Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


September 7, 1955

[Inner-Party directive drafted for the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.]

At present, the slogan "Rely on the poor peasants (including all the new middle peasants who were formerly poor peasants) and firmly unite with the middle peasants" remains basically correct. However, (1) well-to-do middle peasants (that is, upper-middle peasants) have emerged from among the new middle peasants, and, except for some with a higher political consciousness, they are unwilling to join the co-operatives for the time being; (2) the lower-middle peasants among the old middle peasants are generally interested in joining the co-operatives, because in economic status they are more or less similar to the lower-middle peasants among the new middle peasants, as they were not well off to start with and the interests of some were improperly encroached upon at the time of the agrarian reform. For these two reasons, in all places where co-operation has not yet reached high tide and the well-to-do middle peasants are lacking in political consciousness, it is proper first to draw into the co-operatives the following three sections of people (in batches according to the level of their political consciousness, beginning with those with a higher consciousness): (1) the poor peasants; (2) the lower-middle peasants among the new middle peasants (In the revised version of Comrade Mao Tsetung's report the middle peasants are divided into two sections only, the upper- and the lower-middle peasants, and no mention is made of the intermediate-middle peasants so as to avoid a classification too fine for drawing distinctions. The lower-middle peasants as now defined actually cover the originally defined lower- and intermediate-middle peasants among the new middle peasants.); and (3) the lower-middle peasants among the old middle peasants. All those well-to-do middle peasants, that is, the upper-middle peasants among both the new and old middle peasants, who are as yet unwilling to join the co-operatives, should not be dragged in against their will. At present, in many places there are cases of forcing the well-to-do middle peasants into the co-operatives with an eye to obtaining their draught animals and farm implements (at too low a price and with payments over too long a period). This is actually an encroachment on their interests and a violation of the principle of "firmly uniting with the middle peasants". And we must never go against this Marxist principle. At present, in all places where co-operatives have just been set up or are not yet in a dominant position, it would be most disadvantageous if those well-to-do middle peasants with deep-seated bourgeois ideas are dragged in, or if, by their own efforts, they worm their way in to seize the leadership (rather than join out of genuine political consciousness) or form such co-operatives of poor quality as those found in Shuangcheng County, Heilungkiang Province. This would be most disadvantageous to the establishment of the leadership of the poor and lower-middle peasants, whereas it is imperative to establish this leadership in all co-operatives. (Of course exceptions should be made of a few well-to-do middle peasants who are fair-minded and competent and have a higher political consciousness.) Some say that the slogan "Rely on the poor peasants and firmly unite with the middle peasants" seems to have been discarded in our present formulation; this is not true. We have not discarded the slogan but rather made it more specific in the light of the new conditions, that is, we count the lower-middle peasants among the old middle peasants as a section of the people on whom to rely, but not those new middle peasants who have risen to become well-to-do middle peasants. This distinction is made according to their economic status and to whether they take an active attitude towards the co-operative movement. In other words, we take the poor peasants and the two sections of lower-middle peasants, who correspond to the old poor peasants, as people to rely on, and the two sections of upper-middle peasants who correspond to the old middle peasants as people firmly to unite with, and at present one way of uniting with them is to refrain from forcing them to join the co-operatives and encroaching on their interests.

Some additional points must be made clear with regard to the question of whom to rely on in the rural areas. First of all, we should rely on Party and League members. It is wrong for our Party committees from the district level up or for cadres sent to direct work in the rural areas not to rely primarily on the Party and League members there but to lump them together with the non-Party and non-League people. Second, we should rely on the more active elements among the non-Party people, who should account for some 5 per cent of the rural population (for example, there should be some I25 such activists in a township of about 2,500 people). We should do our best to cultivate a group of such activists, and we should not lump them together with the masses either. Third, we should then rely on the masses, on the poor peasants and the two sections of lower-middle peasants. Failure to be clear about whom to rely on and how to rely on them will lead to mistakes in the co-operative movement.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung