our enemies are all those in league with imperialism - the warlords, the bureaucrats, the comprador class, the big Landlord class and the reactionary section of the intelligentsia attached to them.
The leading force in our revolution is the industrial proletariat. Our closest friends are the entire semi-proletariat and petty bourgeoisie. As for the vacillating middle bourgeoisie, their right-wing may become our enemy and their left-wing may become our friend - but we must be constantly on our guard and not let them create confusion within our ranks.
Whoever sides with the revolutionary people is a revolutionary. Whoever sides with imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism is a counter-revolutionary. Whoever sides with the revolutionary people in words only but acts otherwise is a revolutionary in speech. Whoever sides with the revolutionary people in deed as well as in word is a revolutionary in the full sense.
Closing speech at the Second Session of the First National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (June 23, 1950).
It is bad as far as we are concerned if a person, a political party, an army or a school is not attacked by the enemy, for in that case it would definitely mean that we have sunk to the level of the enemy. It is good if we are attacked by the enemy, since it proves that we have drawn a clear line of demarcation between the enemy and ourselves.
It is still better if the enemy attacks us wildly and paints us as utterly black and without a single virtue; it demonstrates that we have not only drawn a clear line of demarcation between the enemy and ourselves but achieved a great deal in our work.To Be Attacked by the Enemy Is Not a Bad Thing but a Good Thing (May 26, 1939), 1st pocket ed., p. 2.*
We should support whatever the enemy opposes and oppose whatever the enemy supports.“Interview with Three Correspondents from the Central News Agency, the Sao Tang Pao and the Hsin Min Pao” (September 16, 1939), Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 272.
Our stand is that of the proletariat and of the masses. For members of the Communist Party, this means keeping to the stand of the Party, keeping to Party spirit and Party policy."Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art" (May 1942), Selected Works, Vol. 3, p. 70.
After the enemies with guns have been wiped out, there will still be enemies without guns. They will struggle desperately against us. We must never regard these enemies lightly.
If we do not understand the problem in this way, we shall commit the gravest mistakes."Report to the Second Plenary Session of the Seventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China " (March 5, 1949), Selected Works, Vol. IV, p. 364.
The imperialists and domestic reactionaries will certainly not take their defeat lying down.
They will struggle to the last ditch. After there is peace and order throughout the country, they will still engage in sabotage and create disturbances in various ways and will try every day and every minute to stage a come-back.
This is inevitable and beyond all doubt, and under no circumstances must we relax our vigilance.Opening address at the First Plenary Session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (September 21. 1949).
In China, although in the main socialist transformation has been completed with respect to the system of ownership, and although the large-scale and turbulent class struggles of the masses characteristic of the previous revolutionary periods have in the main come to an end, there are still remnants of the overthrown landlord and comprador classes, there is still a bourgeoisie, and the remoulding of the petty bourgeoisie has only just started.
The class struggle is by no means over. The class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, the class struggle between the different political forces, and the class struggle in the ideological held between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie will continue to be long and tortuous and at times will even become very acute. The proletariat seeks to transform the world according to its own world outlook, and so does the bourgeoisie.
In this respect, the question of which will win out, socialism or capitalism, is still not really settled.On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People (February 27, 1957), 1st pocket ed., pp. 51-52.
It will take a long time to decide the issue in the ideological struggle between socialism and capitalism in our country. This is because the influence of the bourgeoisie and of the intellectuals who come from the old society will remain in our country for a long time. And so will their class ideology.
In China, bourgeois and petty-bourgeois ideology, anti-Marxist ideology, will continue to exist for a long time.
Basically, the socialist system has been established in our country. We have won the basic victory in transforming the ownership of the means of production, but we have not yet won complete victory on the political and ideological fronts.
In the ideological field, the question of who will win in the struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie has not been really settled yet. We still have to wage a protracted struggle against bourgeois and petty-bourgeois ideology.
It is wrong not to understand this and to give up ideological struggle. All erroneous ideas, all poisonous weeds, all ghosts and monsters, must be subjected to criticism; in no circumstance should they be allowed to spread unchecked.
However, the criticism should be fully reasoned, analytical and convincing, and not rough, bureaucratic, metaphysical or dogmatic.Speech at the Chinese Communist Party's National Conference on Propaganda Work (March 12, 1957), 1st pocket ed., pp. 26-27.*
Both dogmatism and revisionism run counter to Marxism. Marxism must certainly advance; it must develop along with the development of practice and cannot stand still. It would become lifeless if it remained stagnant and stereotyped. However, the basic principles of Marxism must never be violated, or otherwise mistakes will be made.
It is dogmatism to approach Marxism from a metaphysical point of view and to regard it as something rigid. It is revisionism to negate the basic principles of Marxism and to negate its universal truth. Revisionism is one form of bourgeois ideology.
The revisionists deny the differences between socialism and capitalism, between the dictatorship of the proletariat and the dictatorship of thebourgeoisie. What they advocate is in fact not the socialist line but the capitalist line. In present circumstances, revisionism is more pernicious than dogmatism.
One of our current important tasks on the ideological front is to unfold criticism of revisionism.
Revisionism, or Right opportunism, is a bourgeois trend of thought that is even more dangerous than dogmatism. The revisionists, the Right opportunists, pay lip-service to Marxism; they too attack “dogmatism”. But what they are really attacking is the quintessence of Marxism.
They oppose or distort materialism and dialectics, oppose or try to weaken the people’s democratic dictatorship and the leading role of the Communist Party, and oppose or try to weaken socialist transformation and socialist construction.
After the basic victory of the socialist revolution in our country, there are still a number of people who vainly hope to restore the capitalist system and fight the working class on every front, including the ideological one. And their right-hand men in this struggle are the revisionists.On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People (February 27, 1957), 1st pocket ed., pp. 56-57