are on our side. As we used to say, the rectification movement is "a widespread movement of Marxist education". Rectification means the whole Party studying Marxism through criticism and self-criticism. We can certainly learn more Marxism in the course of the rectification movement.
The transformation and construction of China depend on us for leadership. When we have rectified our way of thinking and style of work, we shall enjoy greater initiative in our work, become more
capable and do a better job. Our country has need of many people who whole-heartedly serve the masses and the cause of socialism and who are determined to bring about changes. We Communists should all be people of this kind. Formerly, in the old China, it was a crime to talk about reforms, and offenders would be beheaded or imprisoned. Nevertheless there were determined reformers who were dauntless and published books and newspapers, educated and organized the people and waged indomitable struggles under every kind of difficulty. The state, the people's democratic dictatorship, has paved the way for the rapid economic and cultural development of our country. It is only a few years since the establishment of our state, and yet people can already see the unprecedented flowering of the economy, culture, education and science. In building up the new China we Communists are likewise not daunted by any difficulties. But we cannot accomplish this all on our own. We need a good number of non-Party people with high ideals who will keep to the socialist and communist orientation and fight dauntlessly with us to transform and construct our society. It is a colossal task to ensure a better life for the several hundred million people of China and to make our economically and culturally backward country a prosperous and powerful one with a high level of culture. And it is precisely in order to be able to shoulder this task more competently and work better with all non-Party people who have high ideals and the determination to institute reforms that we must conduct rectification movements both now and in the future, and constantly rid ourselves of whatever is wrong. Thoroughgoing materialists are fearless; we hope that all our fellow fighters will courageously shoulder their responsibilities and overcome all difficulties, fearing no setbacks or gibes, nor hesitating to criticize us Communists and give us their suggestions. "He who is not afraid of death by a thousand cuts dares to unhorse the emperor" -- this is the dauntless spirit needed in our struggle to build socialism and communism. On our part, we Communists should create conditions helpful to those who co-operate with us, establish good comradely relations with them in our common work and unite with them in our joint struggle.
Sixth, the question of one-sidedness. One-sidedness means thinking in terms of absolutes, that is, taking a metaphysical approach to problems. In the appraisal of our work, it is one-sided to affirm everything or to negate everything. There still are quite a few people inside the Communist Party and many outside it who do just that. To affirm everything is to see only the good and not the bad, and to welcome
only praise and not criticism. To talk as though our work is good in every respect is at variance with the facts. It is not true that everything is good; there are shortcomings and mistakes. But neither is it true that everything is bad; that too is at variance with the facts. Here analysis is necessary. To negate everything is to think, without prior analysis, that nothing has been done well and that the great task of building socialism, the great struggle in which hundreds of millions of people are participating, is a complete mess with nothing commendable about it. Although there is a difference between many of those who hold such views and those who are hostile to the socialist system, these views are very mistaken and harmful and can only dishearten people. It is wrong to appraise our work either from the standpoint of affirming everything or from the standpoint of negating everything. We should criticize those people who take such a one-sided approach to problems, though of course we should do so in the spirit of "learning from past mistakes to avoid future ones and curing the sickness to save the patient", and we should give them help.
Some people say: Since there is to be a rectification movement and since everyone is asked to express his opinions, one-sidedness is unavoidable, and therefore it seems that in calling for the elimination of one-sidedness, you really don't want people to speak up. Is this assertion right? It is naturally difficult for everyone to be free from any trace of one-sidedness. People always examine and handle problems and express their views in the light of their own experience, and unavoidably they sometimes show a little one-sidedness. However, shouldn't we ask them gradually to overcome their one-sidedness and look at problems in a relatively all-sided way? In my opinion, we should. We would be stagnating and we would be approving one-sidedness and contradicting the whole purpose of rectification if we did not make the demand that from day to day and from year to year more and more people should view problems in a relatively all-sided way. One-sidedness violates dialectics. We want gradually to disseminate dialectics and to ask everyone gradually to learn the use of the scientific dialectical method. Some of the articles appearing today are extremely pretentious but empty, without any analysis of problems or reasoned argument, and they carry no conviction. There should be fewer and fewer articles of this kind. When writing an article, one should not be for ever thinking, "How smart I am!" but should put oneself on a completely equal footing with one's readers. You may have been in the revolution for a long time, but if you say something wrong
people will refute you all the same. The more you put on airs, the less people will stand for it and the less they will care to read your articles. We should do our work honestly, take an analytical approach, write convincingly and never strike a pose to overawe people.
Some people say that while one-sidedness can be avoided in a lengthy article, it is unavoidable in a short essay. Must a short essay inevitably be one-sided? As I have just said, it is usually hard to avoid one-sidedness, and there is nothing terrible if it creeps in to a certain extent. Criticism would be hampered if everyone were required to look at problems in an absolutely all-sided way. Nevertheless, we do ask everyone to try to approach problems in a relatively all-sided way and try to avoid one-sidedness not only in long articles but also in short articles, short essays included. Some people argue, how is it possible to undertake analysis in an essay of a few hundred or one to two thousand words? I say, why not? Didn't Lu Hsun do it? The analytical method is dialectical. By analysis, we mean analysing the contradictions in things. And sound analysis is impossible without intimate knowledge of life and without real understanding of the relevant contradictions. Lu Hsun's later essays are so penetrating and powerful and yet so free from one-sidedness precisely because by then he had grasped dialectics. Some of Lenin's articles can also be called short essays; they are satirical and pungent, but without one-sidedness. Almost all of Lu Hsun's essays were directed at the enemy; some of Lenin's essays were directed at the enemy and others at comrades. Can the Lu Hsun type of essay be used against mistakes and shortcomings within the ranks of the people? I think it can. Of course, we must make a distinction between ourselves and the enemy, and we must not adopt an antagonistic stand towards comrades and treat them as we would the enemy. One must speak warmly and sincerely with a desire to protect the cause of the people and raise their political consciousness and must not indulge in ridicule or attack.
What if one dare not write? Some people say they dare not write even when they have something to say, lest they should offend people and be criticized. I think such worries can be cast aside. Ours is a people's democratic state, and it provides an environment conducive to writing in the service of the people. The policy of letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend offers additional guarantees for the flowering of science and the arts. If what you say is right, you need not fear criticism, and through debate you can further explain your correct views. If what you say is wrong, then
criticism can help you correct your mistakes, and there is nothing bad in that. In our society, militant revolutionary criticism and counter-criticism is the healthy method used to expose and resolve contradictions, develop science and the arts and ensure success in all our work.
Seventh, whether to "open wide" or to "restrict"? This is a question of policy. "Let a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend" is a long-term as well as a fundamental policy; it is not just a temporary policy. In the discussion, comrades expressed disapproval of "restriction", and I think this view is the correct one. The Central Committee of the Party is of the opinion that we must "open wide", not "restrict".
Two alternative methods of leading our country, or in other words two alternative policies, can be adopted -- to "open wide" or to "restrict". To "open wide" means to let all people express their opinions freely, so that they dare to speak, dare to criticize and dare to debate it means not being afraid of wrong views or anything poisonous; it means to encourage argument and criticism among people holding different views, allowing freedom both for criticism and for counter-criticism; it means not coercing people with wrong views into submission but convincing them by reasoning. To "restrict" means to forbid people to air differing opinions and express wrong ideas, and to "finish them off with a single blow" if they do so. That is the way to aggravate rather than to resolve contradictions. To "open wide", or to "restrict"? We must choose one or the other of these two policies. We choose the former, because it is the policy which will help to consolidate our country and develop our culture.
We intend to use the policy of "opening wide" to unite with the several million intellectuals and change their present outlook. As I have said above, the overwhelming majority of the intellectuals in our country want to make progress and remould themselves, and they are quite capable of being remoulded. In this connection, the policy we adopt will play a big role. The question of the intellectuals is above all one of ideology, and it is not helpful but harmful to resort to crude and heavy-handed measures for solving ideological questions. The remoulding of the intellectuals, and especially the changing of their world outlook, is a process that requires a long period of time. Our comrades must understand that ideological remoulding involves long-term, patient and painstaking work, and they must not attempt to change people's ideology, which has been shaped over decades of life, by giving a few lectures or by holding a few meetings. Persuasion, not
coercion, is the only way to convince people. Coercion will never result in convincing people. To try to make them submit by force simply won't do. This kind of method is permissible in dealing with the enemy, but absolutely impermissible in dealing with comrades or friends. What if we don't know how to convince others? Then we have to learn. We must learn to conquer erroneous ideas through debate and reasoning.
"Let a hundred flowers blossom" is the way to develop the arts, and "let a hundred schools of thought contend" the way to develop science. Not only is this a good method for developing science and the arts, but, applied more widely, it is a good method for all our work. It enables us to make fewer mistakes. There are many things we don't understand and are therefore unable to tackle, but through debate and struggle we shall come to understand them and learn how to tackle them. Truth develops through debate between different views. The same method can be adopted in dealing with whatever is poisonous and anti-Marxist, because in the struggle against it Marxism will develop. This is development through the struggle of opposites, development conforming to dialectics.
Haven't people discussed the true, the good and the beautiful all through the ages? Their opposites are the false, the evil and the ugly. The former would not exist without the latter. Truth stands in opposition to falsehood. In society as in nature, every entity invariably divides into different parts, only there are differences in content and form under different concrete conditions. There will always be wrong things and ugly phenomena. There will always be such opposites as the right and the wrong, the good and the evil, the beautiful and the ugly. The same is true of fragrant flowers and poisonous weeds. The relationship between them is one of the unity and struggle of opposites. Only by comparing can one distinguish. Only by making distinctions and waging struggle can there be development. Truth develops through its struggle against falsehood. This is how Marxism develops. Marxism develops in the struggle against bourgeois and petty-bourgeois ideology, and it is only through struggle that it can develop.
We are for the policy of "opening wide"; so far there has been too little of it rather than too much. We must not be afraid of "opening wide", nor should we be afraid of criticism and poisonous weeds. Marxism is scientific truth; it fears no criticism and cannot be over thrown by criticism. The same holds for the Communist Party and the People's Government; they fear no criticism and cannot be toppled by it. There will always be things that are wrong, and that is nothing
to be afraid of. Recently, ghosts and monsters have been presented on the stage. Some comrades have become very worried by this spectacle. In my opinion, a little of this doesn't matter much; within a few decades such ghosts and monsters will disappear from the stage altogether, and you won't be able to see them even if you want to. We must promote what is right and oppose what is wrong, but we need not be frightened if people come in contact with erroneous things. It will solve no problem simply to issue administrative orders forbidding people to have any contact with perverse and ugly phenomena and with erroneous ideas, or forbidding them to see ghosts and monsters on the stage. Of course, I am not advocating the spread of such stuff, I am only saying "a little of this doesn't matter much". It is not at all strange that erroneous things should exist, nor should this give any cause for fear; indeed it helps people learn to struggle against them better. Even great storms are not to be feared. It is amid great storms that human society progresses.
In our country bourgeois and petty-bourgeois ideology and anti-Marxist ideologies will persist for a long time. Basically, the socialist system has been established in our country. While we have won basic victory in transforming the ownership of the means of production, we are even farther from complete victory on the political and ideological fronts. In the ideological field, the question of who will win out, the proletariat or the bourgeoisie, has not yet been really settled. 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 circumstances should they be allowed to spread freely. However, the criticism should be fully reasoned, analytical and convincing, and neither rough and bureaucratic, nor metaphysical and dogmatic.
For a long time now people have been levelling a lot of criticism at dogmatism. That is as it should be. But they often neglect to criticize revisionism. Both dogmatism and revisionism run counter to Marxism. Marxism must necessarily advance; it must develop along with practice and cannot stand still. It would become lifeless if it were stagnant and stereotyped. However, the basic principles of Marxism must never be violated, 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 the bourgeoisie. What they advocate is in fact not the socialist line but the capitalist line. In present circumstances, revisionism is more pernicious than dogmatism. It is an important task for us to unfold criticism of revisionism on the ideological front now.
Eighth and last, it is imperative for the Party committees of the provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions to tackle the question of ideology. This is a point some of the comrades present here want me to touch upon. In many places, the Party committees have not yet tackled the question of ideology, or have done very little about it. Mainly because they are busy. But tackle it they must. By "tackling it" I mean that it must be put on the agenda and studied. In the main the large-scale, turbulent class struggles of the masses characteristic of times of revolution in our country have come to an end, but there is still class struggle -- chiefly on the political and ideological fronts -- and it is very acute too. The question of ideology has now assumed great importance. The first secretaries of the Party committees in all provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions should personally tackle this question, which can be solved correctly only when they have given it serious attention and gone into it. Meetings on propaganda work similar to our present one should be held in all these places to discuss local ideological work and all related problems. Such meetings should be attended not only by Party comrades but also by people outside the Party, and people with different opinions should be included. This will be all to the good of these meetings, and no harm can come of it, as the experience of the present conference has proved.
"On Production by the Army for Its Own Support and on the Importance of the Great Movements for Rectification and for Production", Selected Works of Mao Tsetung, Vol. III.