the three old middle peasant households firmly refused to carry on and were allowed to withdraw, but the three poor peasant households said they would continue whatever happened. They did and the co-operative was preserved. As a matter of fact, the direction taken by these three poor peasant households is the direction the 500 million peasants of the country will take. All peasants now
farming individually will eventually take the road resolutely chosen by these three poor peasant households.
With the adoption of a policy that was called "resolute contraction" in Chekiang (not by decision of the Chekiang Provincial Party Committee), out of the 53,000 co-operatives in the province 15,000 (comprising 400,000 peasant households) were dissolved at a single stroke. This caused great dissatisfaction among the masses and the cadres, and it was altogether the wrong thing to do. This policy of "resolute contraction" was decided on in a state of panic. To take such a major step without the approval of the Central Committee was wrong too. Moreover, in April 1955 the Central Committee had already issued a warning: "Do not repeat the mistake of mass dissolution of co-operatives made in 1953, or otherwise you will again have to make a self-criticism." And yet certain comrades preferred not to heed this warning.
It seems to me that there are two tendencies in the face of success, both undesirable. One is to become dizzy with success, which leads to swelled heads and "Left" deviationist mistakes. Of course, that's bad. The second is to be scared of success, which leads to "resolute contraction" and Right deviationist mistakes. That's just as bad. The trouble now is of the latter kind, for some comrades have become scared of the several hundred thousand small co-operatives.
Before co-operatives are set up, preparatory work must be done seriously and well.
We must pay attention to quality from the very start and oppose the tendency to go after quantity alone.
Fight no battle unprepared, fight no battle you are not sure of winning. This was the celebrated slogan of our Party during the revolutionary wars. It can be applied to the work of building socialism as well. To be sure of success, one must be prepared, and what is more, fully prepared. A great deal of preparatory work is necessary before a new batch of agricultural producers' co-operatives can be set up in a province, prefecture or county. In the main, this work should consist of the following:
(1) Criticize wrong ideas and sum up the experience gained in past work.
(2) Conduct propaganda systematically and repeatedly among the peasant masses concerning our Party's principles, policies and measures on agricultural co-operation. In so doing, we should not only explain the advantages of co-operative transformation, we should also point out the difficulties which will be encountered on the way, so that the peasants may be mentally well prepared.
(3) Draw up a comprehensive plan for expanding agricultural co-operation in the entire province, prefecture, county, district or township in the light of actual conditions and work out an annual plan accordingly.
(4) Train cadres for the setting up of co-operatives in short-term courses.
(5) Develop agricultural producers' mutual-aid teams on a wide scale and in large numbers and, whenever possible, get these teams to join together and form combined mutual-aid teams, thus laying the foundation for further combination into co-operatives.
If all this is done, it will be possible basically to solve the problem of the unity of quantity and quality in the development of co-operatives. But it will still be necessary to follow through with an immediate check-up after each batch of co-operatives is formed.
Whether or not a batch of co-operatives, once formed, can be consolidated depends, firstly, on how well the preparatory work is done and, secondly, on how well the check-up is carried out afterwards.
In the work of establishing and checking up on the co-operatives reliance must be placed on the Party and Youth League branches in the township. For this reason, both tasks must be closely linked with building and consolidating the Party and Youth League organizations in the rural areas.
Whether in establishing co-operatives or in checking up on them, the local cadres in the rural areas should be the main force, and they should be encouraged and asked to take responsibility, while cadres sent from above should be the auxiliary force, whose function is to guide and help and not to take everything into their own hands.
In production the agricultural producers' co-operatives must achieve higher crop yields than the individual peasants and mutual-aid
teams. Output must not remain at the individual peasant or mutual-aid team level, for that would mean failure; what point, then, in having co-operatives at all? Still less can yields be allowed to fall. Over 80 per cent of the 650,000 agricultural producers' co-operatives which have already been set up have increased their crop yields. This is very good, showing that the members are very keen on production and that co-operatives are superior to mutual-aid teams and far superior to individual farming.
To increase crop yields it is necessary:
(1) to adhere to the principles of voluntary participation and mutual benefit;
(2) to improve management (planning and administration of production, organization of labour, etc.);
(3) to improve farming techniques (deep ploughing and intensive cultivation, close planting in small clusters, extending the area of double or triple cropping, introduction of better strains of seed, popularization of new types of farm implements, the fight against plant diseases and insect pests, etc.); and
(4) to increase the means of production (land under cultivation, fertilizer, water conservancy works, draught animals, farm implements, etc.).
These are indispensable conditions for consolidating the co-operatives and ensuring increased production.
In adhering to the principles of voluntary participation and mutual benefit, we must at present give our attention to the following problems:
(1) Whether or not it is better to delay for a year or two the turning in of draught animals and larger farm implements as shares in the co-operative, and whether or not the prices fixed are fair and the payments to the owners are spread over too long a time.
(2) Whether or not there is a proper ratio between the payment based on land shares and the payment for labour.
(3) How the co-operative should raise the funds it needs.
(4) Whether or not certain members may devote part of their labour to certain kinds of side-line production.
(Since the agricultural producers' co-operatives we are now setting up are generally still semi-socialist in nature, care must be taken to solve these four problems properly so as not to violate the principle of mutual benefit as between the poor and the middle
peasants, without which there can be no basis for voluntary participation.)
(5) How much land should be set aside for members to cultivate for their personal needs.
(6) The question of the class composition of the co-operative membership.
And so on.
Here I would like to deal with the question of the class composition of the co-operative membership. I think that, in the next year or two, wherever the movement for co-operation has just begun to spread or has only recently spread, as in most areas at present, we should first get the active elements of the following sections of the people to organize themselves: (1) the poor peasants, (2) the lower-middle peasants among the new middle peasants, and (3) the lower-middle peasants among the old middle peasants. However, those among them who are not enthusiastic for the time being should not be dragged in against their will. They can be drawn into the co-operatives batch by batch when their political consciousness has risen and they have become interested in co-operatives. These sections are more or less similar in their economic status. Either they are still leading a hard life (to wit, the poor peasants, who, though they have received land and are much better off than in pre-liberation days, are still in difficulty for lack of manpower, draught animals and farm implements), or they are still not well off (to wit, the lower-middle peasants). Therefore, they are all enthusiastic about forming co-operatives. Nevertheless, for one reason or another, their enthusiasm varies in degree -- some are very keen, some are not so keen for the time being, and others prefer to wait and see. Therefore, we should devote a period of time to educating all those who do not want to join co-operatives yet, even though they are poor or lower-middle peasants, we should patiently wait until they are politically more conscious, and we must not violate the voluntary principle by dragging them in against their will.
As for the new and old upper-middle peasants, that is, the middle peasants who are economically better off, with the exception of those who are politically conscious enough to take the socialist road and are really willing to join, they should not be admitted into the co-operatives for the time being, still less be dragged in against their will. The reason is that they are not yet politically conscious enough to take the socialist road; they will make up their minds to join the co-operatives only after
the majority in the rural areas have joined, or when yields per mou of the co-operatives equal or even surpass theirs and they realize that it is to their disadvantage in every respect to continue working on their own, and that they cannot further their interests except by joining.
So the first thing to do is to group the people who are poor or not well off according to their level of political consciousness (together they form about 60 to 70 per cent of the rural population) and get them to organize co-operatives in batches in the next few years, and only then should the well-to-do middle peasants be drawn in. In this way we will avoid commandism.
For the next few years in all areas where co-operative transformation has not been basically completed, landlords and rich peasants must definitely not be admitted into the co-operatives. In areas where it has been basically completed, however, the consolidated co-operatives may, on certain conditions, admit by stages and in groups former landlords and rich peasants who have long since given up exploitation, who engage in labour and are law-abiding, and may allow them to take part in collective labour while continuing to reform them through labour.
As for the development of the co-operatives, the problem now is not one of having to criticize rash advance. It is wrong to say that the present development of the co-operatives has "gone beyond the real possibilities" or "gone beyond the level of political consciousness of the masses". This is how things stand: China has an enormous population with insufficient cultivated land (only three mou per head, taking the country as a whole, and one mou or even less on the average in many parts of the southern provinces), natural calamities are frequent (every year large areas of farmland suffer from flood, drought, gales, frost, hail or insect pests in varying degrees), and farming methods are backward. Consequently, although the life of the peasant masses has improved since the agrarian reform or even improved a good deal, many are still in difficulty or not well off and those who are well off are relatively few, and hence most of the peasants are enthusiastic about the socialist road. Their enthusiasm is being constantly heightened by China's socialist industrialization and its achievements. For them socialism is the only way out. These peasants make up 60 to 70 per cent
of the entire rural population. In other words, the only way for the majority of the peasants to shake off poverty, improve their livelihood and fight natural calamities is to unite and go forward along the high road of socialism. This awareness is growing rapidly among the masses of the poor peasants and of those who are not well off. The well-to-do or fairly well-to-do peasants, who make up only 20 to 30 per cent of the rural population, are vacillating, with some trying hard to go the capitalist way. As I have already said, there are also many among the poor peasants and those not well off who take a wait-and-see attitude for the time being because of their low political consciousness, and they too are wavering; however, it is easier for them than for the well-to-do peasants to accept socialism. That is how things really stand. But some of our comrades ignore these facts and think that the several hundred thousand newly established small semi-socialist agricultural producers' co-operatives have "gone beyond the real possibilities" or "gone beyond the level of political consciousness of the masses". This shows that their eyes are on the comparatively small number of well-to-do peasants to the neglect of the great majority, the poor peasants and those not well off. This is one kind of wrong thinking.
Furthermore, these comrades underrate the strength of the Communist Party's leadership in the countryside and the peasant masses' whole-hearted support for the Party. They believe it is difficult enough as it is for the Party to consolidate the several hundred thousand small co-operatives already in existence and therefore a large-scale expansion is simply inconceivable. They pessimistically picture the Party's present work in leading agricultural co-operation as having "gone beyond the level of the cadres' experience". True, the socialist revolution is a revolution of a new kind. Previously, our experience was confined to the bourgeois-democratic revolution, and we had no experience in socialist revolution. Yet how can we gain such experience? By sitting back and waiting for it? Or by plunging into the struggles of the socialist revolution and learning in the process? How can we gain experience in industrialization without carrying out the Five-Year Plan, or without pushing ahead with the work of socialist industrialization? One section of the Five-Year Plan deals with agricultural co-operation. If we do not lead the peasants in organizing one or more agricultural producers' co-operatives in every township or village, where will "the level of the cadres' experience" come from, and how will it rise? Clearly, the idea that the present development of the agricultural producers'
co-operatives has "gone beyond the level of the cadres' experience" is mistaken. This is another kind of wrong thinking.
The way these comrades look at problems is wrong. They do not look at the essential or main aspects but emphasize the non-essential or minor ones. It should be pointed out that these non-essential or minor aspects must not be overlooked and must be dealt with one by one. But they should not be taken as the essential or main aspects, or we will lose our bearings.
We must have faith, first, that the peasant masses are willing to take the road of socialism step by step under the leadership of the Party and, second, that the Party is capable of leading the peasants onto this road. These two points are the essence of the matter, the main current. If we lack this conviction, it will be impossible for us basically to accomplish the building of socialism within roughly three five-year plans.
The great historical experience of the Soviet Union in building socialism inspires our people with full confidence in the building of socialism in China. However, even on this subject of international experience there are different views. Some comrades disapprove of our Central Committee's policy of keeping the development of agricultural co-operation in step with our socialist industrialization, although the validity of such a policy has been borne out in the Soviet Union. While conceding that the speed of industrialization as set at present is all right, they maintain that agricultural co-operation should proceed at an extremely slow pace and need not keep in step. This is to disregard the experience of the Soviet Union. These comrades fail to understand that socialist industrialization cannot be carried out in isolation from the co-operative transformation of agriculture. In the first place, as everyone knows, China's current level of production of commodity grain and raw materials for industry is low, whereas the state's need for them is growing year by year, and this presents a sharp contradiction. If we cannot basically solve the problem of agricultural co-operation within roughly three five-year plans, that is to say, if our agriculture cannot make a leap from small-scale farming with animal-drawn farm implements to large-scale mechanized farming, along with extensive
state-organized land reclamation by settlers using machinery (the plan being to bring 400 to 500 million mou of waste land under cultivation in the course of three five-year plans), then we shall fail to resolve the contradiction between the ever-increasing need for commodity grain and industrial raw materials and the present generally low output of staple crops, and we shall run into formidable difficulties in our socialist industrialization and be unable to complete it. The Soviet Union, which had to face the same problem in the course of building socialism, solved it by leading and developing the collectivization of agriculture in a planned way. And we can solve ours only by the same method. In the second place, some of our comrades have not given any thought to the connection between the following two facts, namely, that heavy industry, the most important branch of socialist industrialization, produces for agricultural use tractors and other farm machinery, chemical fertilizers, modern means of transport, oil, electric power, etc., and that all these things can be used, or used extensively, only on the basis of an agriculture where large-scale co-operative farming prevails. We are now carrying out a revolution not only in the social system, the change from private to public ownership, but also in technology, the change from handicraft to large-scale modern machine production, and the two revolutions are interconnected. In agriculture, with conditions as they are in our country, co-operation must precede the use of big machinery (in capitalist countries agriculture develops capitalistically). Therefore we must on no account regard industry and agriculture, socialist industrialization and the socialist transformation of agriculture as disconnected or isolated things, and on no account must we emphasize the one and play down the other. In this matter too, Soviet experience points the way, yet some of our comrades pay no attention and always see these questions as isolated and unconnected. In the third place, some of our comrades have also failed to give any thought to the connection between two other facts, namely, that large funds are needed to accomplish both national industrialization and the technical transformation of agriculture, and that a considerable part of these funds has to be accumulated through agriculture. Apart from the direct agricultural tax, this is done by developing light industry to produce the great quantities of consumer goods needed by the peasants and exchanging them for the peasants' commodity grain and the raw materials for light industry, so that the material requirements of both the peasants and the state are met and funds are accumulated for the state. Moreover, large-scale expansion of light industry requires the
development of agriculture as well as of heavy industry. For it cannot be brought about on the basis of a small peasant economy; it has to await large-scale farming, which in our country means socialist co-operative agriculture. Only this type of agriculture can give the peasants far greater purchasing power than they now possess. Here again the Soviet Union has provided us with experience, but some of our comrades take no notice of it. Taking the stand of the bourgeoisie, the rich peasants, or the well-to-do middle peasants with their spontaneous tendencies towards capitalism, they always think in terms of the interests of the few and fail to take the working-class stand and think in terms of the interests of the whole country and people.
Then again, some comrades have dug up an argument of a sort from the history of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union against what they call impetuosity and rashness in our present work of agricultural co-operation in China. Does not the History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks), Short Course tell us that at a certain period many local Party organizations in the Soviet Union committed the error of impetuosity and rashness on the question of the pace of collectivization? Should we not take note of this international experience?