Mao’s Evaluations of Stalin
A Collection and Summary
Mao’s Evaluations of Stalin
“Generally speaking, all Communist Party members who have a certain capacity for study should study the theories of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin, study the history of our nation, and study the circumstances and trends of current movements; moreover, they should serve to educate members with a lower cultural level….
“The theories of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin are universally applicable. We should not regard their theories as dogma but as a guide to action.”
—“On the New Stage” (Oct. 12-14, 1938), MRP6, p. 537. In a slightly different translation in SW2, pp. 208-9.
[Edgar Snow writing:] “On another occasion I asked Mao whether, in his opinion, Russia’s occupation of Poland was primarily justified by strategic-military necessity or political necessity.
“Mao seemed to think that the governing factor was strategic necessity, but that the move was partly military and partly political. The political side was not related directly to the world condition of the revolutionary movement but to the Soviet Union’s historic relations with Eastern Poland. The Soviet-German Pact, on the other hand, was not political but a strategic-military necessity. Stalin wanted it in order to block Chamberlain’s effort to build a coalition against Russia. Mao claimed that Chamberlain had clearly indicated to Hitler that he had to make a choice between fighting Russia or fighting England. If Hitler attacked Russia, Chamberlain was prepared to tolerate his occupation of Poland, Rumania, Yugoslavia, and the Baltic states. If not, he would use Poland to oppose Hitler. Stalin was then compelled to seek his own agreement with Hitler.”
—Edgar Snow’s report of an interview with Mao, in “Interviews with Edgar Snow” (Sept. 24-26), 1939), MRP7, p. 229. Thus according to Snow, Mao fully supported Stalin’s decision to sign a non-aggression pact with Germany and to occupy eastern Poland. (See also pp. 221-228 of the Snow interviews.)
“December 21 of this year is Comrade Stalin’s sixtieth birthday. It can be anticipated that this birthday will call forth warm and affectionate congratulations in the hearts of all those people in the world who are aware of this event and who know suffering.
“To congratulate Stalin is not merely doing something to observe the occasion. To congratulate Stalin means to support him, to support his cause, to support the cause of the Soviet Union, to support the victory of socialism, to support the orientation he points out for humanity, and to support our own close friend. Today in the world the great majority of humanity is suffering and only by following the orientation pointed out by Stalin, and with Stalin’s aid, can humanity be rescued from disaster.
“We Chinese people are now living in a time of profound calamity unprecedented in history, a time when help from others is most urgently needed. The Book of Poetry says, ‘Ying goes its cry, seeking with its voice its companion.’ We are precisely at such a juncture.
“But who are our friends?
“There is one kind of so-called friends who style themselves our friends, and some among us also unthinkingly call them friends. But such friends can only be classed with Li Linfu of the Tang dynasty. Li Linfu was a prime minister of the Tang dynasty, a notorious man who was described as having ‘honey dripping from his tongue and a sword concealed in his heart.’ These friends today are precisely friends with ‘honey dripping from their tongues and swords concealed in their hearts.’ Who are these people? Part of those imperialists who say that they sympathize with China.
“There is another kind of friends who are different; they have real sympathy for us, and regard us as brothers. Who are these people? They are the Soviet Union, and Stalin.
“Not a single country has renounced its special rights and privileges in China; only the Soviet Union has done this.
“At the time of the Northern Expedition, all the imperialists opposed us, and the Soviet Union alone assisted us.
“Since the beginning of the anti-Japanese war, not a single government of any imperialist country has really helped us. The Soviet Union alone has helped us with its great resources in men, materiel, and money.
“Is this not clear enough?
“To the cause of the liberation of the Chinese nation and the Chinese people, only the socialist country, the socialist leaders, the socialist people, and socialist thinkers, statesmen, and toilers are truly giving assistance. Without their help, it is impossible to win final victory.
“Stalin is the true friend of the Chinese nation and of the cause of the liberation of the Chinese people. The Chinese people’s love and respect for Stalin, and our friendship for the Soviet Union, are wholly sincere. Any attempt, from whatever quarter, to sow dissension by rumor-mongering and slander will be of no avail in the end.”
—“Stalin Is the Friend of the Chinese People” (Dec. 20, 1939), MRP7, pp. 307-308, in full. A different translation is available in SW2, pp. 335-6.
“Today we are holding a meeting to congratulate Stalin on his sixtieth birthday. ‘From ancient times, few men have reached the age of seventy,’ and living to the age of sixty is also rare. But why do we celebrate only Stalin’s birthday? And why, moreover, are such celebrations taking place not only in Yan’an but in the whole country and in the whole world? Provided only that they know who the man is who was born this day, provided that they know what manner of man he is, then all those who suffer oppression will congratulate him. The reason is that Stalin is the savior of all the oppressed. What kind of people are opposed to congratulating him and do not like to congratulate him? Only those who do not suffer oppression but, on the contrary, oppress other people, first of all, the imperialists. Comrades! A foreigner, who is separated from us by thousands of miles, and whose birthday is celebrated by everyone—is this not an unprecedented event?
“This is because he is leading the great Soviet Union, because he is leading the great Communist International, because he is leading the cause of the liberation of all mankind, and is helping China to fight Japan.
“At present, the whole world is divided into two fronts struggling against each other. On the one side is imperialism, which represents the front of the oppressors. On the other side is socialism, which represents the front of resistance to oppression. Some people imagine that the national-revolutionary front in the colonies and semicolonies occupies an intermediate position, but its enemy is imperialism, and hence it cannot do otherwise than call upon the friendship of socialism, and it cannot but belong to the revolutionary front of resistance to the oppressors. China’s diehards imagine that they can play the harlot and, at the same time, set up arches in honor of their own virtue, fighting communism with one hand, and resisting Japan with the other. They call themselves the middle-of-the-road faction, but they will never achieve their aims. If they do not repent, they will certainly end by going over to the side of counterrevolution. Both the revolutionary and the counterrevolutionary fronts must have someone to act as their leader, someone to serve as their commander. Who is the commander of the counterrevolutionary front? It is imperialism, it is Chamberlain. Who is the commander of the revolutionary front? It is socialism, it is Stalin. Comrade Stalin is the leader of the world revolution. This is an extremely important circumstance. Among the whole human race, this man, Stalin, has appeared, and this is a very great event. Because he is there, it is easer to get things done. As you know, Marx is dead, and Engels and Lenin too are dead. If there were no Stalin, who would give the orders? This is indeed a fortunate circumstance. Because there is now in the world a Soviet Union, a Communist Party, and a Stalin, the affairs of this world can be dealt with more easily. What does a revolutionary commander do? He sees to it that everyone has food to eat, clothes to wear, a place to live, and books to read. And in order to achieve this, he must lead a billion and more people to struggle against the oppressors and bring them to a final victory. This is precisely what Stalin wants to do. Since this is the case, should not all those who suffer oppression congratulate Stalin? I think they should, I think they must. We should congratulate him, support him and study him.
“The two aspects of Stalin which we want to study are the doctrinal aspect and the practical aspect.
“There are innumerable principles of Marxism, but in the final analysis they can be summed up in one sentence: ‘To rebel is justified.’ For thousands of years everyone said, ‘Oppression is justified, exploitation is justified, rebellion is not justified.’ From the time that Marxism appeared on the scene, this old judgment was turned upside down, and this is a great contribution. This principle was derived by the proletariat from its struggles, but Marx drew the conclusion. In accordance with this principle, there was then resistance, there was struggle, and socialism was realized. What is Comrade Stalin’s contribution? He developed this principle, developed Marxism-Leninism, and produced a very clear, concrete, and living doctrine for the oppressed people of the whole world. This is the complete doctrine for establishing a revolutionary front, overthrowing imperialism, overthrowing capitalism, and establishing a socialist society.
“The practical aspect consists in turning doctrine into reality. Neither Marx, Engels, nor Lenin carried to completion the cause of the establishment of socialism, but Stalin did so. This is a great and unprecedented exploit. Before the Soviet Union’s two five-year plans, the capitalist newspapers of various countries proclaimed daily that the Soviet Union was in desperate straits, that socialism could not be relied upon, but what do we see today? Chamberlain’s mouth has been stopped, as have the mouths of those Chinese diehards. They all recognize that the Soviet Union has triumphed.
“Apart from helping us from the doctrinal standpoint in our War of Resistance Against Japan, Stalin has also given us practical and concrete aid. Since the victory of Stalin’s cause, he has aided us with many airplanes, cannons, aviators, and military advisers in every theater of operations, as well as lending us money. What other country in the world has helped us in this way? What country in the world, led by what class, party, or individual, has helped us in this way? Who is there, apart from the Soviet Union, the proletariat, the Communist Party, and Stalin?
“At present, there are people who call themselves our friends, but in fact they can only be classed with Li Linfu of the Tang dynasty. This Mr. Li Linfu was a man who had ‘honey dripping from his tongue and a sword concealed in his heart.’ The imperialists all have honey dripping from their tongues and swords concealed in their hearts, and Chamberlain is a present-day Li Linfu. What imperialist country has abolished the special privileges enjoyed by many countries in China such as the right to station troops, consular jurisdiction, extraterritoriality, and so on? Not a single one. Only the Soviet Union has abolished them.
“In the past, Marxism-Leninism provided theoretical guidance to the world revolution. Today something has been added: it is possible to give material aid to the world revolution. This is Stalin’s great contribution.
“After we have celebrated Stalin’s birthday, we must continue to carry out propaganda among the people of the whole country to make these facts known. We must explain things clearly to the 450 million Chinese, so that our whole people understands: only the socialist Soviet Union, only Stalin, are the good friends of China.”
—Speech at a Meeting of All Circles in Yan’an to Commemorate Stalin’s Sixtieth Birthday (Dec. 21, 1939), MRP7, pp. 309-11, in full.
[In “On New Democracy”, Mao quotes approvingly two long passages from Stalin on the national question and with respect to the significance of the October Revolution for revolution in China and the East. Mao prefaced these passages with the following:]
“The correct thesis that ‘the Chinese revolution is part of the world revolution’ was put forward as early as 1924-27 during the period of China’s First Great Revolution. It was put forward by the Chinese Communists and endorsed by all those taking part in the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggle of the time….
“This correct thesis advanced by the Chinese Communists is based on Stalin’s theory.”
—“On New Democracy” (Jan. 1940), SW2, pp. 345-6.
“As for education for cadres whether at work or in schools for cadres, a policy should be established of focusing such education on the study of the practical problems of the Chinese revolution and using the basic principles of Marxism-Leninism as the guide, and the method of studying Marxism-Leninism statically and in isolation should be discarded. Moreover, in studying Marxism-Leninism, we should use the History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks), Short Course as the principle material. It is the best synthesis and summing-up of the world communist movement of the past hundred years, a model of the integration of theory and practice, and so far the only comprehensive model in the whole world. When we see how Lenin and Stalin integrated the universal truth of Marxism with the concrete practice of the Soviet revolution and thereby developed Marxism, we shall know how we should work in China.”
—“Reform Our Study” (May 1941), SW3, p. 24.
“I believe we should do things honestly, for without an honest attitude it is absolutely impossible to accomplish anything in this world. Which are the honest people? Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin are honest, men of science are honest. Which are the dishonest people? Trotsky, Bukharin, Chen Tu-hsiu and Chang Kuo-tao are extremely dishonest…”
—“Rectify the Party’s Style of Work” (Feb. 1, 1942), SW3, p. 44.
[Excerpt from Uncertain Partners: Stalin, Mao, and the Korean War quoting Mao’s private reaction to the first of two telegrams Stalin sent him urging him to personally go to Chongqing (Chungking) for negotiations with Chiang Kai-shek.]
“In the first cable (dated August 22 ), Stalin said that China must hold to the road of peaceful development, that he believed the Nationalists and the Communists should reach a peace accord because a civil war would destroy the Chinese nation, and that, accordingly, he thought both Zhou [Enlai] and Mao should go to Chongqing. After receiving Stalin’s cable, an angry Mao remarked, ‘I simply don’t believe that the nation will perish if the people stand up and struggle [against the Nationalist government].’”
—UP, p. 7. Ed. note: Later on (in early 1948) Stalin admitted that he was wrong in initially opposing the Chinese revolution in the period after World War II. Milovan Djilas reports him as saying: “True, we, too, can make a mistake! Here, when the war with Japan ended, we invited the Chinese comrades to reach an agreement as to how a modus vivendi with Chiang Kai-shek might be found. They agreed with us in word, but in deed they did it their own way when they got home: they mustered their forces and struck. It has been shown that they were right, and not we.” [Djilas, Conversations with Stalin, p. 182.] Later still, on July 27, 1949, as the Chinese revolution was on the verge of complete victory, the authors of Uncertain Partners say that while speaking to a CPC delegation in Moscow Stalin “admitted that he was not ‘too well versed’ in Chinese affairs and may have caused obstacles in the Chinese revolution.” [UP, p. 73.]
[Mao quotes a passage from Stalin written in 1918 which includes the remark that the Great October Socialist Revolution “has thereby erected a bridge between the socialist West and the enslaved East, having created a new front of revolutions against world imperialism, extending from the proletarians of the West, through the Russian revolution, to the oppressed peoples of the East.” Mao then continues:]
“History has developed in the direction pointed out by Stalin. The October Revolution has opened up wide possibilities for the emancipation of the peoples of the world and opened up the realistic paths towards it; it has created a new front of revolutions against world imperialism, extending from the proletarians of the West, through the Russian revolution, to the oppressed peoples of the East. This front of revolutions has been created and developed under the brilliant guidance of Lenin and, after Lenin’s death, of Stalin.”
—“Revolutionary Forces of the World Unite, Fight Against Imperialist Aggression!” (Nov. 1948), SW4, pp. 283-4.
[The authors of UP writing:] “In the late 1940s and well into the 1950s, Mao and other Chinese Party leaders repeatedly contended that Mikoyan [in his secret visit on Stalin’s behalf to Mao in early 1949] had recommended that the PLA not cross the Yangtze. That advice they charged up primarily to three reasons. First of all, the Soviets had simply erred in their estimate of the PLA and believed it could not defeat the Nationalists. Marshal Nie Rong-zhen comments that Stalin, lacking confidence in the military power of the Chinese Communists, ‘was somewhat like the ancient man of Qi who was worried that the sky might fall anytime.’ Fear that the crossing would raise the danger of U.S. armed intervention was the second reason, and, third, Stalin wanted to split China in half, creating conflicting ‘Northern and Southern Dynasties,’ the better to control the Communist half. [UP, p. 42. The UP authors go on to suggest that they have doubts about the truth of this story, but provide the following references in support of it:]
[The UP authors continuing in a footnote on p. 306:] “Mao’s first known statement on the ‘Northern and Southern Dynasties’ was made in the spring of 1949, when he said: ‘Some friends abroad half believe and half disbelieve in our victory. [They are] persuading us to stop here and make the Yangtze River a border with Chiang, to create the “Northern and Southern Dynasties.”’ … In 1954, Zhou Enlai told Liu Xiao, the new ambassador to the Soviet Union, that Stalin had ‘sent a representative to Xibaipo [i.e., Mikoyan’s secret visit in Jan.-Feb. 1949 —Ed.] principally for the purpose of understanding the situation in the Chinese revolution and the points of view from our side…. The Soviet Union was dissatisfied [with our intention to liberate all China] and demanded that we “stop the civil war.” In fact the Soviet Union attempted to create the “Northern and Southern Dynasties,” namely two Chinas.’ … Mao referred to this same issue on April 11, 1957.”
[However, a cable from Stalin to Mao in April, 1949, just before the PLA crossed the Yangtze, shows that Stalin did not at that time oppose the crossing, though he still urged caution. On the other hand, not long before sending that cable Stalin was apparently still trying to mediate an end to the civil war and keep China divided. See UP, pp. 43-44.]
“As everyone knows, our Party passed through these twenty-eight years not in peace but amid hardships, for we had to fight enemies, both foreign and domestic, both inside and outside the Party. We thank Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin for giving us a weapon. This weapon is not a machine-gun, but Marxism-Leninism.”
—“On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship” (June 30, 1949), SW4, p. 412.
“World War I shook the whole globe. The Russians made the October Revolution and created the world’s first socialist state. Under the leadership of Lenin and Stalin, the revolutionary energy of the great proletariat and laboring people of Russia, hitherto latent and unseen by foreigners, suddenly erupted like a volcano, and the Chinese and all mankind began to see the Russians in a new light. Then, and only then, did the Chinese enter an entirely new era in their thinking and their life. They found Marxism-Leninism, the universally applicable truth, and the face of China began to change.
“It was through the Russians that the Chinese found Marxism. Before the October Revolution, the Chinese were not only ignorant of Lenin and Stalin, they did not even know of Marx and Engels. The salvoes of the October Revolution brought us Marxism-Leninism.”
—Ibid., p. 413.
“We must not put on bureaucratic airs. If we dig into a subject for several months, for a year or two, for three or five years, we shall eventually master it. At first some of the Soviet Communists also were not very good at handling economic matters and the imperialists awaited their failure too. But the Communist Party of the Soviet Union emerged victorious and, under the leadership of Lenin and Stalin, it learned not only how to make the revolution but also how to carry on construction. It has built a great and splendid socialist state. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union is our best teacher and we must learn from it.”
—Ibid., p. 423.
“After the October Socialist Revolution, the Soviet government, following the policies of Lenin and Stalin, took the lead in abrogating the unequal treaties [concluded] with China under Imperial Russia. Over a period of almost thirty years, the Soviet people and the Soviet government have, on several occasions, assisted the Chinese people in their cause of liberation. The Chinese people will never forget that in the midst of their ordeals they received such fraternal friendship of the Soviet people and the Soviet government.
“…I am confident that with the victory of the Chinese People’s Revolution and the founding of the Chinese People’s Republic, with the joint efforts of the New Democracies and the peace loving peoples of the world, with the common aspirations and close cooperation of [our] two great countries, China and the Soviet Union, and especially with the correct international policies of Generalissimo Stalin, these tasks will certainly be fully carried out and excellent results will be attained.
“Long live the friendship and cooperation of China and the Soviet Union!”
—Speech on Arrival at Moscow Train Station (Dec. 16, 1949), WMZ1, p. 51.
“Dear comrades and friends:
“I am genuinely pleased to have the chance to join this distinguished gathering in celebration of the seventieth birthday of Comrade Stalin.
“Comrade Stalin is a teacher and friend of the people of the world as well as a teacher and friend of the Chinese people. He has further developed the revolutionary theory of Marxism-Leninism and has made extremely outstanding and extensive contributions to the cause of the world Communist movement. In the arduous struggle to resist their oppressors, the Chinese people have become deeply appreciative of the importance of Comrade Stalin’s friendship.
“At this distinguished gathering, on behalf of the Chinese people and the Communist Party of China, I congratulate Comrade Stalin on his seventieth birthday and wish him health and longevity. We wish well-being, strength, and prosperity to our great friend, the Soviet Union under the leadership of Comrade Stalin. We hail the great unprecedented solidarity of the working class in the world under the leadership of Comrade Stalin.
“Long live the great Stalin, leader of the world’s working class and of the international Communist movement!
“Long live the Soviet Union, the stronghold of world peace and democracy!”
—Address at Birthday Celebration Meeting Held for Stalin (Dec. 21, 1949), WMZ1, pp. 52-3, in full. [Although this tribute sounds effusive to us today, when compared to the other speeches from Communist leaders present at Stalin’s birthday celebration it sounds quite restrained and subdued. The authors of UP comment: “In his speech, Mao was lukewarm in his praise of Stalin, describing him as ‘great,’ as opposed to the glowing terms used by all the other foreign leaders: ‘genius,’ ‘genial thinker and leader,’ ‘genial teacher,’ and ‘genial warrior.’” (UP, p. 317, note 80. ‘Genial’, in this context does not mean “friendly”, but rather “of genius”; thus a ‘genial thinker’ is a “thinker of genius”.) Mao’s speech was nevertheless well received. —Ed.]
“Comrade Stalin and many foreign comrades all feel that the victory of the Chinese revolution is an extremely great one.”
—“Don’t Attack on All Fronts” (June 6, 1950), WMZ1, p. 104.
“It was with boundless grief that the Chinese people, the Chinese government, and I myself learned the news of the passing away of the Chinese people’s closest friend and great teacher, Comrade Stalin. This is an inestimable loss, not only for the people of the Soviet Union, but for the Chinese people, for the entire camp of peace and democracy, and for peace-loving people through the world. On behalf of the Chinese people, the Chinese government, and on my own behalf, I extend to you and to the people and government of the Soviet Union our deepest condolences.
“The victory of the Chinese people’s revolution is absolutely inseparable from Comrade Stalin’s unceasing care, leadership, and support of over thirty years. Since the victory of the Chinese people’s revolution, Comrade Stalin and the people and government of the Soviet Union, under his leadership, have rendered generous and selfless assistance to the Chinese people’s cause of construction. Such a great and profound friendship as that which Comrade Stalin had for the Chinese people will be forever remembered with gratitude by the Chinese people. The immortal beacon of Comrade Stalin will forever illuminate the path on which the Chinese people march forward.”
—Telegram to the USSR on Stalin’s Death (March 6, 1953), WMZ1, p. 327.
“Generalissimo Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of our great ally the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, unfortunately passed away at 9:50 p.m. (Moscow time), March 5, 1953. In order to express the Chinese people’s immensely profound mourning [at the demise] of our great Comrade Stalin, the great leader of the world’s laboring people and the most respected and beloved friend and mentor of the Chinese people, and in order to express the Chinese people’s reverence for the leader of our great ally, it is hereby decreed that:
“1. From March 7 to March 9, 1953, flags shall fly at half-mast throughout our country as a symbol of mourning;
“2. In this period of mourning, all factories, mines, enterprises, units of the armed forces, government organs, schools, and people’s organizations shall suspend all banquets and [other] forms of entertainment.”
—Central People’s Government’s Decree on Stalin’s Death (March 6, 1953), WMZ1, p. 328, in full.
“Comrade Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin, the greatest genius of the present age, the great teacher of the world Communist movement, and the comrade-in-arms of the immortal Lenin, has departed from the world.
“Comrade Stalin’s contribution to our era through his theoretical activities and practice is incalculable. Comrade Stalin represented our entire new age. His activities have led the Soviet people and the working people of all countries to turn around the whole world situation. That is to say, the cause of justice and of People’s Democracy and socialism has achieved victory in an immense region of the world, a region embracing more than 800 million people—one third of the earth’s population. Moreover, the influence of this victory is daily spreading to every corner of the world. “The death of Comrade Stalin has caused the laboring people of the whole world to feel unparalleled and profound grief; it has stirred the hearts of just people throughout the world. This demonstrates that Comrade Stalin’s cause and his thought have gripped the broad masses of the people throughout the world and have already become an invincible force, a force that will guide those people who have already achieved victory in achieving still more fresh victories, one after another, and, at the same time, will guide all those people who are still groaning under the oppression of the evil old world of capitalism so that they can strike courageously at the enemies of the people.
“After the death of Lenin, Comrade Stalin led the Soviet people in building into a magnificent socialist society the first socialist state in the world, which he, together with the great Lenin, created at the time of the October Revolution. The victory of socialist construction in the Soviet Union was not only a victory for the people of the Soviet Union, but also a common victory for the people of the whole world. First, this victory proved in the most real-life terms the infinite correctness of Marxism-Leninism and concretely educated working people through the world on how they should advance toward a good life. Second, this victory ensured that during the Second World War humanity would have the strength to defeat the Fascist beast. The achievement of victory in the anti-Fascist war would have been inconceivable without the victory of socialist construction in the Soviet Union. The fate of all humanity was bound up with the victory of socialist construction in the Soviet Union and victory in the anti-Fascist war, and the glory for these victories should be attributed to our great Comrade Stalin.
“Comrade Stalin developed Marxist-Leninist theory in a comprehensive and epoch-making way and propelled the development of Marxism to a new stage. Comrade Stalin creatively developed Lenin’s theory concerning the law of the uneven development of capitalism and the theory that it is possible for socialism to first achieve victory in one country; Comrade Stalin creatively contributed the theory of the general crisis of the capitalist system; he contributed the theory concerning the building of communism in the Soviet Union; he contributed the theory of the fundamental economic laws of present-day capitalism and of socialism; he contributed the theory of revolution in colonies and semi-colonies. Comrade Stalin also creatively developed Lenin’s theory of party-building. All these creative theories of Comrade Stalin’s further united the workers throughout the world, further united the oppressed classes and oppressed people throughout the world, thereby enabling the struggle of the world’s working class and all oppressed people for liberation and well-being and the victories in this struggle to reach unprecedented proportions.
“All of Comrade Stalin’s writings are immortal documents of Marxism. His works, The Foundations of Leninism, The History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union [Bolshevik], and his last great work, Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR, constitute an encyclopedia of Marxism-Leninism, a synthesis of the experience of the world Communist movement of the past hundred years. His speech at the Nineteenth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union is a precious last testament bequeathed to the Communists of all the countries of the world. We Chinese Communists, like the Communists of all countries, search for our own road to victory in the great works of Comrade Stalin.
“Since the death of Lenin, Comrade Stalin has always been the central figure in the world Communist movement. We rallied around him, constantly asked his advice, and constantly drew ideological strength from his works. Comrade Stalin was full of warmth for the oppressed peoples of the East. ‘Do not forget the East’—this was Comrade Stalin’s great call after the October Revolution. Everyone knows that Comrade Stalin warmly loved the Chinese people and regarded the might of the Chinese revolution as incalculable. On the question of the Chinese revolution, he contributed his exalted wisdom. It was by following the teachings of Lenin and Stalin, along with having the support of the great Soviet state and all the revolutionary forces of other countries, that the Communist Party of China and the Chinese people achieved their historic victory a few years ago.
“Now we have lost our great teacher and most sincere friend—Comrade Stalin. What a misfortune this is! The sorrow that this misfortune has brought us cannot be described in words.
“Our task is to transform sorrow into strength. In memory of our great teacher Stalin, the great friendship between the Communist Party of China and the Chinese people [on the one hand] and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Soviet people [on the other] formed in the name of Stalin will never cease to be strengthened. The Chinese Communists and the Chinese people will further intensify the study of Stalin’s teachings and the study of Soviet science and technology in order to build our country.
“The Communist Party of the Soviet Union is a party nurtured personally by Lenin and Stalin; it is the most advanced, the most experienced, and the most theoretically cultivated party in the world. This party has been our model in the past, is our model at present, and will still be our model in the future. We fully believe that the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the government of the Soviet Union headed by Comrade Malenkov will definitely be able to carry on Comrade Stalin’s unfinished work and push the great cause of Communism forward and carry it to greater and more glorious development.
“There is not the slightest doubt that the camp of world peace, democracy, and socialism headed by the Soviet Union will become even more united and even more powerful.
“In the past thirty years, Comrade Stalin’s teachings and the model of the construction of socialism in the Soviet Union have facilitated a major step forward for the world. Now that the Soviet Union has become so powerful, the Chinese people’s revolution has achieved such great victories, construction in the various people’s democracies has achieved such great success, the movement of the peoples of various countries throughout the world against oppression and aggression has risen to such heights, and our front of friendship and solidarity is so consolidated, we can say with complete certainty that we are not afraid of any imperialist aggression. Any imperialist aggression will be smashed by us, and all their despicable provocations will be to no avail.
“The reason that the great friendship between the peoples of the two countries, China and the Soviet Union, is unbreakable is that our friendship has been built on the great principles of the internationalism of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin. The friendship between the peoples of the various people’s democracies, as well as with all the people who love peace, democracy, and justice in all the countries of the world is also built upon these great principles of internationalism and consequently is also unbreakable.
“Clearly, the strength created by this kind of friendship of ours in inexhaustible and truly invincible.
“Let all imperialist aggressors and warmongers tremble before our great friendship!
“Long live the teachings of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin!
“Immortal glory to the heroic name of the great Stalin!”
—“The Greatest Friendship” (March 9, 1953), WMZ1, pp. 329-32, in full.
“[Stalin’s] merits outweigh his faults; [we must] make a concrete analysis [of Stalin’s case], and overall assessment [taking all aspects into account].”
—Comment on Stalin made to Mikoyan around April 6, 1956, about two months after the Twentieth Congress of the CPSU in which Khrushchev denounced Stalin. WMZ2, p. 41, in full.
[The authors of UP writing, and referring to a secret “Additional Agreement” to the Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance, and Mutual Assistance of February 1950, in which Stalin forced China to agree not to allow the citizens of third countries to settle or to carry out any industrial, financial, trade, or other related activities in Manchuria and Xinjiang:] “The agreement reminded the Chinese of the unequal treaties of the past… But we have since learned that as early as April 1956, Mao told Mikoyan the secret deals on Xinjiang and Manchuria were ‘two bitter pills’ that Stalin forced him to swallow, and the next year he complained to Gromyko that ‘only imperialists’ would think of imposing such a deal on China. Indeed, in his contempt for the agreement, Mao came close to giving the game away in [March] 1958, when he spoke of ‘two “colonies” [in China], the Northeast and Xinjiang, where the people of third countries were not permitted to settle down.’”
—UP, p. 122.
“The problem of transmitting [communications]. There are certain things that can be talked about everywhere. The bad things about Stalin and the Third International can be transmitted to the [special] district [Party] committee secretaries as well as to the xian [Party] committee secretaries. These [bad things] were not written into the article out of consideration for the situation as a whole. (In this article there was but one line written: Some bad suggestions were made), and we are not prepared to discuss them in newspapers or among the masses.”
—Talk at Enlarged Meeting of the Political Bureau (April 1956), WMZ2, pp. 71-72. An editorial footnote says that by “bad things” Mao is referring to the criticisms made of Stalin by Khrushchev in his “secret” speech to the 20th Congress of the CPSU in February 1956. The “article” referred to here is apparently “On the Historical Experience of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat” which appeared in the People’s Daily on April 5, 1956. The word xian means something like “county” or “district”.
“When we talk about committing errors we mean committing errors in subjective [perception] and mistakes in thinking. The many articles that we have seen criticizing Stalin’s errors either don’t mention this issue at all, or mention this issue only very infrequently. Why did Stalin commit errors? It’s because on some questions his subjective [perception] did not correspond to objective reality. At present, things like this still [occur] frequently in our work. To be subjective is to proceed not from objective reality or from realistic possibility but rather from subjective desires….”
—“Reinforce the Unity of the Party and Carry Forward the Party Traditions” (Aug. 30, 1956), a speech at a preparatory meeting for the Eighth National Congress of the CPC. WMZ2, p. 112.
“The first thing is to unite with the several dozen Communist parties and with the Soviet Union. Since some mistakes have occurred in the Soviet Union and those things have been much talked about, they have been exaggerated, and now there is the impression that mistakes of that kind are really terrible. There is something wrong with such an outlook. It is impossible for any nation not to commit any mistakes at all, and [since] the Soviet Union was the first socialist country in the world, and has had such a long experience, it is impossible for it not to have made some mistakes. Where are the mistakes of the Soviet Union, such as Stalin’s mistakes, located [in the scheme of things]? They are partial and temporary. Although we hear that some [of these] things have been around for twenty years already, they are nevertheless still temporary and partial and can be corrected. The main current in the Soviet Union, its principal aspect, the majority [of its people], was correct. Russia gave birth to Leninism, and after the October Revolution, it became the first socialist country. It built socialism, defeated fascism, and became a great industrial state. It has many things from which we can learn. Of course, we should study the advanced experiences, and not the backward experiences. We have always proposed the slogan of studying the advanced experience of the Soviet Union. Who asked you to learn the backward experiences? Some people say that no matter what, even the farts of the Russians smell good; that too is subjectivism. Even the Russians themselves would admit that they stink! Therefore, things must be analyzed. We’ve said before that with regard to Stalin, we should [see him as having been] three parts [bad] and seven parts [good].”
—Ibid., pp. 113-4. An editor’s note states that this is probably the first public statement of the “three parts bad, seven parts good” summation of Stalin that Mao repeated subsequently on a number of occasions (see below).
“Stalin should be criticized, but we have differing opinions as to the form the criticism ought to take. There are some other questions, too, on which we disagree.”
—Remarks about the Criticism of Stalin (Oct. 23, 1956), WMZ2, p. 148, in full. A comment made to P. F. Yudin, the Soviet ambassador to China.
“I’d like to say something about the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. As I see it, there are two ‘knives’: one is Lenin and the other is Stalin. The Russians have now relinquished the knife represented by Stalin. Gomulka and some people in Hungary have picked up this knife to kill the Soviet Union, [by] opposing the so-called Stalinism. The Communist parties of many European countries are also criticizing the Soviet Union; the leader [of these parties] is Togliatti. The imperialists are also using this knife to kill people; Dulles, for one, picked it up and played around with it for some time. This knife was not loaned out; it was thrown out. We, the Chinese, did not discard it. Our first [principle] is to defend Stalin; the second is also to criticize Stalin’s mistakes; [so] we wrote the essay ‘On the Historical Experience of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.’
“We are unlike some people who smeared and destroyed Stalin. Rather, we have acted in accordance with the actual situation.
“Are parts of the knife represented by Lenin now also being discarded by people in the Soviet leadership? As I see it, much of it has already been discarded. Is [the experience of] the October Revolution still valid? Can it remain a model for all other countries? Khrushchev’s report at the Twentieth Congress of the CPSU stated that it is possible to achieve political power through parliamentary means. This is to say that other countries no longer need to emulate the October Revolution. Once this door is opened, Leninism will basically be abandoned….
“How much capital do you have? All you have is a Lenin and a Stalin. But you have discarded Stalin, and most of Lenin too. Lenin’s legs are gone, perhaps there’s still a head left, or perhaps one of Lenin’s two hands has been chopped off. We study Marxism-Leninism, and we learn from the October Revolution. Marx has written so much, and Lenin has also written so much! Relying on the masses and taking the mass line are things we learned from them. It is very dangerous not to rely on the masses in waging class struggle and not to distinguish between the enemy and ourselves.”
—Speech at the Second Plenum of the Eight Central Committee (Nov. 15, 1956), Version I, WMZ2, pp. 166-7. This version of the speech, however, had many strong criticisms of Stalin removed from it.
“From the very beginning our Party has emulated the Soviet Union. The mass line, our political work, and [the theory of] the dictatorship of the proletariat have all been learned from the October Revolution. At that time, Lenin had focused on the mobilization of the masses, and on organizing the worker-peasant-soldier soviet, and so on. He did not rely on [doing things by] administrative decree. Rather, Lenin sent Party representatives to carry out political work. The problem lies with the latter phase of Stalin’s leadership [which came] after the October Revolution. Although [Stalin] was still promoting socialism and communism, he nonetheless abandoned some of Lenin’s things, deviated from the orbit of Leninism, and became alienated from the masses, and so on. Therefore, we did suffer some disadvantages when we emulated the things of the later stages of Stalin’s leadership and transplanted them for application in China in a doctrinaire way. Today, the Soviet Union still has some advanced experiences that deserve to be emulated, but there are some other [aspects] in which we simply cannot be like the Soviet Union. For example, the socialist transformation of the capitalist industries and commerce, the cooperativization of agriculture, and the Ten Major Relationships in economic construction; these are all ways of doing things in China. From now on, in our socialist economic construction, we should primarily start with China’s circumstances, and with the special characteristics of the circumstances and the times in which we are situated. Therefore, we must still propose the slogan of learning from the Soviet Union; just that we cannot forcibly and crudely transplant and employ things blindly and in a doctrinaire fashion. Similarly, we can also learn some of the things that are good in bourgeois countries; this is because every country must have its strengths and weaknesses, and we intend chiefly to learn other people’s strengths.
“Stalin had a tendency to deviate from Marxism-Leninism. A concrete expression of this is [his] negation of contradictions, and to date, [the Soviet Union] has not yet thoroughly eliminated the influence of this viewpoint of Stalin’s. Stalin spoke [the language of] materialism and the dialectical method, but in reality he was subjectivist. He placed the individual above everything else, negated the group, and negated the masses. [He engaged in] the worship of the individual; in fact, to be more precise, [in] personal dictatorships. This is antimaterialism. Stalin also spoke of the dialectical method, but in reality [he] was metaphysical. For example, in the [Short] History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolshevik), he wrote of the dialectical method, [but] put [the theory of] contradictions [only] at the very end. We should say that the most fundamental problem of dialectics is the unity of contradictory opposites. It is [precisely] because of his metaphysical [character] that a one-sided viewpoint was produced, in which the internal connections in a thing are repudiated, and problems are looked at isolatedly and in a static way. To pay heed to dialectics would be to look at problems and treat a problem as a unity of opposites, and that is why it would be [a] comprehensive [methodology]. Life and death, war and peace, are opposites of a contradiction. In reality, they also have an internal connection between them. That is why at times these oppositions are also united. When we [seek to] understand problems we cannot see only one side. We should analyze [it] from all sides, look through its essence. In this way, with regard to [understanding] a person, we would not be [taking the position] at one time that he is all good, and then at another time that he is all bad, without a single good point. Why is our Party correct? It is because we have been able to proceed from the objective conditions in understanding and resolving all problems; in this way we are more comprehensive and we can avoid being absolutists.
“Secondly, the mass line was seen as tailism by Stalin. [He] did not recognize the good points about the mass line, and he used administrative methods to resolve many problems. But we Communists are materialists; we acknowledge that it is the masses who create everything and are the masters of history. [For us] there are no individual heroes; only when the masses are united can there be strength. In fact, since Lenin died, the mass line has been forgotten in the Soviet Union. [Even] at the time of opposing Stalin, [the Soviet Union’s leadership] still did not properly acknowledge or emphasize the significance of the mass line. Of course, more recently, attention has begun to be paid to this, but the understanding is still not [sufficiently] deep.
“Furthermore, class struggle and the dictatorship of the proletariat were [items] that Lenin had emphasized. At one time, the divergence between Lenin and the Third International and the Second International was mainly along the lines that the Marxists emphasized the class struggle and the dictatorship of the proletariat whereas the opportunists were unwilling to acknowledge them. One of the lessons to be learned from the occurrence of the Polish and Hungarian Incidents, in addition to [the fact that] there were shortcomings in the work [of the Communist parties], is that after the victory of the revolution they had not properly mobilized the masses to weed out thoroughly the counterrevolutionary elements.”
—Speech at the Second Plenum of the Eight Central Committee (Nov. 15, 1956), Version II, WMZ2, pp. 185-6. One excessively long paragraph in the report of this speech has been broken up into three paragraphs for readability purposes. Note that an expurgated version of this speech, which drastically tones down the criticisms of Stalin, is given as “version I” in WMZ2, and was also published in slightly different form after Mao’s death in the Selected Works of Mao Tsetung, vol. V. (An excerpt from “version I” is presented above, just before this item.)
“The fundamental policy and line during the period of Stalin’s administration were correct; methods employed against the enemy mustn’t be used against our own comrade.”
—Comment on the Criticism of Stalin (Nov. 30, 1956), WMZ2, p. 196. A remark made to the Soviet ambassador.
“Last year several great storms raged in the international sphere. The Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union kicked up a row against Stalin. Following that, the imperialists cooked up two major anti-Communist storms, and in the international Communist movement also there were two big storms of debate. Some of the [Communist] parties in Europe and America felt the impact of these upheavals and suffered considerable damage, but the damage sustained and the degree to which the [Communist] parties in the countries in the East were affected was relatively small. With the convocation of the ‘Twentieth Congress’ of the CPSU, some people who had supported Stalin enthusiastically in the past have now become very vigorous in their opposition [to him]. I don’t think these people are practicing Marxism-Leninism; they do not analyze problems, and they are also lacking in revolutionary ethics. Marxism-Leninism also includes [the code of] revolutionary ethics of the proletariat. You supported [Stalin] so very enthusiastically in the past; before making such a big switch now, you must at least give some reason [for doing so]. [Instead,] you offered no reason at all, but made such a sudden 180-degree turn and acted as if you had never supported Stalin, although actually you supported him very strongly in the past. The Stalin problem involves the entire international Communist movement, and the parties in all countries have become involved.
“With regard to the ‘Twentieth Congress’ of the CPSU, the overwhelming majority of the cadres in our Party are dissatisfied with it, believing that it was too harsh in its treatment of Stalin. This is a normal feeling and a normal reaction. Among a minority, however, there is stirring. Whenever a typhoon approaches, the ants will leave their holes before the rain comes. They have very sharp ‘noses,’ and they understand meteorology. When the typhoon of the CPSU’s Twentieth Congress approached, in China too, some ants left their holes. These are the vacillating elements in the Party; they vacillate whenever they get the chance. When they heard that Stalin was knocked off with a single blow, they felt very comfortable about it and swung over to the [other] side, shouting ‘Long live [Khrushchev]!’ and saying that everything about Khrushchev was good and that they’d always held that view. Later, when the imperialists hit back with a few blows, and a few blows were delivered from within the international Communist movement itself, even Khrushchev had to change his tune, and they again swung back over to this side. Compelled by the general trend, they had no choice but to swing back. [It’s like] a tuft of grass on a wall; when the wind blows it sways to one side and then the other. To swing back was not their true intention; their true intention was to swing over to the other side. Those people within the Party and outside it who gloated about the Polish affair and the Hungarian affair made a good show of it! They talked about Poznan one moment and about Hungary the next. In this way they exposed themselves; the ants left their holes, and even the turtles have come out. They followed Gomulka’s baton. When Gomulka said [he wanted] big democracy, they too said that ‘they wanted] big democracy. The situation has changed now, and they do not utter a sound. Silence [,however,] is not their true intention; their true intention is to make a lot of noise.
“Whenever a typhoon blows, the vacillating elements who cannot stand up to it will sway back and forth; this is a law. I advise everybody to pay attention to this problem….”
—Speech at a Conference of Provincial, Municipal, and Autonomous Region Party Secretaries (Jan. 18, 1957), version I, WMZ2, pp. 230-1. (Version I is also available in SW vol. 5.) See below for the same passage from version II.
“After the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the great majority of the people in our Party [remained] normal and secure, [but] there was a tremor among a small number of people. Before it rains, there are bound to be ants leaving their holes. In China, too, a small number of ants wanted to leave their holes to engage in some activity. Now Khrushchev has changed, and the ants have withdrawn, gone back [into the holes]. After the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, two big storms came up. The [Communist] parties in many countries suffered damage: The British Party lost one-fourth [of its membership], the Swiss [Party] half; and the United States made chaos throughout the world. The Eastern parties and the Party in China were not quite so severely affected. The problem of Stalin has involved the entire Communist movement. Some people criticize Stalin without making any analysis. The people who were most staunchly supportive of Stalin in the past are precisely the most vehemently opposed to Stalin now. They have suddenly turned around 180 degrees; they no longer talk of Marxism-Leninism, or of ethics. In the Party, some people begin to teeter as soon as there is any rustling in the wind. Some sway once or twice and then stop swaying; some will go on swaying forever. Saplings, the stalks of rice, barley, corn, and the grass on the wall always sway when they see the wind coming; only the big tree will not sway. There are typhoons every year, but there is not necessarily a political typhoon every year. This phenomenon is a natural phenomenon in society and politics.
“The Chinese Party is a proletarian [and] semiproletarian party, but many members come from rich peasant, landlord, and capitalist family backgrounds. Some Party members, even though they have struggled hard and arduously for many years, have not learned Marxism-Leninism well, and cannot endure typhoons ideologically and politically; they ought to pay attention. Some people in the Party have passed every gate except this gate of socialism….”
—Speech at a Conference of Provincial, Municipal, and Autonomous Region Party Secretaries (Jan. 18, 1957), version II, WMZ2, pp. 240-1. See previous item for the same passage from version I.
“My advice to the comrades here today is that if you [already] understand materialism and dialectics, then you still need to supplement it by learning a bit about their opposites, idealism and metaphysics. Those things on the opposing side, Kant’s and Hegel’s writings, Confucius, and Chiang Kai-shek’s books, ought to be read. If you don’t understand idealism and metaphysics and have not undergone a struggle against these things of the opposing side, your materialism and dialectics would not be solid. The shortcoming of some of our Communist Party members and Communist intellectuals is precisely that they know too little about the things on the opposite side. They read a few books written by Marx and proceed to talk about them accordingly; this is relatively monotonous. Their speeches and writings [therefore] lack persuasiveness. If you don’t study things on the opposite side you cannot refute them. Marx, Engels, and Lenin were not like that. They all studied energetically and learned all sorts of contemporary and historical things; moreover, they counseled others to do the same. The three component parts of Marxism were produced through the process of studying the things in bourgeois [society], studying German classical philosophy, British classical economics, and French utopian socialism, and struggling against them. Stalin was a bit less sound. For instance during his time German classical idealist philosophy was said to be a kind of reaction on the part of the German aristocracy to the French Revolution. To draw a conclusion like that is to totally negate German classical idealist philosophy. He [also] negated German military science, saying that [since] the Germans had been defeated, their military science was impractical, and Clausewitz’s book needn’t be read any more.
“Stalin had a lot of metaphysical [ideas], and he taught many people to engage in metaphysics. In the Short Course on the History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolshevik), he said that Marxist dialectics had four basic characteristics. The first that he talked about was the relationship between things, as if all things were related for no reason. In fact, how are things related? The relationship is actually between the two aspects of a contradiction. In everything there are two aspects in opposition to each other. The fourth [characteristic] he talked about was the internal contradiction in things. Again, he only talked about the struggle between opposites, but not about the unity of opposites. According to this unity of opposites—this basic law of dialectics—opposites struggle against each other, and at the same time they are united; they are mutually exclusive and also interrelated, and under certain conditions they transform themselves into each other.
“The entry on ‘identity’ in the fourth edition of the Concise Dictionary of Philosophy compiled in the Soviet Union reflects Stalin’s point of view. The dictionary says, ‘Phenomena such as war and peace, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, and life and death have no identity because they are fundamentally opposed to and mutually exclusive of each other.’ This is to say that these phenomena which are in fundamental opposition to each other do not have identity in the Marxist [sense], are mutually exclusive rather than interrelated, and cannot transform themselves into each other under certain [necessary] conditions. This interpretation is fundamentally incorrect.”
[Mao then elaborates on this point in several more paragraphs. –Ed.]
“Stalin was unable to make the connection between the struggle and unity of opposites. The thought of some people in the Soviet Union is just metaphysical and petrified like that; they view things in either this way or that way [arbitrarily] and do not acknowledge the unity of opposites. Therefore, they make mistakes in politics. We uphold the viewpoint of the unity of opposites and adopt the policy of letting a hundred flowers bloom and letting a hundred schools contend. At the same time that fragrant flowers are blooming, there will inevitably be poisonous weeds blooming too. This is nothing to fear, and, under certain conditions, it may even be beneficial.”
—Speech at the Conference of Provincial, Municipal, and Autonomous Region Party Secretaries (Jan. 27, 1957), version I, WMZ2, pp. 253-5.
“In our Party, there are also all sorts of opinions that are in opposition to each other. For instance, there are two opposing views regarding the CPSU’s knocking off Stalin in one blow at the ‘Twentieth Congress’; one supports [the CPSU’s action] and the other opposes it. Differences of opinion in the Party are a common occurrence. If opinions happen to coincide, after a month or two, new and differing opinions will again emerge.”
—Ibid., p. 257.
“The fundamental reason for being afraid of trouble and for handling these matters in a simple way lies in not recognizing ideologically that socialist society is a unity of opposites and that there are contradictions, classes, and class struggle within it.
“For a long time Stalin refused to recognize that under the socialist system contradictions between the relations of production and the forces of production and contradictions between the superstructure and the economic base [continue to exist]. It was only when he wrote Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR one year before his death that he hesitantly discussed the contradictions between the relations of production and the forces of production under the socialist system and said that if policies were incorrect or improperly regulated, problems would arise. Even so, he still did not present [the problem of] contradictions under a socialist system between the relations and the forces of production and between the superstructure and the economic base as an issue of overall significance, he still did not recognize that these contradictions are the basic contradictions that propel socialist society forward. He thought that his state was secure. We mustn’t think that the state is secure; it is secure and, at the same time, insecure.
“…Since the Second World War, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the parties in some countries in East Europe have no longer concerned themselves with the fundamental principles of Marxism. They are no longer concerned about class struggle, the dictatorship of the proletariat, the leadership of the Party, democratic centralism, and the connection between the Party and the masses. The [political] atmosphere is thinning out. Consequently, the Hungarian affair has occurred. We must firmly uphold the fundamental theories of Marxism. Every province, municipality, and autonomous region must promote theoretical work and cultivate Marxist theoreticians and critics in a planned way.”
—Ibid., pp. 261-2.
“Letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend is still correct. Truth emerges out of struggle with error. Beauty emerges out of comparison with and struggle with ugliness. Good deeds and good people emerge out of comparison with and struggle with evil deeds and evil people. Fragrant flowers emerge from the comparison with and struggle with poisonous weeds. Materialism emerges out of the comparison with and struggle with idealism. Many people hate Chiang Kai-shek, but they don’t know what a bastard Chiang Kai-shek really is. Therefore we should publish the collected works of Chiang Kai-shek. We should also publish the collected works of Sun Yat-sen and the collected works of Kang Youwei. To prohibit people from coming into contact with ugliness, error and fallacies, idealism, and metaphysics is a very dangerous policy. It would cause people’s thinking to deteriorate and ossify; it would make them one-sided and incapable of facing the world or meeting the challenge of a rival show. We Communists know too little about the opposite side, so we are comparatively monotonous and can hardly produce any persuasive statements. Neither Marx, nor Engels, nor Lenin was like this. They all strenuously studied contemporary and historical matters and also instructed other people to study in a like manner. Stalin was a bit inferior. He rejected German philosophy (Kant and Feuerbach), and because Germany was defeated in war he also rejected German military teachings. Germany’s classical philosophy is the forefather of Marxism. Stalin was in reality metaphysical [in his ideas], and he did not recognize the unity of opposites. In the Dictionary of Philosophy they employed a metaphysical way of putting things. [In it,] war does not turn into peace, nor does peace turn into war; the two things are separate and unrelated; they are not mutually transmutable; they only struggle [with each other], but there is no unity. Lenin said that war was an extension of politics and a special means, and that peace was a result of war. [He said that] politics was struggle during the time of peace, and that it is during times of war that peace is fomented. Stalin misled many people. These people had a lot of metaphysics in their minds and became rigid in their thinking, thus they committed political mistakes. When others disagreed [with them] occasionally, they were ostracized. [When one was deemed a] counterrevolutionary, the only [fate one could meet was that of] death by execution, and whoever disagreed with the Soviet Union was called anti-Soviet. But in real life Stalin could not do all things in this way. Stalin didn’t execute or jail everybody. In 1936 and 1937 he killed many people. In 1938 he killed fewer, and in 1939 he killed even fewer. It is not possible to execute everyone who disagrees. We, for one, had disagreements with Stalin. We wanted to sign a Sino-Soviet Treaty, but he didn’t want to sign; we wanted the Chinese-Changchun Railway back, but he didn’t want to give it up. Even so, it is still possible to snatch the meat out of a tiger’s mouth.”
—Speech at the Conference of Provincial, Municipal, and Autonomous Region Party Secretaries (Jan. 27, 1957), version II, WMZ2, pp. 279-280.
“Fifth, the development of agriculture is the primary source of accumulation for the state. Therefore we must persuade cadres to go to the rural areas; if we want to industrialize, then we must engage in agriculture. A ratio of accumulation must be worked out. Stalin emphasized accumulation too much, which had a [negative] impact on industry. What ratio is actually desirable still needs to be studied. In short, we must make the cooperatives expand reproduction so that we can be assured of even greater accumulation. We must not drain the pond to catch the fish.”
—Ibid., p. 284.
“Materialism and idealism are a unity of opposites, and dialectics and metaphysics are also a unity of opposites. With philosophy there is always struggle; to discuss philosophy you have to struggle. Some people, when they discuss philosophy, only talk about one side [of the issue]; [when they talk about] letting a hundred flowers bloom, they only talk about letting fragrant flowers bloom, and not about getting rid of poisonous weeds. We acknowledge that opposites exist in socialism. Stalin had his metaphysics, and his subjectivism. The Soviet Union does not acknowledge the existence of opposites [within socialism], and forbids [their existence] by law; as a matter of fact, many wrong things are hidden behind the front of socialism. Lenin believed that merely talking about materialism could not solve problems. To solve problems, one must struggle with idealism. To struggle with it, one must study idealism. The three component parts of Marxism are the result of struggle after having studied capitalist things.”
—Interjections at a Conference of Provincial and Municipal Party Secretaries (Jan. 1957), WMZ2, p. 292.
“Dogmatism has no force. One of the reasons why it has developed is because the Communist party has come into power. Marx and Engels criticized Dühring, and Lenin criticized Lunacharsky. They had to exert great efforts to outargue them. Stalin was different (he was in power). So his criticism was not balanced and was very similar to a father scolding his son. [It’s like the saying:] ‘As soon as he has power in his hands, he rules by fiat.’ Criticism should not rely on state power; it should use truth. If you use Marxism, if you apply effort, you can prevail.
“You can’t use dogmatism to criticize others, because it has no power. See how Lenin wrote his empirio-criticism. Later on Stalin was different. He didn’t discuss problems [with others] on an equal footing. He didn’t air his opinions only after collecting large quantities of materials. Some of the things he wrote were good, others he wrote as if he were sitting on a hillock and picking up stones to hit people. One is uncomfortable after reading [such writings]….
“Dogmatist articles are dull, oversimplified, and unconvincing.
“Dogmatism has developed because [we] have come into power.
“Marx and Engels put a lot of thought into refuting Dühring. But Stalin in power was different. He cursed people, was inequitable, so he couldn’t be convincing.
“We should study articles that analyze other people.
“Once in power, to curse people like dressing down a son is no good.
“The relationship between the people and the party in power shouldn’t be one between the people and their master. We shouldn’t curse.
“Dogmatism is not Marxism.”
—Talk at Yinian Tang (Feb. 16, 1957), SSCM, pp. 119-20.
“Stalin had his Idealism and his materialism; he had a one-sided character.
“Metaphysics has Idealism as well as materialism. Stalin had both. He had dialectics as well as metaphysics. Precisely for this reason he had both merits and demerits; his merits surpass his demerits.
“Soviet comrades find it difficult to change; they like to use high-handed methods.”
—Ibid., p. 123.
“Stalin is fundamentally a materialist. He also has some [sense of] dialectics, but not quite that much of dialectics.”
— Conversations with Scientists and Writers on Contradiction among the People (Feb. 16, 1957), WMZ2, p. 304. (This is probably an alternate translation of the previous item.)
“Lenin said contradictions among the people exist, but Lenin did not have time enough to analyze this question fully. As for antagonism, is it possible for contradictions among the people to be transformed from non-antagonistic contradictions into antagonistic ones? It must be said that it is possible; but in Lenin’s time this had not yet happened, and perhaps he did not watch this problem carefully since he had such a short time [as leader of the Soviet Union]. After the October Revolution, during the period when Stalin was in charge, for a long time he confused these two types of contradictions. Problems like bad mouthing the government, talking about the government, being dissatisfied with the government, being dissatisfied with the Communist party, criticizing the government, criticizing the Communist party, are in origin problems among the people. But there are two types of criticism: There is the enemy criticizing us, the enemy being dissatisfied with the Communist party; and there are the people criticizing us, the people being dissatisfied with us; and the two must be distinguished. Stalin for so many years did not make such distinctions, or rarely did. A few [comrades] who have worked in the Soviet Union for many years have told me there were no distinctions; you could only talk about good things, not bad; you could only sing praises, not make criticisms; whoever made a criticism was suspect of being an enemy and ran the risk of imprisonment or execution.”
—“On the Correct Handling of Contradictions among the People” (Speaking Notes), (Feb. 27, 1957), SSCM, pp. 136-7.
“You could only speak favorably, and not unfavorably; you could only sing praises to his successes and virtues, but were not allowed to criticize; if you expressed any criticisms he suspected you of being an enemy, and you were in danger of being sent to a camp or executed…
“‘Leftists’ are left opportunists. The so-called ‘leftists’ raise the banner of the ‘left’ but they are not really left, for they exaggerate the contradictions between ourselves and the enemy. Stalin, for example, was such a person…”
—“On the Correct Handling of Contradictions among the People” (Speaking Notes), (Feb. 27, 1957). Quoted in TMT, p. 122. Alternate translation below.
“‘Left’-ists, ‘left’ opportunists. So-called ‘leftists’ are ‘left’ in quotation marks, not the true left. These people excessively emphasize antagonistic contradictions between the enemy and ourselves. For example, Stalin was this kind of person; we, too, have such people who stress [them] to excess, mistaking the second type of contradiction, contradictions originally among the people, for the first type, mistaking them as [contradictions] between the enemy and ourselves….
“…The policy previously employed was the one brought back from the Western Paradise. That ‘Western Paradise’ was Stalin and [the policy] was called ‘ruthless struggle and merciless blows.’ Seeing that this was not suitable, when we later criticized dogmatism, we discontinued using the method of ‘dealing with a man as he deals with you’ [i.e., ‘an eye for an eye’]. [We] chose another method, another policy, which is to unite with them, to proceed from the desire for unity, to go through criticism or struggle, to achieve unity based on a new foundation. This policy was apparently [sic] raised in the 1942 Rectification [Movement].”