December 27, 1955
This is a source book intended for people working in the countryside. A preface was written for it in September. Now, three months later, that preface is already out of date, and so a new one has to be prepared.
Here is the sequence of events. The book has been compiled twice, in September and again in December. In the first compilation 121 articles were included. Most of them reflected conditions in the first half of 1955 and a few those in the second half of 1954. Sample copies were distributed for comment to responsible comrades from provincial, municipal, autonomous region and prefectural Party committees who attended the Sixth Plenary Session (Enlarged) of the Seventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, October 4-11, 1955. These comrades found the book needed to be supplemented. After the meeting most of the provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions sent in additional material. Much of this reflected conditions in the second half of 1955. Thus the book had to be recompiled. From the original 121 articles we deleted 30, keeping 91, and added 85 from the new material, bringing the total to 176 articles -- some 900,000 words. Hence the present collection. The comrades responsible for the editing have gone over all the material, made some verbal changes, added notes on
difficult terms and prepared a subject index. Furthermore, we have added comments on some of the articles, criticizing certain erroneous ideas or making certain suggestions. To keep our comments separate from those of the editors of the original publications, ours carry the designation "Editor's Note". Since some of our comments were written in September and others in December, there is naturally some variation in tone.
However, what is involved is not just the material. The point is that the situation in China underwent a fundamental change in the second half of 1955. Of China's 110 million peasant households more than 70 million (over 60 per cent) have up to now (late December 1955) joined semi-socialist agricultural producers' co-operatives in response to the call of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. In my report of July 31, 1955 on the co-operative transformation of agriculture,[*] I put the number of peasant households in co-operatives at 16,900,000, but in the space of a few months that number has been exceeded by well over 50 million. This is a tremendous event. This event makes it clear to us that we need only the calendar year 1956 in order basically to complete the semi-socialist co-operative transformation of agriculture. In another three or four years, that is, by 1959 or 1960, we can in the main complete the transformation of semi-socialist co-operatives into fully socialist ones. This event makes it clear to us that we must try to accomplish the socialist transformation of China's handicrafts and capitalist industry and commerce ahead of schedule in order to meet the needs of an expanding agriculture. And this event makes it clear to us that in scale and tempo China's industrialization and the development of its science, culture, education, health work, etc. can no longer proceed exactly in the way previously envisaged, but must be appropriately expanded and accelerated.
Is agricultural co-operation, now proceeding at such a high tempo, going forward in a healthy way? It certainly is. The Party organizations everywhere are giving over-all leadership to the movement. The peasants are taking part in the movement whole-heartedly and in excellent order. Their enthusiasm for production is rising to unprecedented heights. For the first time the broadest masses know clearly what the future has in store for them. When three five-year plans are completed, that is, by 1967, the production of grain and many other crops will probably double or treble the highest annual output before the founding of the People's Republic. In a relatively short time, say seven or eight years, illiteracy will be wiped out. Many of the
* [Transcriber's Note: See Mao's "On the Co-operative Transformation of Agriculture". -- DJR]
diseases most harmful to the people, such as schistosomiasis, diseases formerly considered incurable, can now be treated. In short, the masses already see a great future lying before them.
The problem facing the whole Party and people is no longer that of criticizing Right conservative ideas about the speed of the socialist transformation of agriculture. That problem has been solved. Nor is it the problem of the speed of transforming the whole of capitalist industry and commerce trade by trade into joint state-private enterprises. That problem too has been solved. The speed of the socialist transformation of handicrafts should be discussed during the first half of 1956. And that problem can also be easily solved. The problem today concerns none of these, it lies elsewhere. It lies in agricultural production; industrial production (including state, joint state-private and co-operative industries); handicraft production; the scale and speed of capital construction in industry, communications and transport; the co-ordination of commerce with other branches of the economy; the co-ordination of the work in science, culture, education and health with our various economic activities, etc. In all these fields there is an underestimation of the situation, a shortcoming which must be criticized and corrected if our work is to keep pace with the development of the situation as a whole. People must adapt their thinking to the changed conditions. Of course, no one should disregard reality and indulge in flights of fancy, or make plans of action unwarranted by the objective situation, or reach out for the impossible. However, the problem today is that Right conservative thinking is still causing trouble in many spheres and prevents our work from keeping pace with the development of the objective situation. The problem today is that what can be done by a measure of exertion is considered by many to be impossible. It is therefore entirely necessary to continue the criticism of Right conservative ideas, which do in fact exist.
This book is intended for comrades working in the countryside. Can city people read it too? They not only can but should. Here is something fresh. Just as new things are happening every day, every hour, in the building of socialism in the cities, so they are in the countryside. What are the peasants doing? What is the connection between what the peasants are doing and what the working class, the intellectuals and all patriotic personages are doing? To gain such an understanding, it will be helpful to read about the rural areas.
To make it possible for more people to understand the current situation in the countryside, we are preparing an abridged edition,
containing 44 of the 176 articles, or about 270,000 words, so that those unable to read the entire collection can have some idea of this subject.
The book was renamed Socialist Upsurge in China's Countryside when it was published.
This refers to "Preface I".