otherwise you cannot be called good Marxists. In agriculture, those labour-exchange teams and co-operatives, which were in the grip of bureaucrats and which harmed the people instead of benefiting them, have all collapsed. This is entirely understandable and should occasion no regret. Your task is carefully to preserve and develop those labour-exchange teams, co-operatives and other necessary economic organizations that have won mass support and to spread them everywhere.
The national situation is a matter of concern for our comrades. Following the Party's National Land Conference last year, which resolved to adopt a new policy and unfold land reform and Party consolidation, large conferences of cadres were held in practically all the Liberated Areas on Party consolidation and land reform. At these conferences, Rightist ideas existing in the Party were criticized, and the serious phenomenon of a certain degree of impurity in the Party's class composition and style of work was exposed. Afterwards, appropriate measures were taken in many areas, and the "Left" deviations have been or are being corrected. Thus, confronted with the new political situation and new political tasks, our Party has been able to set its work in the whole country on the path of sound development. In the last few months almost all the People's Liberation Army has made use of the intervals between battles for large-scale training and consolidation. This has been carried out in a fully guided, orderly and democratic way. It has therefore aroused the revolutionary fervour of the great masses of commanders and fighters, enabled them clearly to comprehend the aim of the war, eliminated certain incorrect ideological tendencies and undesirable manifestations in the army, educated the cadres and fighters and greatly enhanced the combat effectiveness of the army. From now on, we must continue to carry on this new type of ideological education movement in the army, a movement which has a democratic and mass character. You can see clearly that neither the Party consolidation, nor the ideological education in the army, nor the land reform, all of which we have accomplished and all of which have great historic significance, could be undertaken by our enemy, the Kuomintang. On our part, we have been very earnest in correcting our own shortcomings; we have united the Party and army virtually as one man and forged close ties between them and the masses of the people; we are effectively carrying out all the policies and tactics formulated by the Central Committee of our Party and are successfully waging the People's War of Liberation. With our enemy, everything is just the opposite. They are so corrupt, so torn by ever-increasing and irreconcilable internal quarrels, so spurned by the people and utterly isolated and so frequently defeated in battle that their doom is inevitable. This is the whole situation of revolution versus counter revolution in China.
In this situation, all comrades must firmly grasp the general line of the Party, that is, the line of the new-democratic revolution. The new-democratic revolution is not any other revolution, but can only be and must be a revolution against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism waged by the broad masses of the people under the leadership of the proletariat. This means that leadership in this revolution can and must be assumed by no class and party other than the proletariat and the Communist Party of China. This means that the united front of those joining this revolution is very broad, embracing the workers, peasants, independent craftsmen, professionals, intellectuals, the national bourgeoisie and the section of the enlightened gentry which has broken away from the landlord class. All these are what we refer to as the broad masses of the people. The state and the government to be founded by the broad masses of the people will be the People's Republic of China and the democratic coalition government of the alliance of all democratic classes under the leadership of the proletariat. The enemies to be overthrown in this revolution can only be and must be imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism. The concentrated expression of all these enemies is the reactionary regime of Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang.
Feudalism is the ally of imperialism and bureaucrat-capitalism and the foundation of their rule. Therefore, the reform of the land system is the main content of China's new-democratic revolution. The general line in the land reform is to rely on the poor peasants, unite with the middle peasants, abolish the system of feudal exploitation step by step and in a discriminating way, and develop agricultural production. The basic force to be relied upon in the land reform can only be and must be the poor peasants. Together with the farm labourers, they make up about 70 per cent of China's rural population. The main and immediate task of the land reform is to satisfy the demands of the masses of poor peasants and farm labourers. In the land reform it is necessary to unite with the middle peasants; the poor peasants and the farm labourers must form a solid united front with the middle peasants, who account for about 20 per cent of the rural population. Otherwise, the poor peasants and farm labourers will find themselves isolated and the land reform will fail. One of the tasks in the land reform is to satisfy the demands of certain middle peasants. A section of the middle peasants must be allowed to keep some land over and above the average obtained by the poor peasants. We support the peasants' demand for equal distribution of land in
order to help arouse the broad masses of peasants speedily to abolish the system of landownership by the feudal landlord class, but we do not advocate absolute equalitarianism. Whoever advocates absolute equalitarianism is wrong. There is a kind of thinking now current in the countryside which undermines industry and commerce and advocates absolute equalitarianism in land distribution. Such thinking is reactionary, backward and retrogressive in nature. We must criticize it. The target of the land reform is only and must be the system of feudal exploitation by the landlord class and by the old-type rich peasants, and there should be no encroachment either upon the national bourgeoisie or upon the industrial and commercial enterprises run by the landlords and rich peasants. In particular, care must be taken not to encroach upon the interests of the middle peasants, independent craftsmen, professionals and new rich peasants, all of whom engage in little or no exploitation. The aim of the land reform is to abolish the system of feudal exploitation, that is, to eliminate the feudal landlords as a class, not as individuals. Therefore a landlord must receive the same allotment of land and property as does a peasant and must be made to learn productive labour and join the ranks of the nation's economic life. Except for the most heinous counter-revolutionaries and local tyrants, who have incurred the bitter hatred of the broad masses, who have been proved guilty and who therefore may and ought to be punished, a policy of leniency must be applied to all, and any beating or killing without discrimination must be forbidden. The system of feudal exploitation should be abolished step by step, that is, in a tactical way. In launching the struggle we must determine our tactics according to the circumstances and the degree to which the peasant masses are awakened and organized. We must not attempt to wipe out overnight the whole system of feudal exploitation. In accordance with the actual conditions of the system of feudal exploitation in China's villages, the total scope of attack in the land reform should generally not exceed about 8 per cent of the rural households or about 10 per cent of the rural population. In the old and semi-old Liberated Areas the percentage should be even smaller. It is dangerous to depart from actual conditions and mistakenly enlarge the scope of attack. In the new Liberated Areas, moreover, it is necessary to distinguish between different places and different stages. By distinguishing between places we mean that in those places which we can hold securely we should concentrate our efforts on carrying out appropriate land reform work that accords with the wishes of the
local masses, while in those places which for the time being are difficult to hold securely, until there is a change in the situation we should not be in a hurry to start the land reform but should confine ourselves to activities which are feasible and beneficial to the masses in the present circumstances. By distinguishing between stages we mean that in places recently occupied by the People's Liberation Army we should put forward and carry out the tactics of neutralizing the rich peasants, of neutralizing the middle and small landlords, and thus narrow the scope of the attack so as to destroy only the reactionary Kuomintang armed forces and deal blows at the bad gentry and local tyrants. We should concentrate all our efforts on accomplishing this task as the first stage of work in the new Liberated Areas. We should then advance step by step to the stage of total abolition of the feudal system, in accordance with the rising level of political consciousness and organization of the masses. In the new Liberated Areas we should distribute movable property and land only when conditions are relatively secure and the overwhelming majority of the masses have been fully roused to action; to act otherwise would be adventurist and undependable and would do harm rather than good. In the new Liberated Areas the experience gained during the War of Resistance must be fully utilized. By abolishing feudalism in a discriminating way we mean that we should distinguish between landlords and rich peasants, among big, middle and small landlords and between those landlords and rich peasants who are local tyrants and those who are not, and that, subject to the major premise of the equal distribution of land and the abolition of the feudal system, we should not decide on and give the same treatment to them all, but should differentiate and vary the treatment according to varying conditions. When we do this, people will see that our work is completely reasonable. The development of agricultural production is the immediate aim of the land reform. Only by abolishing the feudal system can the conditions for such development be created. In every area, as soon as feudalism is wiped out and the land reform is completed, the Party and the democratic government must put forward the task of restoring and developing agricultural production, transfer all available forces in the countryside to this task, organize co-operation and mutual aid, improve agricultural technique, promote seed selection and build irrigation works -- all to ensure increased production. Party organizations in the rural areas must devote the greatest energy to restoring and developing agricultural production
and also industrial production in small towns. In order to speed up this restoration and development, we must do our utmost, in the course of our struggle for the abolition of the feudal system, to preserve all useful means of production and of livelihood, take resolute measures against anyone's destroying or wasting them, oppose extravagant eating and drinking and pay attention to thrift and economy. In order to develop agricultural production, we must advise the peasants to organize, voluntarily and step by step, the various types of producers' and consumers' co-operatives based on private ownership, which are permissible under present economic conditions. The abolition of the feudal system and the development of agricultural production will lay the foundation for the development of industrial production and the transformation of an agricultural country into an industrial one. This is the ultimate goal of the new-democratic revolution.
You comrades know that our Party has laid down the general line and general policy of the Chinese revolution as well as various specific lines for work and specific policies. However, while many comrades remember our Party's specific lines for work and specific policies, they often forget its general line and general policy. If we actually forget the Party's general line and general policy, then we shall be blind, half-baked, muddle-headed revolutionaries, and when we carry out a specific line for work and a specific policy, we shall lose our bearings and vacillate now to the left and now to the right, and the work will suffer.
Let me repeat:
The revolution against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism waged by the broad masses of the people under the leadership of the proletariat -- this is China's new-democratic revolution, and this is the general line and general policy of the Communist Party of China at the present stage of history.
To rely on the poor peasants, unite with the middle peasants, abolish the system of feudal exploitation step by step and in a discriminating way, and develop agricultural production -- this is the general line and general policy of the Communist Party of China in the work of land reform during the period of the new-democratic revolution.
Issued on February 22, 1948, this directive of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China summed up the experience of work in the land reform and Party consolidation in various Liberated Areas, laid down a series of policies and methods for the land reform and Party consolidation and stressed the correction of "Left" deviations which had occurred during the execution of these two tasks in certain areas.
See the introductory note to "The Present Situation and Our Tasks", pp. 158-59 of this volume.
This refers to the "Directive on Correcting Mistakes in the Determination of Class Status and on Uniting with the Middle Peasants" issued by the Shansi-Suiyuan Sub-Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on January 13, 1948. The directive is divided into five sections. The following are its main points:
(1) Because the criteria for class identification had not been well-defined quite a few persons were wrongly classified as bankrupt landlords or rich peasants on the spontaneous demands of the peasants, and in particular, well-to-do middle peasants were wrongly classified as rich peasants. This had an adverse effect on the effort to unite with the middle peasants and was wrong.
(2) Proper measures were to be taken resolutely to persuade the peasants to correct these mistakes. Suitable restitution was to be made of property that had been taken.
(3) It was to be explained to the peasants and the cadres that the only criterion in class identification should be the relationship of exploitation. Mistakes in determining class status were to be corrected.
(4) The principle of relying on poor peasants and farm labourers and uniting with middle peasants had to be grasped. The middle peasants were to be enabled to have one-third of the members of the peasant representative conferences and of the leading bodies of the peasant associations, and consideration was to be given to their interests in taxation and in the land reform.
(5) Responsible cadres were to make a serious study of the Party's class policy for the rural areas. Mistakes that departed from the Party's policies concerning the middle peasants had to be corrected; they had to be corrected through the masses.
Simultaneously with the issuance of this five-point directive, the Shansi-Suiyuan Sub-Bureau issued the "Directive on the Protection of Industry and Commerce" to correct the deviations of encroaching on industry and commerce during the land reform.
This refers to the supply and marketing co-operatives.