UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A study of the significance of the Chinese People's Communes in the Sino-Soviet dispute Marson, Derek Brian 1964

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A STUDY OF THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CHINESE PEOPLE«S COMMUNES IN THE SINO-SOVIET DISPUTE by D. B. MAR SON B.A., University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1 9 6 2 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n the Department of P o l i t i c a l Science We accent-^this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September 1964 ABSTRACT W i t h t h e i n t r o d u c t i o n o f t h e p e o p l e * s communes i n t h e P e o p l e * s R e p u b l i c o f C h i n a i n 1 9 5 8 , a f a r - r e a c h i n g i d e o l o g i c a l d i s p u t e a r o s e b e t w e e n t h e C o m m u n i s t P a r t y o f t h e S o v i e t U n i o n a n d t h e C o m m u n i s t P a r t y o f C h i n a . I n t h e y e a r s f o l l o w i n g t h e d e a t h o f S t a l i n , t h e C o m m u n i s t P a r t y o f t h e S o v i e t U n i o n h a d e m b a r k e d u p o n a d o m e s t i c p o l i c y w h i c h l a r g e l y i g n o r e d many o f t h e d i r e c t i v e s l a i d down b y t h e f a t h e r s o f C o m m u n i s m , a n d w h i c h o f t e n s u b o r d i n a t e d i d e o l o g i c a l c o n s i d e r a t i o n s t o p r a g m a t i c e c o n o m i c c o n s i d e r a t i o n s . The p e o p l e ' s communes e m b o d i e d a n a t t e m p t b y t h e C h i n e s e c o m m u n i s t s t o r e a l i z e a l l t h e p r e -r e q u i s i t e s t o Communism w h i c h t h e S o v i e t U n i o n h a d f o r s a k e n i n t h e i r d r i v e t o i n c r e a s e p r o d u c t i o n a n d t h u s c o n s t i t u t e d a c h a l l e n g e t o t h e " r e v i s i o n i s t " p o l i c i e s o f t h e S o v i e t U n i o n . T h i s w a s e s p e c i a l l y t r u e i n t h e l i g h t o f t h e s p e c i f i c r e j e c t i o n o f communes b y t h e S o v i e t l e a d e r s a f e w m o n t h s b e f o r e t h e C h i n e s e communes w e r e i n t r o d u c e d . M o r e o v e r , b e c a u s e " a n t i -p a r t y " g r o u p s e x i s t e d b o t h w i t h i n t h e C h i n e s e a n d S o v i e t p a r t i e s , a n d w e r e g i v e n i d e o l o g i c a l s u p p o r t b y t h e o p p o s i n g p a r t y , t h e d i s p u t e o v e r t h e p r i n c i p l e s i n v o l v e d i n t h e communes w a s t u r n e d f r o m a t h e o r e t i c a l d i s p u t e i n t o a c o n c r e t e s t r u g g l e w i t h i n t h e s e p a r a t e p a r t i e s . B e s i d e s b e i n g a n i d e o l o g i c a l d i s p u t e o v e r t h e c o r r e c t p o l i c i e s t o f o l l o w d u r i n g t h e t r a n s i t i o n t o Commun ism, t h e commune c o n t r o v e r s y a l s o r e l a t e d d i r e c t l y t o t h e more p r e d o m i -n a n t i s s u e s o f t h e S i n o - S o v i e t d i s p u t e . The m i l i t a r y s i g n i f i c a n c e o f t h e communes p r o v i d e d one s u c h l i n k ; t h e d e t r i m e n t a l e f f e c t o f t h e communes on t h e w o r l d ' s i m a g e o f Communism p r o v i d e d a n o t h e r s u c h l i n k , a n d t h e e x i s t e n c e o f p r o - S o v i e t a n d p r o - C h i n e s e f a c t i o n s w i t h i n t h e t w o p a r t i e s , p r o v i d e d t h e o t h e r l i n k ; t h e l a t t e r s i t u a t i o n w a s e s p e c i a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t i n t h e commune c o n t r o v e r s y s i n c e t h e C . P . S . U . 1 l s s u p p o r t f o r t h e a n t i - c o m m u n e f a c t i o n o f M a r s h a l l P e n g T e h - h u a i a n d C h a n g W e n - t i a n , w a s a t t h e same t i m e s u p p o r t f o r a f a c t i o n more i n s y m p a t h y w i t h t h e " r e v i s i o n i s t " f o r e i g n p o l i c y o f t h e S o v i e t U n i o n . I n a b r o a d e r p e r s p e c t i v e , t h e commune c o n t r o v e r s y a l s o r a i s e d i m p o r t a n t i s s u e s c o n c e r n i n g i d e o l o g i c a l a u t h o r i t y , p a r t i c u l a r l y o v e r q u e s t i o n s o f d o m e s t i c p o l i c y d u r i n g t h e t r a n s i t i o n t o C o m m u n i s m . S i n c e t h e C h i n e s e p a r t y r e m a i n s d e t e r m i n e d t o p r o c e e d w i t h t h e i r commune p r o g r a m a s s o o n a s e c o n o m i c c o n d i t i o n s a l l o w , a n d s i n c e t h e C . P . S . U . c o n t i n u e s t o make a more a n d more l i b e r a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f C o m m u n i s t s o c i e t y , i t c a n b e e x p e c t e d t h a t t h e i s s u e s e m b o d i e d i n t h e commune c o n t r o v e r s y w i l l c o n t i n u e t o be s t r o n g l y c o n t e n d e d b y t h e two p a r t i e s . M o r e o v e r , t h e f a c t t h a t t h e commune i s s u e i s r e l a t e d t o t h e more p r e d o m i n a n t i s s u e s o f t h e S i n o - S o v i e t d i s p u t e , s u g g e s t s t h a t t h e d e b a t e o v e r t h e communes w i l l c o n t i n u e a s l o n g a s d i f f e r e n c e s r e m a i n b e t w e e n t h e two g i a n t s o f t h e C o m m u n i s t w o r l d . In presenting t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements for an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e for reference and study, I further agree that per-mission for extensive copying of t h i s t h esis f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h i s representatives, I t i s understood that copying or p u b l i -c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s for f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my w r i t t e n permission. Department of \ okc. The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, Vancouver 8 , Canada TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER PAGE I. THE PEOPLE'S COMMUNES: AN INTRODUCTION . . . 1 II . THE IDEOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS OF THE DISPUTE: THE COMMON IDEOLOGY 8 Marx 8 The Concept of Communism 8 Engels Ik Lenin's Concept of Socialism and Communism. 19 Lenin i n the Post-Revolutionary Phase . . . 23 Stalin's Succession and His Path to Communism 37 III. THE DIALOGUE OF A DISPUTE: THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COMMUNE CONTROVERSY $k The Early Experiments: Spring 1958 . . . » 6k The Reform of Soviet Agriculture 65 The Development of C o l l e c t i v e Farm Theory . 75 IV. THE UNVEILING OF THE COMMUNES: SIN0-SOVIET CONFRONTATION 86 The Chinese Party Congress 86 Khrushchev at the Bulgarian Party Congress. 89 Public Unveiling of the "People's Communes" 93 Confrontation over the Communes: July 1958 96 Commune Upsurge: August 1958 . . . . . . . 99 V. THE COMMUNE RESOLUTION AND. SOVIET REACTION. . 105 Communes i n the Chinese Press 113 The Soviet Response to the Communes . . . . 118 CHAPTER PAGE T h e P a r t - S u p p l y S y s t e m 122 C o n t i n u i n g S o v i e t R e a c t i o n 12*+ The B e g i n n i n g o f R e t r e a t 127 V I . THE C H I N E S E RETREAT 129 The L u s h a n R e s o l u t i o n 130 C o n t i n u i n g S o v i e t D i s p l e a s u r e 138 M i k o y a n i n t h e U . S 139 German P a r t y R e a c t i o n t o t h e Commune . . . . lM+ V I I . THE T W E N T Y - F I R S T CONGRESS AND THE AFTERMATH: TEMPORARY TRUCE lk6 C h o u E n - L a i * s C o n g r e s s S p e e c h 167 P a v e l Y u d i n on E c o n o m i c Q u e s t i o n s 173 C h i n e s e R e a c t i o n t o 21st C o n g r e s s 177 The P o s t - C o n g r e s s E c o n o m i c A i d A g r e e m e n t . . 179 Commune C o n s o l i d a t i o n a n d S o v i e t A c c e p t a n c e : S p r i n g 1959 185 V I I I . R I F T OVER THE COMMUNES I N THE C H I N E S E COMMUNIST PARTY AND SOVIET INVOLVEMENT (SUMMER 1959) 19^ The A n t i - C o m m u n e E l e m e n t w i t h i n t h e C h i n e s e C o m m u n i s t P a r t y lyk E c o n o m i c D i s l o c a t i o n a n d M o u n t i n g U n r e s t w i t h i n t h e P a r t y 205 The P o s i t i o n o f t h e P . L . A 208 The I n t r a - P a r t y D e b a t e o v e r t h e Communes . . 216 The R e n e w a l o f S o v i e t C r i t i c i s m o f t h e Communes 223 The A u g u s t C e n t r a l C o m m i t t e e M e e t i n g a t L u s h a n : P e n g T e h - h u a i ' s A t t a c k 225 CHAPTER PAGE Soviet Involvement with Peng Teh-huai . . . . 228 The Lushan Aftermath: The Debate over Soviet Experience . . . 231 IX. THE ANT I-RIGHT I ST CAMPAIGN AND THE OCTOBER CELEBRATIONS (FALL 1959) . . . . o 2^0 The Cult of Mao 2k2 Tenth Anniversary Speeches 2^5 X. THE NEW UPSURGE OF COMMUNES AND THE CONTINUING POLEMICS 253 The Tightening Up of the Rural Communes . . . 253 The Introduction of the Urban Communes . . , 257 Growing Sino-S viet Polemics: Winter and Spring 1959-1960 261 Lenin Anniversary Statements on the Transition to Communism 26k The Confrontation at Bucharest 272 XI. WITHDRAWAL OF TECHNICAL EXPERTS AND THE EVOLUTION OF THE COMMUNE SYSTEM 275 Further Retreats in Commune Policy . . . . . 278 The Ninth Plenum of the Central Committee . . 28 l XII. THE DEVELOPING DEBATE: I96O-62 286 The i960 Moscow Conference 286 The 22nd Congress of the C.P.S.U.: The Soviet Path to Communism 29*+ The 22nd Congress of the C.P.S.U 296 Post-Congress Polemics . . 305 Khrushchev1s Central Committee Report on Agriculture March 1962 307 XIII. OPEN DISPUTE (1963) 31*f I v CHAPTER PAGE X I V . THE S I G N I F I C A N C E OF THE COMMUNES TO C H I N A AND THE C . P . C 324 D o m e s t i c C o n s i d e r a t i o n s 324 I n t e r n a t i o n a l C o n s i d e r a t i o n 331 I d e o l o g i c a l C o n s i d e r a t i o n s 333 X V . THE COMMUNE CONTROVERSY I N P E R S P E C T I V E . . . 3^9 I s s u e s R e l a t i n g t o S o c i a l i s t C o n s t r u c t i o n a n d t h e T r a n s i t i o n t o Communism 352 Q u e s t i o n s I n v o l v i n g I d e o l o g i c a l A u t h o r i t y . 38I Q u e s t i o n s R e l a t i n g t o t h e W i d e r D i s p u t e . . 385 C o n c l u s i o n 391 B I B L I O G R A P H Y 39I+ 4 CHAPTER I THE PEOPLE'S COMMUNES: AN INTRODUCTION O f f i c i a l l y introduced into China In August of 1958, the People's Commune superseded the c o l l e c t i v e farm as the basic unit i n the Chinese countryside. The communes were formed by bringing together about twenty-five c o l l e c t i v e farms, each containing about 200 f a m i l i e s , under one central administration; the c o l l e c t i v e becoming the sub-unit of the commune known as the production brigade. In nearly every case, the commune, with i t s population of about 20,000 corresponded almost exactly geographically to the township or Hsiang, the unit of l o c a l government; and the commune took over the function of l o c a l government. There are now about 24,000 of these r u r a l people's communes i n China. While becoming the basic governmental unit of Chinese society, the commune also became the basic economic and s o c i a l unit. The communes assumed control over the schools, industries, banks, and f a c t o r i e s within their confines, and became responsible for coordinating a l l economic production and d i s t r i b u t i o n . Two of the e n t i r e l y new features which were introduced along with the communes were the public dining h a l l s and the people's m i l i t i a , which introduced a militancy not experienced before i n Chinese l i f e and resulted i n peasant l i f e becoming t i g h t l y d i s c i p l i n e d and highly c o l l e c t i v i z e d . 2 In general, the whole l i f e process was organized along m i l i t a r y l i n e s , and came under the constant control of the Party apparatus. Another new feature was the introduction of a certain degree of "free supply" which was substituted f o r wages, with a resultant reduction i n material incentive and a move towards equal!tarianism i n d i s t r i b u t i o n of commodities. Intimately connected with these p o l i c i e s was the a b o l i t i o n of the peasants 1 small private p l o t s , and the c o l l e c t i v i z a t i o n of nearly a l l of the remaining private property including livestock, implements and i n some cases, personal e f f e c t s . In the spring of i960 the country*s urban areas were also transformed into a network of communes, sometimes centered around an i n d u s t r i a l complex, and sometimes taking i n a certain area of a c i t y with a l l i t s diverse f a c t o r i e s and enterprises. In some cases, workers were forced to change their place of residence to somewhere closer to their place of work, but i n general the changeover to communes i n the c i t i e s involved more of an administrative change than a s o c i a l change. I n i t i a l l y i n the c i t i e s too, communal dining h a l l s were set up and commodities rationed out on a p a r t i a l supply basis. Nurseries and homes for the aged were also established i n the urban communes, as they had been i n their r u r a l counterparts. This resulted i n most women being freed from general household duties, allowing the State to augment the urban labour force by many mi l l i o n s . In actual size, the urban communes are considerably larger on the average than the r u r a l communes, having a membership of approximately 50,000 persons each. In some cases, then, the commune i n -cludes an entire town. China i s thus, now divided into basic units known as communes. These communes, the Communist Party declares, are the socio-economic units which -will carry the nation through the period of t r a n s i t i o n to communism, and which w i l l continue to form the basic units of society when pure communism i s reached. As China approaches nearer to communism, the communes, i t i s said, w i l l evolve both to a higher stage of property r e l a t i o n s and to a higher p r i n c i p l e of d i s t r i b u t i o n . Ultimately, a l l c o l l e c t i v e property w i l l become property of the "whole people", and society w i l l be based on the p r i n c i p l e of "from each according to h i s a b i l i t i e s ; to each according to h i s needs". The Chinese road to communism i s , then, through the People's Communes. A number of observers of the Chinese scene have made short studies of the Chinese communes themselves, and a few have made a somewhat limited analysis of their wider significance within the communist bloc. The most comprehen-sive study of the i n i t i a l introduction of the communes and of their effect on Chinese-Soviet re l a t i o n s was conducted by D. S. Zagoria i n a chapter of h i s book The Sino-Soviet C o n f l i c t , written i n 1961. However, most of the r e l i a b l e [ k evidence concerning the role of the communes within the t o t a l dispute has appeared since Zagoria c o l l e c t e d h i s information, thus allowing a new and f u l l analysis to be made. E s p e c i a l l y lacking i n the previous short studies of the Chinese communes has been the question of their h i s t o r i c a l and id e o l o g i c a l significance within the framework of the communist ideology. For this reason, the present study includes a preliminary discussion of the i d e o l o g i c a l foundations of the Sino-Soviet dispute over the communes, and a h i s t o r i c a l survey of the relevant p o l i c i e s of Lenin and S t a l i n . Without this i d e o l o g i c a l - h i s t o r i c a l perspective, the r e a l significance of the Chinese communes cannot be f u l l y appreciated. There i s a strong tendency of writers to disregard purely i d e o l o g i c a l considerations when dealing with the rel a t i o n s between China and the Soviet Union, laying the causes of dispute s o l e l y to such things as d i f f e r i n g national interests and power p o l i t i c s . Such, I believe, i s not the case. Although i t may be tempered by these considerations, ideology s t i l l maintains an enormous influence on policy within the communist bloc; this being especially true i n the Chinese case. Despite this f a c t , the obvious ch a r a c t e r i s t i c of the commune dispute was that i t was carried on i n i d e o l o g i c a l language with constant reference to the common ideology of Marxist-Leninism. Thus, without an understanding of the id e o l o g i c a l foundations of the debate, 4 5 i t i s impossible to gauge how f a r each side was deviating, i f at a l l , from the teachings of the ideology of Marxist-Leninism, and how much thi s deviation was caused by non-i d e o l o g i c a l considerations such as national i n t e r e s t . From the evidence gathered i t w i l l be shown that the introduction of the communes resulted i n an i d e o l o g i c a l dispute between the leadership of the two parties over the correct interpretation of Marxist-Leninism In regard to the question of the proper road and the proper speed f o r the ad-vance of communism. The i n t e n s i t y of the dispute, and the importance attached to i t by both sides, w i l l be shown to be a direct r e s u l t of the existence of opposing factions within both parties; while the o r i g i n of the dispute w i l l be shown to be a re s u l t of Soviet i d e o l o g i c a l revisionism and conser-vatism. From the evidence presented, i t w i l l also be shown that the dispute over the communes widened into a dispute over the question of the i d e o l o g i c a l authority of the Soviet Union with regard to domestic construction and domestic p o l i c y i n other communist nations, and the binding nature of "Soviet experience" i n the t r a n s i t i o n to communism. The m i l i t a r y implications of the communes w i l l be shown to be one d i r e c t l i n k with the more predominant aspect of the Sino-Soviet dispute—the question of bloc foreign p o l i c y and of violent revolution. The economic and organiza-t i o n a l aspects of the communes w i l l be shown to have similar 6 relevance to the wider dispute, i n so fa r as they affect the image of communism i n the Western world. The significance of the communes i n terms of Chinese leadership of the under-developed nations w i l l also be elaborated upon, and their implications for the future i n the l i g h t of the Slno-Soviet r i f t , w i l l be suggested. The major sources used i n thi s study have been: the published works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and S t a l i n ; o f f i c i a l documents and speeches published by the Foreign Languages Publishing House i n the Soviet Union, and the Foreign Languages Press i n China; the translations of the Soviet press and Party journals as collected i n Soviet Press Transla-tions and Current Digest of the Soviet Press: the translations of the Chinese press and Party journals as collected i n the Peking Review, Current Background. Extracts from China Main-land Magazines. Survey of China Mainland Press, and Current Scene; the China Quarterly and Soviet Survey; The New York Times and numerous secondary sources included i n books and a r t i c l e s both on the communes as such, and on communist ideology. One of the greatest problems i n studying the relations between China and the Soviet Union from the source material available to the Western researcher has been the necessity of undertaking considerable interpolation and i n t e r -pretation because of the veil e d language used i n the communist 7 w o r l d . H o w e v e r , s i n c e 1 9 o 3 , t h e s p l i t b e t w e e n t h e two p a r t i e s h a s e v o l v e d t o t h e s t a g e o f o p e n p u b l i c a r g u m e n t , a n d t h u s t h e n e e d t o u n d e r t a k e " d e c o d i n g " o f t h e p o l e m i c s i s no l o n g e r p r e s e n t . M o r e o v e r , t h e f a c t s r e v e a l e d i n t h e p u b l i c e x c h a n g e s b e t w e e n t h e R u s s i a n s a n d C h i n e s e h a v e c a s t l i g h t on e v e n t s i n t h e p a s t w h i c h b e f o r e w e r e c o m p l e t e l y u n k n o w n , o r o n l y g u e s s e d a t , a n d a l l o w t h e s c h o l a r t o make a much more v a l i d i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f p a s t a r t i c l e s a n d s p e e c h e s i n t h e S o v i e t a n d C h i n e s e p r e s s . I t i s w i t h t h i s " h i n d s i g h t " t h a t a n y n e c e s s a r y i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f d o c u m e n t s a n d a r t i c l e s o f t h e pre -1963 p e r i o d h a v e b e e n m a d e . The s t u d y i s o r g a n i z e d i n t o t h r e e m a i n s e c t i o n s . F i r s t , t h e i d e o l o g i c a l a n d h i s t o r i c a l p e r s p e c t i v e i s o u t l i n e d . T h e n a d e t a i l e d e x a m i n a t i o n o f t h e h i s t o r y o f t h e commune d i s p u t e b e t w e e n t h e two p a r t i e s i s u n d e r t a k e n , b e g i n n i n g i n 1957 a n d c o n t i n u i n g t h r o u g h u n t i l t h e d a t e o f w r i t i n g . F i n a l l y , a n a n a l y s i s o f t h e c h i e f t r e n d s e m e r g i n g f r o m t h e d a t a a n d i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s p r e s e n t e d , a n d t h e commune c o n t r o v e r s y i s c o n s i d e r e d i n t h e c o n t e x t o f t h e t o t a l d i s p u t e . CHAPTER I I THE I D E O L O G I C A L FOUNDATIONS OF THE D I S P U T E : THE COMMON IDEOLOGY F r o m a n i d e o l o g i c a l p o i n t of v i e w , t h e S i n o - S o v i e t r i f t o v e r t h e communes i s d i r e c t l y c o n c e r n e d w i t h t h e b r o a d q u e s t i o n o f t h e t r a n s i t i o n t o c o m m u n i s m , i n t h e p o s t -r e v o l u t i o n a r y p e r i o d . T h e r e f o r e , i n o r d e r t o p u t t h e d i s p u t e i n t o i t s i d e o l o g i c a l p e r s p e c t i v e , i t i s n e c e s s a r y t o e x a m i n e t h e t h e o r e t i c a l f o u n d a t i o n s o f M a r x i s t - L e n i n i s m ( t h e common i d e o l o g y t o w h i c h b o t h d i s p u t a n t s c l a i m t o s u b s c r i b e ) w i t h r e g a r d t o t h e u l t i m a t e g o a l o f c o m m u n i s m , a n d w i t h r e g a r d t o t h e p r e s c r i b e d means o f r e a c h i n g t h i s g o a l . The w r i t i n g s o f M a r x , E n g e l s a n d L e n i n f o r m t h e m a i n c o m p o n e n t s o f t h e M a r x i s t - L e n i n i s t i d e o l o g y , a n d w i l l be d e a l t w i t h i n t u r n . The w o r k s o f S t a l i n d e a l i n g w i t h t h e t r a n s i t i o n t o communism w i l l a l s o b e c o n s i d e r e d s i n c e b o t h t h e C o m m u n i s t P a r t y o f t h e S o v i e t U n i o n a n d t h e C h i n e s e C o m m u n i s t P a r t y r e c o g n i z e t h a t S t a l i n ' s i d e o l o g i c a l c o n t r i b u t i o n " e n r i c h e s a n d a u g m e n t s t h e s c i e n c e o f M a r x i s t - L e n i n i s m " . " 1 ' I . MARX N o w h e r e d o e s M a r x d i s c u s s i n d e t a i l t h e c o m m u n i s t Utopia t o w a r d s w h i c h h e c l a i m s t h e w o r l d i s i n e x o r a b l y ^ • P e o p l e ' s D a i l y . O c t o b e r 30, 1952; S o v i e t P r e s s T r a n s l a t i o n s . 1 Q 5 2 , p . i f 3 2 . 9 advancing. Neither does he lay down i n d e t a i l the exact construction of the immediate post-revolutionary society, which, under the dictatorship of the p r o l e t a r i a t , i s the t r a n s i t i o n a l phase between capitalism and communism. His chief concern i n h i s writings i s to analyze h i s t o r y d i a l e c t i c a l l y , and to influence the p r o l e t a r i a t to become conscious of i t s h i s t o r i c a l mission to overthrow world capitalism through violent revolution. His discussions of the immediate t a s k s — t h e organization of the workers of the world, and the overthrow of exploitative capitalism as represented by the bourgeoisie—are exhaustive since these pertain to the p r a c t i c a l a f f a i r s of the moment; but generally only passing references are ever made i n h i s writings to the cha r a c t e r i s t i c s of the post-revolutionary phases. As a result of th i s f a c t , i t was l e f t to the id e o l o g i c a l h e i r s of Marx—Lenin, S t a l i n , Khruschev and Mao to f i l l i n the loose and general t h e o r e t i c a l framework. This lack of a detailed characterization by Karl Marx of the period of the t r a n s i t i o n to communism, and of communism i t s e l f , has resulted, during the current century, i n considerable dispute among Marxists as to the "correct" course to follow now that a number of national revolutions have been successful. The commune controversy i s one manifestation of thi s dispute. The Concept of Communism In one of Marx's very early writings--his posthumously published Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts, the father of 1 0 modern communism provides considerable insight into the nature of h i s thinking i n regard to the future communist Utopia. He also provides, i n t h i s work, an analysis of the human condition, which serves as a foundation for h i s concep-tion of the i d e a l society. In general terms, Marx saw the human condition as one of s e l f - a l i e n a t i o n , of domination by the material world, of human debasement through slavish acquisitiveness; and he saw c a p i t a l i s t society as the highest stage of t h i s a l i e n a t i o n — o f this dehumanization. The workers, he argued, were treated as l i t t l e more than animals or machines by the exploitative c a p i t a l i s t s and had reached the lowest depths to which mankind could sink. Soon, he claimed, they would r i s e up against their c a p i t a l i s t overlords, smash the socio-economic-political structure and free the whole of mankind from the bonds of materialism—creating i n the long run a new kind of society i n which s e l f - a l i e n a t i o n was transcended. The most comprehensive outline of future society made by Marx appears i n h i s Critique of the Gothe Program which was written i n I875. Here Marx c l e a r l y defined the two stages of the post-revolutionary stage and outlined the p r i n c i p l e s of production and d i s t r i b u t i o n operative i n each. Clearly separating the two d i s t i n c t stages and their c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , Marx declared that: 11 Between c a p i t a l i s t and communist society l i e s the period of revolutionary transformation of the one Into the other. There corresponds to th i s also a p o l i t i c a l t r a n s i t i o n period i n which the state can be nothing but the revolu-tionary dictatorship of the p r o l e t a r i a t . 2 Marx pointed out that since the new society emerges from the old, i t must necessarily undergo a t r a n s i t i o n a l phase i n which a l l the vestiges of c a p i t a l i s t society are overcome. In the following passage, he outlined this intermediate stage: What we have to deal with here i s a communist society, not as i t developed on i t s own foundations, but, on the contrary, as i t emerges from c a p i t a l i s t society; which i s thus i n every respect, economically, morally and i n t e l l e c t u a l l y , s t i l l stamped with the birthmarks of the old society from whose womb i t emerges. Accordingly, the i n d i v i d u a l producer receives back from society - after the deductions have been made - exactly what he gives to i t . What he has given to i t i s h i s i n d i v i d u a l quantum of labour.3 What t h i s means i n actual practice, then, i s equal shares of the t o t a l production for equal labour contributed: . . . the s o c i a l working day consists of the sum of the i n d i v i d u a l hours of work; the i n d i v i d u a l labour time of the i n d i v i d u a l producer i s the part of the s o c i a l labour day contributed by him, h i s share i n i t . He p K. Marx, Critique of the Gotha Program (Moscow, F.L.P.H., 19^7), p. 39. 3 I b i d . . p. 2k. 12 receives a c e r t i f i c a t e from society that he has furnished such and such an amount of labour (after deducting h i s labour f o r the common fund) and with this c e r t i f i c a t e he draws from the s o c i a l stock of means of con-sumption as much as costs the same amount of labour. The same amount of labour he has given to society In one form, he receives back i n another.^-In the f i r s t stage of communist society, then, equal labour begets equal right to the s o c i a l products of society as a whole. But equal right i n this sense i s s t i l l "bourgeois r i g h t " according to Marx. This i s because although an equal s t a n d a r d — l a b o u r — i s l a i d down, "the right of the producers i s proportional to the labour they supply."^ Thus "natural" i n e q u a l i t i e s come into play even here. No matter whether labour i s computed on a time basis or an in t e n s i t y basis, some men w i l l contribute greater amounts of labour because they are stronger or i n t e l l e c t u a l l y superior to others, and w i l l therefore "earn" more s o c i a l products than others. Moreover, some men have wives and families to support while some do not, and some have more children than others; therefore while two men may contribute equal labour and receive equal portions of commodity production, one w i l l be richer than the other—due merely to the circumstances he finds himself i n . Bourgeois r i g h t s , then, s t i l l remain. "But these defects are inev i t a b l e , i n the f i r s t phase of Ibid., p. 25* Loc. c i t . 13 c o m m u n i s t s o c i e t y , " M a r x a r g u e d , " a s i t . . . h a s j u s t 6 e m e r g e d a f t e r p r o l o n g e d b i r t h p a n g s f r o m c a p i t a l i s t s o c i e t y . " I n t i m e , M a r x d e c l a r e d , t h e l a s t v e s t i g e s o f b o u r g e o i s s o c i e t y w i l l b e s w e p t a w a y b y t h e d i c t a t o r s h i p o f t h e p r o l e t a r i a t , a n d a new a n d f i n a l s t a g e w i l l be u s h e r e d i n : I n a h i g h e r p h a s e o f c o m m u n i s t s o c i e t y , a f t e r t h e e n s l a v i n g s u b o r d i n a t i o n o f i n d i v i d u a l s u n d e r d i v i s i o n o f l a b o u r , a n d t h e r e w i t h a l s o t h e a n t i -t h e s i s b e t w e e n m e n t a l a n d p h y s i c a l l a b o u r h a s v a n i s h e d ; a f t e r l a b o u r h a s c e a s e d t o be a means o f l i f e a n d h a s become i t s e l f t h e p r i m a r y n e c e s s i t y o f l i f e ; a f t e r t h e p r o d u c t i v e f o r c e s h a v e a l s o i n c r e a s e d w i t h t h e a l l - r o u n d d e v e l o p -ment o f t h e i n d i v i d u a l , a n d a l l t h e s p r i n g s o f c o - o p e r a t i v e w e a l t h f l o w more a b u n d a n t l y — o n l y t h e n c a n t h e n a r r o w h o r i z o n o f b o u r g e o i s r i g h t be f u l l y l e f t b e h i n d a n d s o c i e t y i n s c r i b e o n i t s b a n n e r s ; f r o m e a c h a c c o r d i n g t o h i s a b i l i t y , t o e a c h a c c o r d i n g t o h i s n e e d s . 7 F r o m t h i s d e s c r i p t i o n , i t i s s e e n t h a t i n t h e h i g h e r s t a g e o f p r o d u c t i o n , t h e p r i n c i p l e s g u i d i n g b o t h p r o d u c t i o n a n d c o n s u m p t i o n c h a n g e . W h e r e a s t h e amount o f l a b o u r f o r m e r l y d e t e r m i n e d t h e amount o f s o c i a l c o m m o d i t i e s d i s t r i b u t e d t o c i t i z e n s , now n e e d i s t h e g u i d i n g f a c t o r i n d i s t r i b u t i o n , a n d a l l men p r o d u c e a c c o r d i n g t o t h e i r a b i l i t i e s . T h u s t h e d i r e c t l i n k b e t w e e n p r o d u c t i o n a n d c o n s u m p t i o n i s s u p e r s e d e d . The p r e r e q u i s i t e s r e q u i r e d b e f o r e t h e new p r i n c i p l e o f p r o d u c t i o n a n d c o n s u m p t i o n i s i n t r o d u c e d a r e a l s o f o r t h r i g h t l y p o i n t e d o u t , a n d a d d , u p t o a f a i r l y i m p r e s s i v e l i s t — s u g g e s t i n g t h a t i n p r a c t i c e t h e l o w e r s t a g e o f communism w i l l r e m a i n i n I b i d . , p . 26. I b i d . , p . 27. Ik existence for some considerable length of time. The a n t i -thesis between town and country i s not s p e c i f i c a l l y mentioned i n the l i s t , but i t i s evident from other passages devoted to t h i s question that i t i s included as an i n t e g r a l part of the a b o l i t i o n of the d i v i s i o n of labour. Thus, Marx's Critique of the Gotha Program, within a few paragraphs, gives the most succinct general summary of the post-revolutionary phases to be found i n Marx's extensive writings. Here, however, he was more concerned with elucidating general p r i n c i p l e s and prerequisites, and was therefore not as s p e c i f i c i n d e t a i l as he was i n certain other scattered passages i n other works. I I . ENGELS Engel's most comprehensive treatment of post-revolutionary society i s to be found i n h i s Anti-Duhring. which lays out perhaps the most straight-forward exposition of Marxism produced by either men. P a r t i c u l a r l y valuable i n Anti-Duhring are Engels' discussions of the State i n future communist society, of the d i v i s i o n of labour, of commodity value and of the de-alienation of man. In r e l a t i o n to the future of the state as such, Engels expounded i n Anti-Duhring h i s famous p r i n c i p l e of the withering away of the state. He declared that: when a t l a s t i t b e c o m e s t h e r e a l r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f t h e w h o l e o f s o c i e t y i t r e n d e r s i t s e l f u n -n e c e s s a r y . . . . T h e f i r s t a c t b y v i r t u e o f w h i c h t h e s t a t e r e a l l y c o n s t i t u t e s I t s e l f t h e r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f t h e w h o l e o f s o c i e t y - t h e t a k i n g p o s s e s s i o n o f t h e means o f p r o d u c t i o n i n t h e name o f s o c i e t y - t h i s i s a t t h e same t i m e , i t s l a s t i n d e p e n d e n t a c t a s a s t a t e . S t a t e i n t e r f e r e n c e i n s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s b e c o m e s , i n one d o m a i n a f t e r a n o t h e r , s u p e r f l u o u s , a n d t h e n d i e s o u t o f i t s e l f ; t h e g o v e r n m e n t o f p e r s o n s i s r e p l a c e d b y t h e a d m i n i s t r a t i o n o f t h i n g s , a n d b y t h e c o n d u c t o f p r o c e s s e s o f p r o d u c t i o n . The s t a t e i s n o t a b o l i s h e d . I t d i e s o u t . 8 T h u s , a s i n t h e p l a n s o f t h e P a r i s Commune ( d i s c u s s e d b y M a r x i n h i s The C i v i l War i n F r a n c e ) T t h e c e n t r a l a d m i n i s t r a -t i o n a p p a r a t u s e v e n t u a l l y c o n c e r n s i t s e l f o n l y w i t h e c o n o m i c c o - o r d i n a t i o n a n d p l a n n i n g , a n d r e l a t e d t a s k s . I n t h i s l a t t e r r e g a r d , E n g e l s n o t e d e a r l i e r t h a t " t h e s o c i a l a n a r c h y o f p r o d u c t i o n g i v e s p l a c e t o a s o c i a l r e g u l a t i o n o f p r o d u c t i o n u p o n a d e f i n i t e p l a n , a c c o r d i n g t o t h e n e e d s o f t h e c o m m u n i t y a n d o f e a c h i n d i v i d u a l . E c o n o m i c p r o d u c t i o n i s r e g u l a t e d b u t s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s a s s u c h a r e n o t . The c o e r c i v e s t a t e g i v e s w a y t o a s y s t e m o f e c o n o m i c a d m i n i s t r a t i o n . N o w h e r e d o e s E n g e l s s p e c i f i c a l l y r e l a t e t h e p r o c e s s o f d y i n g o u t t o t h e h i g h e r a n d l o w e r s t a g e s o f c o m m u n i s m , a n d one c a n o n l y ^ F . E n g e l s , A n t i - D u h r i n g ( M o s c o w , F . L . P . H . , 195*0, p . 389. 9 I M d . , P. 387. 16 s u r m i s e t h a t t h e d y i n g o u t o f t h e s t a t e c o i n c i d e s w i t h t h e a c t u a l a c h i e v e m e n t o f t h e h i g h e r s t a g e a n d i s a p r e c o n d i t i o n t o i t . I n t w o s e p a r a t e d i s c u s s i o n s c o n c e r n i n g t h e d e t e r m i n a -t i o n o f t h e " v a l u e " o f c o m m o d i t i e s i n c o m m u n i s m ' s l o w e r p h a s e , E n g e l s c l e a r e d up some o f M a r x ' s somewhat c o n f u s i n g e x p l a n a t i o n s . E n g e l s e m p h a s i z e d t h a t a c t u a l l a b o u r - t i m e w i l l be t h e d e t e r m i n i n g f a c t o r i n e s t a b l i s h i n g t h e amount o f s o c i a l p r o d u c t d u e t o e a c h i n d i v i d u a l . H e a l s o s t a t e d t h a t t h e " p r i c e " o f c o m m o d i t i e s w i l l be d e t e r m i n e d e x c l u s i v e l y a c c o r d i n g t o t h e a v e r a g e number o f l a b o u r - h o u r s e m b o d i e d t h e r e i n . T h u s i f one man m a k e s a s h o e i n f o u r h o u r s a n d a n o t h e r I n t w o h o u r s , t h e n b o t h s h o e s w i l l be v a l u e d a t t h r e e l a b o u r h o u r s , a n d t h i s w i l l b e t h e i r " c o s t " t o t h e l a b o u r e r . E n g e l s a l s o d i s c u s s e d i n d e t a i l t h e q u e s t i o n o f t h e d i v i s i o n o f l a b o u r i n f u t u r e s o c i e t y , a n d t h e r e l a t e d m a t t e r o f m a n ' s d e - a l i e n a t i o n . He l a u d e d b o t h F o u r i e r a n d Owen f o r t h e i r demand t h a t e a c h i n d i v i d u a l be g i v e n a s w i d e a p o s s i b l e v a r i a t i o n o f o c c u p a t i o n , i n o r d e r t o r e c o v e r f o r man t h e a t t r a c t i v e n e s s h e f o u n d i n l a b o u r b e f o r e t h e d i v i s i o n o f l a b o u r d e s p o i l e d i t . E n g e l s n o t e d t h a t t h e a r r i v a l o f t h e m a c h i n e a g e h a d e s t a b l i s h e d t h e c o n d i t i o n s n e c e s s a r y f o r t h e d i v i s i o n o f l a b o u r t o be m a i n t a i n e d i n d e p e n d e n t l y o f t h e i d e n t i t y o f t h e l a b o u r e r . Q u o t i n g M a r x , h e p o i n t e d o u t t h a t " s i n c e t h e m o t i o n o f t h e w h o l e s y s t e m d o e s n o t p r o c e e d f r o m t h e w o r k m a n b u t f r o m t h e m a c h i n e r y , a c h a n g e o f p e r s o n s c a n 17 take place at any time without an interruption of the 10 work . . . ." Thus, men can interchange occupations at will in the future society without jeopardizing the pro-ductivity of labour. Turning finally to the question of the development and de-alienation of man, Engels declared that in communist society: productive labour instead of being a means of subjugating men, will become a means of their emancipation, by offering each individual the opportunity to develop a l l his faculties, physical and mental, in a l l directions, and develop them to the f u l l - in which, therefore, productive labour will become a pleasure instead of a burden.11 Thus, man is to find true freedom within the classless society of communism; and creative, productive labour is to be a joy in itself, since through i t man will find a vehicle of self-expression. With the seizing of the means of production, Engels argued, the domination of man by his material world ceases. At the same time: The struggle for individual existence disappears. Then, for the fi r s t time man in a certain sense is finally marked off from the rest of the animal kingdom, and emerges from mere animal ^Ibid.. p. 409, quoting from Capital. i : LIbid. , p. 408. 18 c o n d i t i o n s o f e x i s t e n c e i n t o r e a l l y human o n e s . The w h o l e s p h e r e o f t h e c o n d i t i o n s o f l i f e w h i c h e n v i r o n m a n , a n d h a v e h i t h e r t o r u l e s m a n , now c o m e s u n d e r t h e d o m i n a t i o n a n d c o n t r o l o f m a n , who f o r t h e f i r s t t i m e b e c o m e s t h e r e a l , c o n s c i o u s l o r d o f n a t u r e , b e c a u s e h e i s now become m a s t e r o f h i s own s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n . 1 2 E n g e l s c o n c l u d e d w i t h t h e p r o c l a m a t i o n t h a t f r o m h e n c e f o r t h man w i l l b e t h e m a s t e r o f h i s own d e s t i n y , a n d t h e m o u l d e r o f a t r u l y human e x i s t e n c e w i t h i n a c l a s s l e s s , c o m m u n i s t s o c i e t y : O n l y f r o m t h a t t i m e w i l l man h i m s e l f , w i t h f u l l c o n s c i o u s n e s s make h i s own h i s t o r y . . . . I t i s t h e a s c e n t o f man f r o m t h e k i n g d o m o f n e c e s s i t y t o t h e k i n g d o m o f f r e e d o m . 1 3 T h u s , i n t h e s e f i n a l f e w p a s s a g e s E n g e l s r e t u r n s t o t h e o r i g i n a l theme l a i d down b y M a r x i n h i s 18M+ M a n u -s c r i p t s — t h e u l t i m a t e o v e r c o m i n g o f m a n ' s a l i e n a t i o n f r o m h i s m a t e r i a l e n v i r o n m e n t t h r o u g h c o m m u n i s m , a n d t h e f i n a l s e t t i n g f r e e o f h u m a n i t y s o t h a t i t may d e v e l o p a l l i t s human p o t e n t i a l t h r o u g h c r e a t i v e i n t e r a c t i o n w i t h i t s n a t u r a l e n v i r o n m e n t . I n c o m m u n i s m , m a n ' s i n n e r n e e d s a r e l i b e r a t e d , a n d f u l f i l l e d . The c o m m u n i s t m a n , i n h a r m o n i o u s i n t e r c o u r s e w i t h n a t u r e a n d h i s f e l l o w m a n , r e a l i z e s h i s f u l l human p o t e n t i a l . ! I b i d . . p . 393-L o c . c i t . 19 I I I . L E N I N ' S CONCEPTION OF S O C I A L I S M AND COMMUNISM I n 1917 , i m m e d i a t e l y b e f o r e t h e B o l s h e v i k s s e i z e d p o w e r i n t h e S o v i e t U n i o n , L e n i n w r o t e h i s w e l l - k n o w n The S t a t e a n d R e v o l u t i o n i n w h i c h h e summed up t h e t e a c h i n g s o f M a r x o n t h e n a t u r e o f t h e d i c t a t o r s h i p o f t h e p r o l e t a r i a t a n d t h e t w o p h a s e s o f p o s t - r e v o l u t i o n a r y s o c i e t y . I n t h e p r o c e s s , h e a l s o a d d e d h i s own i n t e r p r e t a t i o n t o a number o f i m p o r t a n t q u e s t i o n s c o n c e r n i n g t h e n a t u r e o f s o c i a l i s m a n d c o m m u n i s m . L e n i n w e n t v e r y c a r e f u l l y o v e r M a r x ' s w r i t i n g s , a n d p a r t i c u l a r l y o v e r h i s C r i t i q u e o f t h e G o t h a P r o g r a m , q u o t i n g M a r x a t l e n g t h a n d a d d i n g n u m e r o u s c o m m e n t s . C o n c e r n i n g t h e l o w e r p h a s e o f communism o u t l i n e d b y M a r x , L e n i n u p h e l d t h e n e c e s s i t y o f d i s t r i b u t i n g c o m m o d i t i e s o n a n e q u a l b a s i s a c c o r d i n g t o w o r k p e r f o r m e d . H e s u g g e s t e d t h a t : I t i s u n a v o i d a b l e i n t h e f i r s t p h a s e o f c o m m u n i s m ; f o r i f we a r e n o t t o i n d u l g e i n u t o p i a n i s m , we m u s t n o t t h i n k t h a t h a v i n g o v e r t h r o w n c a p i t a l i s m p e o p l e w i l l a t o n c e l e a r n t o w o r k f o r s o c i e t y w i t h o u t a n y s t a n d a r d o f r i g h t : a n d i n d e e d t h e a b o l i t i o n o f c a p i t a l i s m d o e s n o t i m m e d i a t e l y c r e a t e t h e e c o n o m i c p r e m i s e s f o r s u c h a c h a n g e . And t h e r e i s a s y e t n o o t h e r s t a n d a r d t h a n t h a t o f ' b o u r g e o i s r i g h t ' . l ^ L e n i n r e i t e r a t e d t h e f a c t t h a t w h i l e b o u r g e o i s r i g h t s a r e r e t a i n e d t h e r e w i l l b e a c o n t i n u i n g n e e d f o r t h e s t a t e t o c o n t i n u e i n e x i s t e n c e . " F o r t h e c o m p l e t e w i t h e r i n g away o f t h e s t a t e c o m p l e t e communism i s n e c e s s a r y . " V . I . L e n i n , S e l e c t e d W o r k s , v o l . I I ( M o s c o w , F . L . P . H . 19^7), P . 205. 20 Lenin then passes on to a discussion of the 'complete communism1. He suggests that u n t i l this stage i s achieved " s o c i a l i s t s demand the s t r i c t e s t control by society and by the state of a measure of labour and the measure of consump-t i o n . " " ^ He declares that "the whole of society w i l l have become a single o f f i c e and a single factory, with 16* equality of labour and equality of pay." During this time, economic production w i l l increase immensely, thus laying the foundations for the t r a n s i t i o n to pure communism: "The economic basis for the complete withering away of the state i s such a high development of communism that the a n t i -17 thesis between mental and physical labour disappears." ' Thus, s o c i a l abundance i s reaffirmed as a precondition to communism. But Lenin makes no estimate of the period required to achieve t h i s abundance and the necessary other prerequisites to the higher stage of communism. He declares that: how ra p i d l y this development w i l l proceed, how soon i t w i l l reach the point of breaking away from the d i v i s i o n of labour, of removing the antithesis between mental and physical labour, of transforming labour into 'the prime necessity of l i f e * - we do not and cannot know.l8 Ror can one predict "the s p e c i f i c forms of the withering away" since there i s no basis upon which such a prediction ^ I b i d . , p. 207. "^Ibid. . p. 210 (*the emphasis i s mine). 1 7 I b i d . , p. 206. 18, Loc. c i t . 21 can be made. These questions are l e f t f or the future. Nevertheless, the general p r i n c i p l e s under which future society w i l l operate are known, as are the general pre-r e q u i s i t e s , one of which Is that "the necessity of observing the simple, fundamental rules of human intercourse w i l l become a habit. ""^ The other prerequisites outlined by Marx were reiterated and upheld by Lenin. Summation of Engels, Marx and Lenin We are now i n a position to sum up the th e o r e t i c a l foundations of Marxist-Leninism on the questions of socialism and communism, as things stood on the eve of the Soviet Revolution. A l l the ideology that has developed since then has been linked with experience rather than with theory pure and simple, and belongs i n another category. From the scattered references made by Marx, Engels and Lenin to the post-revolutionary t r a n s i t i o n to communism, the following general picture can be b u i l t up. F i r s t of a l l , post-revolutionary society i s seen as two d i s t i n c t s t a g e s — s o c i a l i s m and communism—differentiated c h i e f l y by the di f f e r e n t p r i n c i p l e of d i s t r i b u t i o n operative i n each stage. In the f i r s t stage i t i s "equal pay for equal work" and i n the communist stage i t i s "from each according to h i s a b i l i t i e s ; to each according to h i s needs." Ibid., p. 211. 22 The c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the f i r s t stage are the followingJ the dictatorship of the p r o l e t a r i a t nationalizes a l l the instruments of production and abolishes private property, including land; the p r i n c i p l e of equal pay for equal work i s introduced; inheritance rights are abolished; schools are opened to a l l children free of charge; a people's m i l i t i a replaces the standing army; cred i t and banking are nationalized; co-operative farming i s established i n the r u r a l areas; f a c t o r i e s are run democratically by the workers themselves; true democracy along the lin e s of the Paris Commune i s introduced; job mobility i s introduced; and central economic planning i s undertaken by the , s t a t e f . In order to establish the pre-requisites f o r the advance to the higher stage of communism, the s o c i a l i s t society works towards the following goals: the a b o l i t i o n of the differences between mental and manual labour (partly through occupation mobility); the a b o l i t i o n of the differences between town and country (through an integration of agriculture and industry, and through a decentralization of population); the achievement of material abundance; the establishment of proper s o c i a l conduct as ingrained habit; the establishment of labour as a human necessity and working according to a b i l i t y as a s o c i a l r u l e ; and f i n a l l y , the gradual withering away of the state. When these prerequisites have been f u l f i l l e d , society enters the higher stage of communism where the pr i n c i p l e "from each according to h i s a b i l i t i e s ; 23 to each according to h i s needs", i s put into e f f e c t . As has already been pointed out, Marx, Engels and Lenin were not more s p e c i f i c than t h i s , because they claimed that any further d e t a i l s would only be speculative. Moreover, they suggested that detailed structure during the t r a n s i t i o n period might vary from country to country, depending on l o c a l conditions, and so s p e c i f i c forms and p o l i c i e s could not be l a i d down on a blanket basis. In other words, while the pr i n c i p l e s and the goals were universal, means of achieving them might d i f f e r somewhat from place to place. IV. LENIN IN THE POST-REVOLUTIONARY PHASE Following the victory of the October Revolution i n 1917, i t became necessary for Lenin as leader of h i s Party to begin to put into practice the teachings of Marxism. At the same time, Lenin continued to serve as the font of ideo l o g i c a l wisdom, further developing the ideas of Marx and Engels as he went along. Experience was c r y s t a l l i z e d into ideology. Almost immediately, nationalization of banking, finance, and industry was put into e f f e c t , and the means of production was step-by-step gathered into the hands of the state. As far as land was concerned, i n early 1918 the government promulgated a decree that a l l land was to be "the property of the whole people, to be used by those who 2k c u l t i v a t e i t . " While most of the land was to be divided up for use by a l l the peasants, large estates and "lands with highly developed forms of c u l t i v a t i o n " were to be 21 "cultivated exclusively by the state, or by the communities" and a l l the l i v e s t o c k and equipment thereon was retained for state use. These large estates were not to be divided up for peasant use, but were to be turned into model state farms. As far as the rest of the land was concerned, there was to be no r e s t r i c t i o n on the forms of land tenure--be i t i n d i v i d u a l , co-operative or communal. Once distr i b u t e d , the land could no longer be bought or sold, so that only by a co-operative pooling of land could large scale farming be carried out. Thus, although the land had been nationalized by decree, de facto 'ownership* remained with the i n d i v i d u a l peasants. But on February 1^ , 1919, a decree e n t i t l e d "The Regulations Concerning the S o c i a l i s t i c Agrarian Arrangement and the Measures fo r Organizing Agriculture on a S o c i a l i s t i c Basis," was issued, setting out Lenin's plan to gradually change over to c o l l e c t i v e farming. It proclaimed that: Ibid., p. 236. Ibid., p. 237-25 For the purpose of destroying a l l exploitation of man by man; of organizing r u r a l economy on the basis of Socialism and with the application of a l l improvements i n science and technique; of educating the t o i l i n g masses i n the s p i r i t of Socialism; of bringing about al l i a n c e between the p r o l e t a r i a t and the ' v i l l a g e poverty 1 i n their struggle against c a p i t a l , i t i s necessary to pass from the i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c forms of land exploitation to c o l l e c t i v e forms. Large Soviet estates, r u r a l communes, group agriculture and a l l other forms of c o l l e c t i v e use of the land are the best forms for achieving t h i s object, and therefore a l l forms of i n d i v i d u a l use of the land should be regarded as merely temporary and doomed to destruction.22 Thus, i n declaring the need fo r "the introduction of c o l l e c -t i v e p r i n c i p l e s i n the use of land, rather than i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c ones" the Soviet Government set out three s p e c i f i c forms of c o l l e c t i v e agriculture which were permissible: Soviet estates, r u r a l communes, and a g r i c u l t u r a l associations. The Soviet estates were roughly equivalent to the modern Soviet state farms. They were managed by the state i t s e l f , and the people working on the estates assumed the same status as urban proletarians, since they were paid wages for their work d i r e c t l y by the state. The Soviet estates thyis designed as models which embodied pure s o c i a l i s t p r i n c i p l e s . The r u r a l communes were a form of c o l l e c t i v e farm which were organized by the state, "and embodied a lower l e v e l Quoted i n C. Basvolsky, The Economics of Communism (New York, Macmillan, 1 9 2 1 ) , p. 7 2 . 26 of socialism than the Soviet estates, insofar as implements and equipment were c o l l e c t i v e l y , rather than state owned. Designed primarily for the " v i l l a g e poverty" who had recently returned from the c i t i e s to the countryside and had no land to c u l t i v a t e , these communes were aided i n the beginning by a huge b i l l i o n ruble loan fund on which they could draw. Everything i n the commune was owned c o l l e c t i v e l y , and members were '"permitted to keep cert a i n f i x e d amounts of the food products they produce as compensation for their t o i l . " ^ Everything else produced had to be delivered to the state, although everything above the commune's quota was paid for by the state. Any such p r o f i t s had by law to be "used f o r the improvement and extension of the communal estates." Generally, each commune was managed by a small elected council, and a l l the communes within a county or a province were organized into groups or loose federations. Thus, these r u r a l communes were highly equalitarian i n that a l l members received an equal share of their c o l l e c t i v e production Moreover, there was no private property as such, since the land was state owned, and a l l other property was communally owned. They were, therefore, of a r e l a t i v e l y advanced s o c i a l i s t character. The t h i r d form of c o l l e c t i v e agriculture established i n the r u r a l areas was the a g r i c u l t u r a l association i n which 27 t h e i n d i v i d u a l p e a s a n t v o l u n t a r i l y l o a n e d t h e a s s o c i a t i o n h i s l a n d a n d i m p l e m e n t s , p u t t i n g t h e m i n t o a common p o o l , b u t r e t a i n i n g de f a c t o o w n e r s h i p o v e r t h e m . D i s t r i b u t i o n o f t h e c o l l e c t i v e p r o d u c t i o n was "made among members a c c o r d i n g t o n o r m s e x i s t i n g f o r t h e w h o l e c o u n t r y a t t h e t i m e o f t h e d i v i s i o n . " The r e m a i n d e r , i f a n y , w a s t u r n e d o v e r t o t h e s t a t e . B y J a n u a r y o f 1920 a p p r o x i m a t e l y 9$ o f t h e l a n d w a s i n t h e f o r m o f S o v i e t e s t a t e s , a n d r o u g h l y 2.5$ i n r u r a l communes a n d a g r i c u l t u r a l a s s o c i a t i o n s . T h u s , n e a r l y 90$ o f t h e l a n d r e m a i n e d i n t h e f o r m o f i n d i v i d u a l h o l d i n g s " l o a n e d " 25 t o t h e p e a s a n t s b y t h e s t a t e . y On D e c e m b e r k, 1919, L e n i n a d d r e s s e d t h e F i r s t C o n g r e s s o f A g r i c u l t u r a l Communes a n d A g r i c u l t u r a l A r t e l s , m a k i n g a number o f i m p o r t a n t s t a t e m e n t s c o n c e r n i n g t h e communes . H e o b s e r v e d t h a t " t h e name ' a g r i c u l t u r a l commune* i s a g r e a t o n e ; i t i s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h t h e c o n c e p t i o n o f c o m m u n i s m . " H o w e v e r , h e e m p h a s i z e d t h a t : . . . i t h a s f r e q u e n t l y h a p p e n e d t h a t t h e communes h a v e o n l y s u c c e e d e d i n p r o v o k i n g a n a t t i t u d e o f h o s t i l i t y , a n d t h e w o r d ' commune* h a s e v e n a t t i m e s become a c a l l t o f i g h t commun ism. A n d t h i s h a p p e n e d o n l y when s t u p i d a t t e m p t s w e r e made t o d r i v e t h e p e a s a n t s i n t o t h e communes b y f o r e e . The I b i d . , p. 82. 2 5 I b i d . , p. 83. 28 absurdity of this was so obvious that the Soviet government long ago forbade it.26 He urged a l l those attending the congress to see that a l l vestiges of coercion be stamped out. Lenin noted that "Communism is the highest state of the development of Socialism, when people work because they realize the necessity of working for the common good," and urged a l l commune members to give free labour and assistance to the surrounding peasantry—to labour in a communist "subbotnik" 27 spirit. ' During these first years following the revolution, nearly every organization that sprang up began to adopt the name "commune". In the summer of 1919, in a pamphlet entitled "A Great Beginning", Lenin criticised this practice, declaring that: every enterprise that is started by communists, or which they help to start, is very often at once declared to be a 'commune1, and very often i t is forgotten that this honourable title must be won by prolonged and persistent effort, must be won by practical achievement in genuine communist construction.28 He referred to the fact that the government had decided to change the name of "consumers1 communes" to a less extravagant ti t l e , and urged other organizations toi 26 Lenin, op. cit., p. 5^1 • Ibid. , p. 'Ibid. , p. 500. 27-28 29 F i r s t show that you are capable of working g r a t i s i n the inter e s t s of society, i n the interests of a l l the t o i l e r s , show that you are capable of "working i n a revolutionary s t y l e * , that you are capable of r a i s i n g the productivity of labour, of organizing i n an exemplary manner, and then put your hand out for the honorable t i t l e of 'commune'129 At the same time, he declared that not enough attention was being given to the kind of exemplary units he had described. These "young shoots of Communism" he exclaimed, "should be nursed with much more care." He referred e s p e c i a l l y to those s o c i a l i s t creations which freed women from being "a domestic slave". He declared that "the r e a l emancipation of women, r e a l Communism, w i l l only begin when a mass struggle . . . i s started against t h i s petty domestic economy, or rather when i t i s transformed on a mass scale into large-scale S o c i a l i s t economy".^ He urged communists to give a l l support possible to the establishment and maintenance of "public dining rooms, creches, kinder-gartens"—examples of "communist shoots" which free women from household drudgery. In a wider sphere he lauded the "communist shoots" of "exemplary production, exemplary communist subbotniks, exemplary care and conscientiousness i n procuring and d i s t r i b u t i n g every pod of grain, exemplary dining h a l l s . . . " and so on. " A l l these," he said, "are the young shoots of communism; and nursing these shoots yLoc. c i t . 3°lbid., p. 498. 30 should be our common and primary duty . . . with the support of the proletarian state, these young shoots of Communism w i l l not wither; they w i l l grow and blossom into complete 31 Communism."0 Really there are two types of so-called communist shoots, then. One type relates to the development of the s o c i a l l y conscious, s e l f l e s s communist man, and the other relates to organizational forms such as public dining h a l l s , which apparently w i l l be universal i n the higher stage of communism. Tempered mainly by actual experience i n constructing a s o c i a l i s t society, Lenin wrote a number of a r t i c l e s i n the period between 1917 and 1923, i n which he took a much more r e a l i s t i c view of the t r a n s i t i o n to communism than was evident i n some of h i s e a r l i e r writings. In 1918, for example, i n an Izvestia a r t i c l e e n t i t l e d "Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government", Lenin took to task those who take Engels at h i s word and want to "leap, from the kingdom of necessity into the kingdom of l i b e r t y . " These people, he said, have read a l l about socialism i n books, but "have never seriously understood i t , have never stopped to think that by 'leap* the teachers of socialism mean changes i n world history, and that leaps of this kind extended over periods of ten years or even more." 3 2 In the following year, faced with famine and a 3 1 I b i d . , p. *+99-3 2 I b i d . , p. 388. 31 f a l t e r i n g economy, Lenin observed that "we cannot establish a s o c i a l i s t system now--God grant that i t may be established i n our children's time, or perhaps i n our grandchildren's t i m e . " 3 3 Thus,Lenin was cautioning against any reckless leap into s o c i a l i s t forms before the time was r i p e , and was warning that the t r a n s i t i o n period might take several generations. In the same vein he wrote i n the Communist International i n the autumn of 1919 that: Socialism means the a b o l i t i o n of classes . . . . In order to abolish classes one must . . . abolish the difference between working man and peasant, one must make them a l l workers . . . . This task . . . can only be solved by the organiza-t i o n a l reconstruction of the whole economy, by a t r a n s i t i o n from i n d i v i d u a l , disunited petty commodity production to large scale s o c i a l enterprise. This t r a n s i t i o n must of necessity be extremely protracted.3*+ As Lenin accumulated more and more experience i n the actual administering of a state, he became more and more emphatic that a state can only evolve very slowly, and by small increments, towards the distant communist Utopia. He r e a l i z e d the necessity of making temporary compromises and of taking one step backward i n order to take two steps forward. In h i s book Left Wing Communism, written i n 1920 just before War Communism was abandoned and the l i b e r a l New 3 3 I b i d . , p. 5*+5-3 L f I b i d . , p. 532. Economic Policy introduced, Lenin quoted Engels 1 well known passage which c r i t i c i s e d the Blanquists for wanting to achieve communism overnight without entering into temporary compromises or going through intermediate way stations: Engels had r i d i c u l e d the Blanquists because "they imagine that merely because they want to skip the intermediate stations and compromises, that se t t l e s the matter . . . and once they come to the helm, 'Communism w i l l be introduced 1 th day after tomorrow."-5^ In 1921, Lenin introduced the New Economic Policy, admitting that "we made the mistake of deciding to change over d i r e c t l y to communist production and d i s t r i b u t i o n . " 3 ^ On October l*+th, 1921, Lenin wrote a most important a r t i c l e i n commemoration of the October Revolution's Fourth Anniversary. In thi s a r t i c l e , Lenin made two key points: f i r s t , that the t r a n s i t i o n to communism i s an unrelenting struggle which does not come to a hal t at any particular stage; and second, that intermediate stages are v i t a l l y necessary, and that i t i s a mistake to race through these stages without regard for objective factors. On the f i r s t point Lenin declared: 3 ^ I b i d . , p. 606. 3 6 L e n i n , Works, v o l . 33, P. *+0: speech to Second Congress of Committees for P o l i t i c a l Education; cited i n Abramovitch. The Soviet Revolution (New York International Press, 1962), p. 220. 33 We have consummated, the bourgeois-democratic revolution as nobody has done before. We are advancing towards the S o c i a l i s t revolution, consciously, deliberately and unswervingly, knowing that i t i s not separated from the bourgeois-democratic revolution by a Chinese wall, and knowing that ( i n the l a s t analysis) struggle alone w i l l determine how f a r we s h a l l advance, what portion of this immense, l o f t y task we s h a l l accomplish, and to what extent ->„ we s h a l l succeed i n consolidating our v i c t o r i e s . ^ ' On the l a t t e r point, Lenin admitted that immediately following the revolution, the Communists had been carried away by their own enthusiasm. He characterized the post-revolutionary euphoria i n the following way: Borne along on the crest of the wave of enthusiasm, rousing f i r s t the p o l i t i c a l enthusiasm and then the m i l i t a r y enthusiasm of the people, we reckoned that by d i r e c t l y relying on t h i s enthusiasm we would be able to accomplish economic tasks just as great as the p o l i t i c a l and m i l i t a r y tasks we had accomplished. We reckoned - or perhaps i t would be truer to say that we presumed without reckoning correctly - on being able to organize the state production and state d i s t r i b u t i o n of products along Communist lin e s i n a small peasant country by order of the proletarian state.38 But this enthusiasm merely led to a subjective evaluation of the p o s s i b i l i t i e s and caused the communists to make serious errors by pushing forward towards socialism too f a s t . Lenin, admitting h i s mistakes, noted that "experience has proved that we were wrong." Like the Blanquists who wanted to introduce communism p r a c t i c a l l y overnight, the Russian 3'Lenin, OP. c i t . . p. 7 k 7 . 3 8 I b i d . , p. 7 5 2 . communists had been overzealous i n their desire to reach socialism and communism as soon as possible. C r y s t a l l i z i n g experience into an i d e o l o g i c a l framework, Lenin drew the following conclusion: It transpires that a number of t r a n s i t i o n a l stages are necessary - state capitalism and Socialism - i n order to prepare by many years of e f f o r t f o r the t r a n s i t i o n to Communism. Not d i r e c t l y r e l y i n g on enthusiasm, but aided by enthusiasm engendered by the great revolution, and on the basis of personal i n t e r e s t , personal incentive, and business p r i n c i p l e s , we must f i r s t set to work i n this small-peasant country to b u i l d s o l i d l i t t l e gangways to Socialism by way of state capitalism. Otherwise, we s h a l l never get to Communism. That i s what experience, what the objective course of the development of the revolution has taught us.39 Sometime e a r l i e r , Lenin had taken preventive action against being l a b e l l e d a Blanquist by suggesting that the three months which transpired before the communists took measures i n the r u r a l areas allowed enough time for the Party to make the necessary " d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n of classes" and the necessary compromises. Had the Party gone ahead Immediately to so c i a l i z e the r u r a l areas, then "this would have been a Blanquist d i s t o r t i o n of Marxism, this would have been an attempt on the part of a minority to impose i t s w i l l on the majority, this would have been a theoretical absurdity . . . -^Loc. c i t . ^°Lenin, Works, v o l . 2 8 , p. 2 8 l ; quoted i n Abramo-v i t c h , op. c i t . , p. 2 2 0 . 35 Despite t h i s defense by Lenin, however, i t was clear from h i s own admissions that h i s War Communism p o l i c i e s were g u i l t y of Blanquist-like tendencies. Lenin touched on the question of s o c i a l i s t organiza-t i o n a l forms i n the r u r a l areas, i n an a r t i c l e written shortly before h i s death. In "On Co-operation", Lenin re-emphasized the need to introduce c o l l e c t i v e forms into Soviet society, and especially i n the r u r a l areas. He declared that, "If the whole peasantry were organized i n co-operatives. we would be standing fir m l y with both feet hi* on the s o i l of Socialism." But the prerequisite to the establishment of co-operatives on a universal basis through-out the country was, he said, "a complete c u l t u r a l revolution", which i n turn rested on the wiping out of i l l i t e r a c y and a k? greater development "of the material means of production." The basis of S o c i a l i s t r u r a l organization was to be, never-theless, the co-operative. He makes no mention of the appropriate organizational forms i n the higher stage of communism, however; but the commune and the state farm were s t i l l considered to be higher forms than the co-operatives, and superior i f they could be achieved. For Lenin, experience had shown that the communist Utopia was a long way off: ^ L e n i n , op. c i t . . p. 835 (*the emphasis i s mine), ko Loc. c i t . 36 The re-education of the small landholders, the reshaping of their entire psychology and habits w i l l take generations . . . . When I say i t w i l l take generations, I do not mean i t w i l l take centuries . . . but you understand very well that this must be reckoned . . . at least i n decades.*+3 While laying out guiding p r i n c i p l e s , Lenin had l i t t l e to say about the detailed form and structure of future communist society: Lenin, l i k e Marx, was more concerned with the immediate tasks at hand. For the very reason that pure communism was s t i l l a thing of the distant future, Lenin remained s t r i c t l y " s c i e n t i f i c " i n h i s descrip-tions of the ultimate Utopia, and refused to describe more than the general operative p r i n c i p l e s . Such things as the ultimate s o c i a l units of future communist society were l e f t for future generations to determine. Like Marx, Lenin was more deeply concerned i n his writings with matters immediately at hand than with i d l e theorizing about the detailed structure of future society. Moreover, whereas i n h i s e a r l i e r writings Lenin emphasized the necessity of maintaining the momentum of the revolution, i n the post-revolutionary period Lenin placed much more stress on the necessity for pragmatism and for a long prolonged struggle before communism could be realized. In the l i g h t of Soviet experience he warned against trying to ^ L e n i n , Works, v o l . 28, p. 281; quoted i n Abramo-v i t c h , OP. c i t . , p. 221. 37 leap forward towards communism, and emphasized the gradual nature of the t r a n s i t i o n to communism. Since Lenin's attitude towards the post-revolutionary phase underwent important changes i n the l i g h t of actual experience, Lenin can s e l e c t i v e l y be quoted to support both " r a d i c a l " and "pragmatic" views on s o c i a l i s t construction within the communist world. This situation has important bearing on the current i d e o l o g i c a l dispute between the leaders of the Soviet and Chinese parties, since both are able to p a r t i a l l y j u s t i f y their positions by reference to Lenin. V. STALIN'S SUCCESSION, AND HIS PATH TO COMMUNISM Following Lenin's death i n 1923, St a l i n assumed the position of supreme interpreter of Marxist-Leninism, and Pope of the world communist movement. And i n his l i f e t i m e he consciously advanced the Soviet Union along the path of communism', sometimes at enormous human s a c r i f i c e . In January of 1926, S t a l i n discussed i n his work "Concerning Questions of Leninism", the question of "permanent revolution" i n a domestic situation, a question which involved the whole issue of the speed of tran s i t i o n to communism and the question of the various stages along the way. S t a l i n pointed out that Lenin himself was an advocate of permanent revolution insofar as i t applied to maintaining the momentum of revolutionary domestic change. S t a l i n suggested that: 38 I t should be born i n mind that the idea of the growing over of the bourgeois-democratic revolution into the s o c i a l i s t revolution, propounded by Lenin as long ago as 1905, i s one of the forms of embodiment of Marx's theory of permanent r e v o l u t i o n . ^ He noted that Lenin had declared i n 1905 that, "we stand for uninterrupted revolution. We s h a l l not stop halfway . . ." J On another occasion shortly before his death, Lenin had reiterated this b e l i e f that the post-revolutionary phases occur i n uninterrupted succession, S t a l i n noted. On thi s occasion Lenin had said of the bourgeois and s o c i a l i s t revolutions: "the f i r s t grows over into the second. The second i n passing, solves the questions of the f i r s t . Struggle, and struggle alone, decides how far the second 1+6 succeeds i n outgrowing the f i r s t . " S t a l i n thus gave his support too, to the idea that the process of the evolution towards ultimate communism must never be halted, and must proceed by constant struggle. And indeed, Stalin's forced c o l l e c t i v i z a t i o n of the peasantry i n the years following 1929 proved that he practiced what he preached. One b r i e f , but s i g n i f i c a n t , reference by S t a l i n to the actual ultimate s o c i a l units of future society, occurred J. S t a l i n , Works, v o l . 8 (Moscow F.L.P.H. 1951+), p. 20. 'Lenin, Selected Works, p. 1+1+2. Lenin, Works, v o l . 27, p. 26. 39 i n the same year as h i s "Concerning Questions of Leninism"— 1926. In a speech at the Party's Fifteenth Congress, replying to c r i t i c i s m s by Zinoviev, S t a l i n undertook a discussion of Engels' The Principles of Communism. One of the twelve measures l a i d down by Engels as the necessary program of the dictatorship of the p r o l e t a r i a t was the following: Erection of great palaces on the national estates to serve as common homes for communes of c i t i z e n s which engage both i n industry and agriculture, and which combine the advantages of both urban and r u r a l l i f e , without the one-sidedness and disadvantages of either.^? In h i s comment on t h i s item, S t a l i n claimed that "this evidently refers to a large scale solution of the housing problem", and observed that the government was carrying out housing construction as f a s t as i t s resources would allow. But, of course, the significance of Engels' program went f a r beyond any mere solution to the housing question. It was concerned with the question of merging town and country, and with the ultimate s o c i a l units of communist society. In f a c t , Engels* description of the "great palaces" i s borrowed d i r e c t l y from Fourier's description of the future decentralized communistic society which Engels lauded i n h i s "On the Housing Question". Thus, i t would seem evident that at t h i s time S t a l i n was f a r too concerned with matters at hand to be too concerned about resolving the city-country antagonisms or about the future communal society. ho In 1928 S t a l i n put forward a new agrarian law to supersede the previous one passed i n 1922—not long before Lenin died. The new law i n effect made i t compulsory for a l l peasants to join c o l l e c t i v e s . Throughout 1929 enforced c o l l e c t i v i z a t i o n took place throughout the country, i n the face of widespread resistance and at a t e r r i b l e loss of human l i f e , e s p e c i a l l y of the kulak class. Although the coercive and often brutal t a c t i c s of the authorities succeeded i n forcing the large majority of peasants into co-operatives within a l i t t l e over a year, economic chaos was also a necessary r e s u l t : (The peasants) worked on the c o l l e c t i v e farms without any r e a l desire for achievement. Sowing and harvesting were carried out l a z i l y , c a r elessly and late i n the season; a g r i c u l t u r a l machinery was kept i n poor repair; the losses suffered i n animal husbandry, for lack of s k i l l e d and devoted personnel, were p a r t i c u l a r l y large . . . . The losses i n livestock were so extensive that i t took Russia more than a generation to recover . . . . The grain harvests, too, were disasterously poor . L 8 With the nation's economy threatened, S t a l i n issued an a r t i c l e e n t i t l e d "Dizzy with Success" i n which he c y n i c a l l y reprimanded cadres who got carried away with enthusiasm and practiced coercion to force the peasants into c o l l e c t i v e s . This was on March 2, 1930. On March 15, just two weeks l a t e r , the Party Central Committee issued an order relaxing somewhat the s t r i c t s o c i a l i z a t i o n of property. It "countermanded the Abramovitch, on. c i t . , p. 3 L 0 . hi s o c i a l i z a t i o n of dwellings, small livestock, poultry, and 1+9 dairy c a t t l e whose products were not intended f o r sale. ' The following summer, however, c o l l e c t i v i z a t i o n was stepped up again and the remaining peasants gradually forced into c o l l e c t i v e s . On the heels of t h i s harsh c o l l e c t i v i z a t i o n came a nationwide famine which brought death to millions i n 1932 and 1933-At the 17th Party Congress i n January 193 k , S t a l i n addressed a considerable part of h i s "Report on the Work of the Central Committee" to the theory and practice of ag r i -c u l t u r a l co-operation, discussing i n some d e t a i l the future of the c o l l e c t i v e s and the communes. This discussion represents by f a r the most important and detailed considera-tion of the co-operative question undertaken by St a l i n within h i s l i f e t i m e , and i s for this reason of particular i d e o l o g i c a l significance. In general, S t a l i n was str i k i n g out at the " L e f t i s t petty bourgeois chatter" within the party which favoured the abo l i t i o n of money, the introduction of direct commodity exchange, and the a g r i c u l t u r a l communes. Devoting the greater part of the discussion to the merits of artels ( c o l l e c t i v e s ) as opposed to communes, S t a l i n noted that the Party had been absolutely correct i n transforming the communes which remained from the period of War Communism, into artels during L f 9 I b i d . , p. 3 k l -k2 the 1929 c o l l e c t i v i z a t i o n drive. He emphasized that under conditions prevailing i n the Soviet Union i n 193 L , the a r t e l was the most appropriate form of c o l l e c t i v e agriculture for the r u r a l areas, because i t combined public with private i n t e r e s t , and at the same time taught the peasants to appreciate c o l l e c t i v e l i f e . Contrasting this with the commune, S t a l i n pointed out that: Unlike the a r t e l , where only the means of production are s o c i a l i z e d , the communes, u n t i l recently, s o c i a l i z e d not only the means of production, but also the appurtenances of l i f e of every member of the commune; that i s to say, the members of a commune, unlike the members of an a r t e l , did not i n d i v i d u a l l y own poultry, ^ small l i v e s t o c k , a cow, grain or household land. 5 In other words, i n the commune a l l private ownership was abolished and everything was owned i n common—except the land, which was owned l e g a l l y by the state. In the a r t e l , private incentive was retained and a small amount of private ownership tolerated. S t a l i n noted that the higher degree of s o c i a l i z a t i o n i n the communes had resulted i n private interest being eclipsed by public interest " i n the pursuit of petty-bourgeois equalization". He suggested that the lack of i n d i v i d u a l ownership and i n i t i a t i v e i n the communes was responsible for their lack of popularity among the peasants, and argued that the few communes l e f t had had to permit ind i v i d u a l ownership of livestock, and ease up on their s t a l i n , Report to the 17th Congress (Moscow, F.L.P.H. 1951), P. 95. k3 p o l i c i e s of s t r i c t equalization, i n order to save themselves from complete collapse, and i n the process therefore becoming a r t e l s . "There i s , " he said, "nothing bad i n t h i s , because i t i s necessary i n the interests of the sound development of 51 the c o l l e c t i v e movement.xw However, St a l i n very c l e a r l y expressed the view that the commune was d e f i n i t e l y a higher s o c i a l i s t s o c i a l unit than the a r t e l , but that i t was premature to introduce i t at the present stage: This does not mean, of course, that the commune i s not needed at a l l , and that i t no longer represents a higher form of the collective-farm movement. No, the commune i s needed, and of course, i t i s a higher form of the c o l l e c t i v e -farm movement.52* But the future commune, he suggested could only arise "on the basis of a more developed technique and of an abundance of products . . . . The future communes w i l l arise out of developed and prosperous a r t e l s . " " 0 Because the communes were introduced before the material foundations had arisen, they had been compelled to introduce r i g i d equalitarianism, S t a l i n argued—and th i s eventually resulted In their f a i l u r e . Thus, the following conditions were necessary before artels could be transformed into communes: p. 96. ^ 2 I b i d (*the emphasis i s mine). 5 3 I b i d . , p. 97. The future a g r i c u l t u r a l commune w i l l arise when the f i e l d s and farms of the a r t e l are replete with grain, with c a t t l e , with poultry, with vegetables and a l l other produce; when the a r t e l s have mechanized laundries, modern dining rooms, mechanized bakeries etc. . . . the future commune w i l l arise on the basis of a more developed technique and of a more developed a r t e l , on the basis of an abundance of products.5 k The f i n a l , and perhaps most important prerequisite l a i d down by the Soviet leader was that the transition to communes must be voluntary and "must proceed gradually to the extent that a l l the c o l l e c t i v e farmers become convinced that such 55 a t r a n s i t i o n i s necessary. ^ It was on the question of equalization of income that S t a l i n most fervently opposed the War Communism communes. Perhaps the main reason for this fact was that S t a l i n was continuing the c a p i t a l i s t policy of providing some occupations with much higher salaries than others—something quite a l i e n to Marxist notions of equal wages for equal labour time. The equalization of income i n the communes was an attempt to implement the p r i n c i p l e of "from each according to his a b i l i t i e s ; to each according to h i s work" which was supposed to p r e v a i l i n the s o c i a l i s t stage. Thus, i t represented a challenge to Stalin's incentive p o l i c i e s , and a reminder of Marxist orthodoxy. 7 Loc. c i t ^ L o c . c i t h5 Answering "those who think that i n declaring the a r t e l to be the fundamental form of the collective-farm movement the Party has d r i f t e d away from Socialism," S t a l i n skirted the v i t a l question of labour wage equality by charging that "equalization i n the sphere of requirements and i n d i v i d u a l l i f e i s a piece of reactionary petty-bourgeois absurdity worthy of a primitive sect of a s c e t i c s . ^ Thus he changed the question from one based on r e l a t i v e remuneration for work, to one of human needs—which Marx, Engels and Lenin a l l recognized as unequal. As has been noted previously, a l l three men had accepted the necessity of "equal pay for equal work" i n the f i r s t stage, despite their r e a l i z a t i o n that human needs d i f f e r e d . Only i f those who did more work were not recompensed more, could "equalitarianism" be f a i r l y charged. But i t was clear, despite h i s ideo l o g i c a l arguments, that S t a l i n opposed "equalitarianism" for the very p r a c t i c a l reason that i t dampened i n i t i a t i v e and slowed production: There can be no doubt that the confusion i n the minds of certain Party members concerning Marxian Socialism and their infatuation with the equali-tarian tendencies of the a g r i c u l t u r a l communes, are as l i k e as two peas to the petty-bourgeoise views of our L e f t i s t blockheads, who at one time id e a l i z e d the a g r i c u l t u r a l communes to such an extent that they even t r i e d to set up communes i n f a c t o r i e s , where s k i l l e d and unskilled workers, each working at h i s trade, had to pool their ^ 6 I b i d . , p. 98. K6 wages i n a common fund, which was then shared out equally. You know what harm these infan-t i l e equalitarian exercises of our , l e f t t blockheads caused our industry.57 Although, as S t a l i n says, this wage equalization may have impeded production, nevertheless i t was i d e o l o g i c a l l y sound, since Engels had s p e c i f i c a l l y emphasized i n Anti-Duhring that i n S o c i a l i s t society s k i l l e d workers would get no more than unskilled (since society absorbs the cost of the training which gives them the added s k i l l ) . Despite h i s extensive discussion of the commune question, S t a l i n made no reference to the future of the state farm, nor to the unit, i f any, that might supersede the future communes. Therefore, although the commune was d e f i n i t e l y designated to succeed the a r t e l , neither form (including the state farm) was o f f i c i a l l y designated as the ultimate goal of the c o l l e c t i v i z a t i o n process. Thus, while answering many questions, the 17th Congress s t i l l l e f t some important ones unanswered. The next Party Congress, which did not convene u n t i l 1939, was also a s i g n i f i c a n t one i n terms of the development of the communist ideology on questions of the advance to communism. In h i s report to this 18th Congress, S t a l i n distinguished two d e f i n i t e stages In the Soviet advance thus f a r . ^ 7 I b i d . , p. 102. L7 The f i r s t phase was the period from the October Revolution to the elimination of the exploiting classes;. . . . The second phase was the period from the elimination of the c a p i t a l i s t elements i n town and country to the complete v i c t o r y of the s o c i a l i s t economic system and the adoption of the new constitution.5 8 Implicit i n t h i s analysis was the claim that the Soviet Union had achieved socialism; and was now setting i t s sights on communism: As you see, we have now an e n t i r e l y new s o c i a l i s t state . . . . But development cannot stop there. We are moving ahead towards Communism.59 Thus, Soviet society had b a s i c a l l y arrived at the s o c i a l i s t stage, and i t s duty now was to prepare for the t r a n s i t i o n to the higher stage. The l a s t major work written by S t a l i n was h i s Economic Problems of Socialism i n the U.S.S.R. which was published i n 1952, shortly before h i s death. In this work he took as h i s main thesis the problems of the t r a n s i t i o n to communism, and l a i d down three major prerequisites to be achieved before Soviet society could go over to communism. The f i r s t prerequisite outlined by S t a l i n was to ensure "a continuous expansion of a l l s o c i a l production" i n order to create the necessary foundation of material abundance. Secondly, he deemed i t necessary: 5®J. S t a l i n , Report to the 18th Congress (Moscow F.L.P.H., 195D, p. 8^+7 ^ 9 I b i d . , p. 93. kQ by means of gradual tr a n s i t i o n s c a r r i e d out to the advantage of the c o l l e c t i v e farms, and, hence of a l l society, to raise collective-farm property to the l e v e l of public property, and also by means of gradual t r a n s i t i o n s , to replace commodity c i r c u l a t i o n by a system of products exchange, under which the central government, or some other socio-economic center might control the whole product of s o c i a l production i n the interests of s o c i e t y . ° 0 On the question of the c o l l e c t i v e farms, S t a l i n emphasized that at the present and i n the near future, they would continue to be the correct units of Soviet agriculture. "But," he added, i t would be unpardonable blindness not to see at the same time that these factors ( c o l l e c t i v e property and commodity c i r c u l a t i o n ) are already beginning to hamper the powerful development of our productive forces, since they create obstacles to the f u l l extension of government planning.61 He concluded that: In order to raise c o l l e c t i v e farm property to the l e v e l of public property, the surplus collective-farm output must be excluded from the system of commodity c i r c u l a t i o n and i n -cluded i n the system of products exchange between state industry and the c o l l e c t i v e farms.62 No mention at a l l was made by S t a l i n about the introduction of communes. Communism could be attained, i f accomplishment of the t h i r d task was r e a l i z e d : 5 0 J . S t a l i n , Economic Problems of Socialism i n the U.S.S.R. (New York, International Publishers, 1952), p. 51. 6 l I b i d . , p. 52. 6 2 I b i d . , p. 69. 1+9 to ensure such a c u l t u r a l advancement of society as w i l l secure for a l l members of society, the all-round development of the i r physical and mental a b i l i t i e s , so that members of society may be i n a position to receive an education s u f f i c i e n t to enable them to be active agents of s o c i a l development, and i n a position to f r e e l y choose their occupations, and not be tied a l l their l i v e s , owing to the existence of the d i v i s i o n of labour, to some one occupation.°3 In concrete terms, i n order to achieve t h i s end, S t a l i n prescribed the eventual shortening of the working day to f i v e hours and compulsory polytechnic training i n several occupations for a l l . Thus, he was advocating positive p r a c t i c a l steps which would achieve the condition of occupa-t i o n a l mobility advocated by Engels and Marx as a necessity f o r creative human development. Closely associated with the question of occupational mobility and the d i v i s i o n of labour, are the questions of the antithesis between town and country, and between mental and manual labour. S t a l i n 1 s claim was that the actual antithesis between these elements had a l l but disappeared, since a l l c i t i z e n s — p e a s a n t , i n d u s t r i a l worker, manager and la b o u r e r — were working i n harmony towards a common goal. Only " d i s t i n c t i o n s " now remained. S t a l i n r e c a l l e d that Engels had predicted that with the a b o l i t i o n of the antithesis between town and country "the great towns w i l l perish", but discounted Engels* statement. On the contrary, he argued, great towns Ibid., p. 53. 50 w i l l arise i n the countryside and "this w i l l f a c i l i t a t e the c u l t u r a l progress of the nation and w i l l tend to even up 6k conditions of l i f e i n town and country. As to the remaining " d i s t i n c t i o n s " between town and country and mental and manual labour, S t a l i n maintained that some d i s t i n c t i o n s would never disappear: "Some d i s t i n c t i o n s , even i f i n e s s e n t i a l , w i l l c e r t a i n l y remain, owing to the difference between the conditions of work i n industry and i n agriculture," and because "the conditions of labour of the 65 managerial s t a f f s and those of the workers are not i d e n t i c a l . " The most serious remaining " d i s t i n c t i o n " i n the former case was the difference between state ownership i n the towns and the remaining c o l l e c t i v e ownership i n the farms of the r u r a l areas. "It therefore cannot be denied," S t a l i n stated, "that the disappearance of th i s essential d i s t i n c t i o n between agriculture and industry must be a matter of paramount importance to us." But Stalin's solution was not "simply to nationalize collective-farm property, to proclaim i t public property." He declared that "conversion into state property i s not the only, or even the best form of n a t i o n a l i -t y zation, but the most natural i n i t i a l form of n a t i o n a l i z a t i o n . ^ ' In the future when most of the states are s o c i a l i s t , the state 6¥; rIbid. . p. 23 66 6 5 I b i d . , p. 25-Ibid.. p. 2k. 6 7 l b i d . , p. 65. 51 as such w i l l die away, he argues, and "the h e i r of public property w i l l then not be the state, which w i l l have died away, but society i t s e l f , i n the shape of a cent r a l , directing economic body."^ However, S t a l i n did oppose the plan put forward by some economists to s e l l the state-owned "basic implements of production" controlled by the Machine Tractor Stations, to the c o l l e c t i v e s . He claimed that t h i s would be a step backward from communism, rather than a step towards i t , since the state property would be transformed into l e s s -s o c i a l i s t i c c o l l e c t i v e property: Can i t be said that such a status would f a c i l i t a t e the elevation of collective-farm property to the l e v e l of public property, so that i t would expedite the t r a n s i t i o n of our society from socialism to communism? Would i t not be truer to say that such a status could only dig a deeper gulf between collective-farm property and public property, and would not bring us any nearer communism, but, on the contrary, remove us farther from it?69 Hence, i t would appear that S t a l i n s t i l l intended to s o c i a l i z e the lesser tools and implements owned i n d i v i d u a l l y within the co l l e c t i v e s , and to ultimately nationalize the c o l l e c t i v e l y owned, implements, machinery and animals as well. This would involve going through the commune stage, but the Soviet leader made no e x p l i c i t reference to future s o c i a l units. It i s not en t i r e l y clear whether Stalin's plan to take control hoc, c i t . 6 9 I b i d . . p. 68. over a l l collective-farm commodity exchange was meant to obviate the need to adopt higher s o c i a l units i n the future, but t h i s cannot rule out as a p o s s i b i l i t y . It i s with the long i d e o l o g i c a l and h i s t o r i c a l background outlined, that the Sino-Soviet differences over the Chinese People's Communes arose. As can r e a d i l y be seen, the communes of China necessarily involved very extensive i d e o l o g i c a l implications for the entire communist movement since they were concerned with the correct road to communism, and with the discovery of the fastest method of achieving the prerequisites to communism. Moreover, the introduction of the communes i n China cannot be viewed i n i s o l a t i o n , but only as a continuation of a long h i s t o r i c a l debate within the communist movement—and with special significance for the Communist Party of the Soviet Union which had experienced several decades of dispute over the future of c o l l e c t i v e s and communes, and which was s t i l l i n progress when the communes were introduced. Even before the introduction of the communes, the Chinese had become a party to the controversies over t r a n s i -t i o n a l measures, occurring i n the Soviet Union. Thus, with the publication of Stalin's Economic Problems of Socialism, the Chinese placed themselves i n l i n e with Stal i n i n the controversy by supporting his basic theses. People's Daily noted that the a r t i c l e : 53 throws much l i g h t on the basic problems i n the economics of socialism and points the way to the t r a n s i t i o n from socialism to communism. In this work, Comrade S t a l i n systematizes the experience gained i n the construction of socialism i n the U.S.S.R. and i n the world revolutionary movement and he enriches and aug-ments the science of Marxism-Leninism.70 The People's Daily further noted that S t a l i n was pointing the way for the whole communist movement, not just the Soviet Union: It Is beyond doubt that Comrade Stalin's theore t i c a l contribution to a l l these questions i s of extremely important significance, not only for the economic construction of the U.S.S.R., but also for the economic construction of China and the other countries of the people's democracies.71 Thus It was inevitable that with the f a l l of S t a l i n , and the reversal of some of h i s a g r i c u l t u r a l and collective-farm p o l i c i e s , the Chinese, as supporters of Stalin's i d e o l o g i c a l pronouncements should come into c o n f l i c t with the new CPSU leadership over domestic issues. As an independent entity, China remained a proponent of S t a l i n i s t orthodoxy, out of the control of the CPSU leaders and a thorn i n their sides. 7°Ppnnle's Daily. October 3 0 , 1952; Soviet Press Translations. 1952, p. H-32. 7 1 L o c . c i t . CHAPTER III THE DIALOGUE OF A DISPUTE: THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COMMUNE CONTROVERSY On August 29, 1958 an enlarged session of the Chinese Communist Party's Politburo passed a resolution supporting the establishment of "Peoples Communes" throughout the r u r a l areas of the nation, and providing a theoret i c a l j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r the introduction of this new s o c i a l unit of Chinese society. U n t i l the resolution was o f f i c i a l l y published on September 10, no comment of any kind had appeared i n the Soviet press regarding the communes, despite the fact that some provinces were already completely "eommune-ized" by the end of August when the party resolution was passed, and despite the f a c t that the communes had been i n i t i a t e d i n some areas as f a r back as A p r i l , and had been extensively publicized i n the Chinese press. This apparently purposeful p o l i c y of the Soviet party hierarchy to ignore the commune movement i n i t s early stages i s i n i t s e l f s i g n i f i c a n t and suggests (the p o s s i b i l i t y ) that the C.P.S.U. was privately seeking to dissuade the Chinese leaders from continuing their experiments. Certain discussions concerning the future of eo-operative farms i n the Soviet Union did take place i n the spring and summer of 1958 at the same time that communes were beginning to be set up i n various parts of the People's 55 Republic, but these discussions were apparently aimed at quelling opposition to Premier Khrushchev's plan to dissolve the Machine and Tractor Stations and s e l l their assets to the c o l l e c t i v e s . Whether these discussions have d i r e c t , or only i n d i r e c t , bearing on the Chinese communes depends lar g e l y on whether the Soviet leaders had advance knowledge of Mao's intention to depart from the path of the Soviet Union i n a g r i c u l t u r a l development. In this regard, i t i s also important to establish the date of the Chinese Communist Party's switch i n po l i c y i n regard to the development of the co-operatives. By 1957, agriculture i n China had gone through the succeeding stages of Land Redistribution, Mutual Aid Teams, Lower Stage Co-operatives, and Higher Stage Co-operatives, thus bringing i t i n eight years to the approximate stage of c o l l e c t i v i z a t i o n achieved i n the Soviet Union i n 1933, and more or les s retained ever since. Following a similar move i n the Soviet Union, some Chinese co-operatives amalgamated i n 1957 into larger units of over 1,000 families each. However, i n general, the co-operatives for the most part retained a membership of approximately 100 to 300 families, and taking i n a single v i l l a g e . Moreover, as late as June 1957 Mao Tse-tung suggested that i t would take f i v e years or more to "consolidate the co-operatives and end these arguments 56 about their not having any superior qualities."" 1' Furthermore, on September Ik, three months l a t e r , the Central Committee passed a resolution stating that: Experiences i n d i f f e r e n t l o c a l i t i e s during the past few years have proved that large c o l l e c t i v e s and large teams are generally not adaptable to the present production conditions . . . a l l those that are too big and not well managed should be divided into smaller units i n accordance with the wishes of the members. Henceforth, a c o l l e c t i v e should generally be the size of a v i l l a g e with over a thousand households . . . . After the size of the c o l l e c t i v e s and production teams has been decided upon, i t should be p u b l i c l y announced that t h i s organization w i l l remain unchanged i n the next ten years.2 Yet s i x months l a t e r Mao himself helped i n i t i a t e the f i r s t communes i n the province of Honan. The testimony of the Honan party secretary i n an a r t i c l e published i n Red Flag on September 16, 1958 casts some l i g h t on the events preceding the establishment of the f i r s t communes: When co-operation of the advanced type was achieved i n Honan i n 1956, there were a l -together 26,211 co-ops, each having an average membership of 358 households, and 808 co-ops embracing over one thousand XMao Tse-tung, On the Correct Handling of Contradic-tions Among the People (Peking, Foreign Languages Press, I960), p. 35. ^People's Handbook for 1958 (Peking, 1958); cited i n Choh-Ming L i , "Economic Development," China Quarterly, no. 1, January-March I960, p. ^3. 57 families each. With the i n i t i a l overhaul i n the Spring of 1957, the co-ops i n the whole province became consolidated i n the main and many large co-ops fared comparatively well. Closing their eyes to this s i t u a t i o n and yie l d i n g to the demand of a small number of well-to-do middle peasants, a few r i g h t i s t opportunists within the Honan pr o v i n c i a l Communist Party committee, however, indiscriminately t r i e d to compel a l l the large co-ops to s p l i t up.3 As a r e s u l t , the number of co-ops i n Honan increased to 5*+,000 each averaging 180 households with the smallest containing less than 3 0 . 3 A The dismantling of the large c o l l e c t i v e s was of course i n l i n e with the Party's September 2h d i r e c t i v e . It must be presumed that Pan Fu-sheng's error then, was i n forcing even highly successful large c o l l e c t i v e s to reduce their size, and i n succumbing to pressure from the peasantry to relax c o l l e c t i v i z a t i o n . The resu l t of his error, according to the Honan Daily (July k, 1958) was that "land-lords, r i c h peasants, counter-revolutionaries, bad elements, and well-to-do middle peasants accustomed to c a p i t a l i s t ways of thinking applauded and agitated for withdrawal from their c o l l e c t i v e s saying 'big co-operatives w i l l turn into small % o t e : In 1957 during the Anti-Rightist campaign, Pan Fu-sheng alternate member of the Central Committee and f i r s t secretary of the Honan prov i n c i a l committee, was 'exposed and removed from o f f i c e for 'right opportunist mistakes*. 3 AWu Chih-pu, "From A.P.C.s to People's Communes," Red Flag, no. 8, September 16, 1958; People's Communes i n China (Peking, F.L.P., 1958), p. 26-*+7. 58 co-operatives 1, then into mutual aid teams and back into i n d i v i d u a l farms. The lesson that the Party was to draw from this was that as soon as p o l i t i c a l pressure was released, the peasants would spontaneously reverse the course of c o l l e c t i v i z a t i o n . The choice was either to push forward, or be driven back. Wu Chih-pu, the new Honan pr o v i n c i a l secretary, suggests the course decided upon: "As i t was, spontaneous merger of a g r i c u l t u r a l co-ops began i n Honan as early as the spring of 1958, so that by the time of the wheat harvest the existing co-ops were amalgamated into 30,000 or more."' In actual f a c t , the merger was f a r from 'spontaneous*. In r e a l i t y , Mao Tse-tung had announced this policy of combining the co-ops into larger units at a conference of members of the Central Committee and regional party representatives at Chengtu i n March. At the same time the Central Committee also i n i t i a t e d i t s policy of i n d u s t r i a l decentralization which was to play a v i t a l r ole i n the establishment of the communes. ^Honan Daily. July k , 1958; Current Background, no. 515, August 29, 1958, p. 26. ^Wu-Chih-pu, OP. c i t . , p. 3 k» ^People's Daily, e d i t o r i a l , August 29, 1959; re-printed as Appendix to Report on Adjusting the Ma.lor Targets of the 1959 Economic Plan (Peking, F.L.P., 1959), PP. 31- k 67 59 Commenting on the situ a t i o n i n Honan, Wu Chih-pu revealed that: Some of the large co-ops took another stride forward l a s t spring. They developed i n d u s t r i a l and a g r i c u l t u r a l production simultaneously, merged the farming, handicraft, supply and marketing, and credit co-ops into one, set up thei r own secondary schools, trained large numbers of leading personnel and a c t i v i s t s who are both s o c i a l i s t minded and professionally competent, and gained adequate experience i n the management of large scale production. This was i n essence the people's commune i n the bud, displaying a s t i l l greater superiority over the small co-ops.7 In mid-winter, Mao Tse-tung himself had made a tour of the southern provinces. During t h i s tour Mao inspected the s i t e s of the tremendous i r r i g a t i o n and flood control projects, being b u i l t by the mass peasant army of over 100 m i l l i o n throughout the r u r a l areas i n the winter months. This successful campaign by the Party to mobilize the nation's greatest resource--manpower--no doubt convinced Mao that a new form of s o c i a l organization must be created i n China to exploit f u l l y the labour potential of the 500 m i l l i o n Chinese peasants. Following t h i s tour a Supreme State Conference was held i n February, presumably to discuss the new surge forward in the countryside. The only clue to the proceedings of this conference appeared i n an oblique reference i n the People's Daily on June 11, 1958. In the a r t i c l e i n question i t i s stated that: Wu Chih-pu, OP. c i t . , p. 33* 6o At a Supreme State Conference i n February this year, Chairman Mao mentioned a c r i t i c i s m made by a f r i e n d against the Communist party, saying that the Communist Party 'loves grandeur and achievement, wants quick results and p r o f i t , b e l i t t l e s the past, and believes b l i n d l y i n the future*. Chairman Mao replying to the c r i t i c i s m said the Communist Party was just l i k e t h a t — that i t loved the grandeur of Socialism, wanted quick r e s u l t s i n Socialism, b e l i t t l e d the past, and believed b l i n d l y i n the future.8 From th i s reference i t i s evident that the subject under consideration at the conference was s o c i a l i s t construction, and the speed and forms thereof. It i s d i f f i c u l t to ascertain whether these remarks by Chairman Mao referred to c r i t i c i s m s made by persons within the country or without. There i s a d i s t i n c t p o s s i b i l i t y that the 'friend* referred to by Mao was Khrushchev, or some other high Soviet o f f i c i a l at the November 1957 conference of communist parties i n Moscow, just three months e a r l i e r . It i s known from subsequent disclosures by both sides that a considerable amount of mutual c r i t i c i s m and disagreement took place between Mao and Khrushchev at this meeting i n November when the international l i n e of the communist movement was hammered out, and i t i s also thought that the question of Soviet trade credits and Soviet aid to China were also discussed i n private talks between the representatives of the two countries. Thus, i t i s d i s t i n c t l y possible that the remarks and c r i t i c i s m s to which Mao refers were made during these negotiations. This i s especially so ^Quoted i n D. S. Zagoria, The Sino-Soviet Conflict (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1962), p. 89. 61 In the l i g h t of the fact that no new loans were forthcoming from the negotiations. From 1956 onward the receipt of loans from the USSR have been n e g l i g i b l e . In fact they have been systematically outweighed by heavy repay-ments. This state of a f f a i r s i s r e f l e c t e d i n the growing Chinese export surplus i n Sino-Soviet trade obviously connected with the servicing of old debts; by 1957 exports to the USSR were half as large again as imports.9 It has been argued by many that the Soviet Union was i n no position to advance loans and aid to China at t h i s time since the Russians were deeply committed to aid programs In Europe, sparked by the uprisings i n Poland and Hungary the year before. But whatever the reason, the Soviet Union f a i l e d to provide the Chinese with the economic boost they needed, especially i n view of the poor harvest, leaving the Chinese no choice but to u t i l i z e the resources of manpower i n order to raise themselves by their own bootstraps, and to organize their society along the l i n e s most suited to dir e c t and control peasant labour i n the r u r a l areas. At the time of the Moscow Conference, the Central Committee had already issued the September 2k d i r e c t i v e several weeks before, to mobilize the vast peasant armies for the massive winter campaign to b u i l d dams, canals, reservoirs, and i r r i g a t i o n ditches throughout the country-side; thus, there i s also A. Zauberman, "The Economic Aspect," The Chinese Communes (New York, Institute of P a c i f i c Relations, i960) , P . 65. 62 the p o s s i b i l i t y that this p o l i c y of mass mobilization reminiscent of the S t a l i n era i n the Soviet Union, came under f i r e i n discussions with the Soviet leaders. It i s important to establish whether Khrushchev was the author of the remarks to Mao, since this would establish the ori g i n of the dispute over a g r i c u l t u r a l p o l i c y i n China, and the correct road of building socialism i n communist countries. It would also add a new significance to a r t i c l e s and pronouncements i n the press of both countries i n the early months of 1958. At the second session of the Eighth National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party i n May 1958 f o r instance, Liu Snao-chi included i n h i s report on behalf of the Central Committee the following statement: Referring to the mass mobilization of r u r a l labour over the winter months, Liu stated: During t h i s great movement i n which hundreds of m i l l i o n s of people were mobilized, i t i s inevitable that there should be some defects i n our work even while great successes are being scored and that as we advance we should meet with some d i f f i c u l t i e s . . . . Some people c r i t i c i z e us for 'craving greatness and success', for seeking 'quick success and instant benefits'. What they say about us i s r i g h t ! And shouldn't we crave greatness f o r our 600 m i l l i o n people and the success of socialism? Should we rather crave smallness and court f a i l u r e , reject success and benefits, and rest content with lagging behind and doing nothing?10 Liu Shao-chi, "Report on the Work of the Central Committee," Second Session of the Eighth National Congress of the Communist Party of China (Peking F.L.P., 1958), p. h$. 63 Clearly, this i s a reference to the same statement which Mao revealed at the State Conference i n February. From Liu's choice of words i t would appear that the reply i s directed at persons outside of China, and i t s r e p e t i t i o n by Liu makes i t clear that t h i s c r i t i c i s m came from a person of high enough stature to outrightly challenge Chinese poli c y . Obviously no non-Party person within China would have the prestige and power to warrant such serious consideration by both Mao and Liu; the importance attached to th i s c r i t i c i s m of Party p o l i c y can best be explained by the fa c t that i t came from the l i p s of an important Soviet leader, and by the fact that i t gave ammunition and support to the right wing elements i n the Chinese communist party who Liu revealed were i n opposition to the general l i n e of "building socialism by exerting our utmost e f f o r t s and pressing ahead consistently to achieve greater, f a s t e r , better and more economical re s u l t s , " put forward i n September 1957' I f indeed the originator of the c r i t i c i s m of the general l i n e was N. S. Khrushchev, i n h i s November talks with Mao, then the Soviet Party no doubt kept close watch on the domestic developments i n China i n succeeding months, and consciously studied the events which led to the emergence of the communes i n People's China. Moreover, i t would appear certain that the Chinese were keeping closely informed of domestic developments i n the Soviet Union, also, since 6h Khrushchev was s i m i l a r l y contemplating important reforms i n Soviet agriculture. The Earlv Experiments: Soring 1958 As has been noted previously, the Chinese Party's Central Committee met i n Chengtu i n March of 1958 and issued a d i r e c t i v e reversing the September Ik d i r e c t i v e of the previous F a l l , and ordering a gradual amalgamation of the co-operatives into large scale co-operatives. This i n i t s e l f was not necessarily a departure from Soviet policy,since the same process had been i n i t i a t e d i n the Soviet Union after Stalin's death, and was s t i l l continuing. During A p r i l Mao himself spent some time i n Honan and Hopeh presumably i n i t i a t i n g and overseeing the experiment i n combining the two p o l i c i e s of decentralization and large c o l l e c t i v e s into a concrete form: The Communist Party committees at various levels i n the province undertook to set up on a t r i a l basis some large co-operatives of several thousand households each, among them the 9,369-household Weihsing (Sputnik) Co-op i n Chayashan, Suiping county, formed (on A p r i l 20) out of 27 smaller co-ops . . . . In the course of the merger of the small co-ops, energetic e f f o r t s were made to build industry, organize community canteens, nurseries, kindergartens, homes for the aged, and other welfare services; plots of land reserved f o r private use were turned over to the co-op and s o c i a l i s t co-operation was developed on a vast scale. „In the c i t i e s too, an increasing number of f a c t o r i e s were b u i l t and more community services and welfare f a c i l i t i e s i n i t i a t e d . This was, i n essence, already the start of the movement for people's communes . . . . Only after Comrade Mao Tse-tung gave h i s directive regarding the people's communes did they (the people) begin to see things c l e a r l y , r e a l i z e the meaning of thi s new form of organization that had appeared i n the vast r u r a l and urban areas, and f e e l more confident and determined to take this path.11 The Reform of Soviet Agriculture At approximately the same time that selected Chinese Party leaders were meeting i n Chengtu to i n i t i a t e the p o l i c i e s that would r e s u l t i n the formation of the communes, a nationwide discussion was taking place i n the Soviet Union over the proposal by the CPSU to reorganize the state-owned Machine Tractor Stations and s e l l their tractors and machinery to the c o l l e c t i v e farms. This proposal arose out of Khrushchev's policy of giving the peasants more incentives i n order to encourage increased production. In Marxist eyes, such a pol i c y , based on expediency rather than Ideology i s retrogressive, and a number of Soviet economists and party members said as much during the debates on the proposal. To many, the s e l l i n g of state property ( i . e . property of the whole people) to the c o l l e c t i v e farms was a step away from the Communist goal, since according to Marxist theory, the avowed aim i s to gradually transform a l l the means of production into state property: property of the whole people. In fa c t , i n 1952, S t a l i n had rejected similar proposals as retrogressive for this very reason. "Wu Chih-pu, op. c i t . , p. 3*+. 66 In the debate over the reorganization of the M.T.S., both Khrushchev and leading Party theoreticians took up the whole question of the t r a n s i t i o n to communism and attempted to provide th e o r e t i c a l j u s t i f i c a t i o n , within the framework of Marxist-Leninism, for the Party policy. In doing so, they adopted positions on a number of important theoret i c a l questions which were to form the center of the commune controversy i n the succeeding months. Some of the comment had bearing on the exact subject of communes, which meant that the CPSU took an i d e o l o g i c a l position on the communes immediately p r i o r to the time that the f i r s t one was o f f i c i a l l y established i n Honan. (It should be noted, however, that the new unit i n China was not o f f i c i a l l y termed 12 a "commune" u n t i l June of 1958. ) Thus, the Chinese set up their communes f u l l y knowing that the Russians had just adopted a public position concerning their appropriateness at the current stage of the road to communism. It i s not equally discernible from available evidence, whether the CPSU was f u l l y aware at this particular moment of the Chinese experiments or intents. I f the Soviet leaders were indeed f u l l y informed of the Chinese intent, then the a r t i c l e s i n the Soviet press and journals take on added significance. In either case, the reorganization of the M.T.S. proved to be 1 2"Long Live the People's Communes," People's Daily. August 29,,1959; reprinted i n Report on Adjusting the Major Targets of the 1959 Economic Plan (Peking, F.L.P., 1959), P. hi. 67 the occasion for the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to make i t s views known concerning c o l l e c t i v e s , communes and the t r a n s i t i o n to communism. In h i s speech on March 27 to the Supreme Soviet, Khrushchev discussed i n d e t a i l the question of the t r a n s i -tion to communism, from both a theoretical and from a p r a c t i c a l point of view. From the outset, he stressed the importance of increasing production and emphasized that h i s l i b e r a l a g r i c u l t u r a l p o l i c i e s designed to achieve t h i s end had been opposed by the more dogmatic element within the Party, (which had been led by Molotov, Shepilov, Malenkov, Kaganovitch and Bulganin, who were ousted from the politburo i n the summer of 1957). Khrushchev pointed out that: In organizing the nationwide struggle for a sharp advance i n agriculture, the Communist Party i s guided by the programmatic p r i n c i p l e s of Marxist-Leninism concerning the enormous importance of a g r i c u l t u r a l production and of creating an abundance of food, without which the t r a n s i t i o n to communism i s inconceivable. The Party delivered a shattering blow to the conservatives and dogmatists divorced from l i f e who r e s i s t e d the Party's Leninist l i n e and opposed implementation of such major measures as developing the v i r g i n and i d l e lands, increasing livestock productivity and consistently applying the p r i n c i p l e of the material stake of the farmers i n the develop-ment of the communal economy.13 1 3N. S. Khrushchev, "On Further Developing the Collective Farm System and Reorganizing the M.T.S.," Pravda, March 28, 1958; Current Digest of the Soviet Press, v o l . X, no. 13, p. 6. 68 Turning to the c o l l e c t i v e farms as such, Khrushchev propounded the view that they had not yet reached their f u l l p otential as an organizational form, and that with h i s proposed reorganization of the Machine Tractor Stations, their productiveness would be vastly increased. Thus, he made the declaration that: An increase i n a g r i c u l t u r a l production depends on further strengthening the c o l l e c t i v e farms, improving the organization of their work and reinforcing their material and technical base . . . . Amalgamation of the c o l l e c t i v e farms was an important step i n the development of the c o l l e c t i v e farm system. This measure opened up favourable opportunities for more r a t i o n a l use of equipment and manpower resources and for advancing the c o l l e c t i v e farm economy. But because of serious shortcomings i n the manage-ment of agriculture, this measure alone could not assure a r a d i c a l turning point i n the development of c o l l e c t i v e farm production . . . Now . . . i t i s time to think about making r a d i c a l changes i n the provision of technical and production services to the c o l l e c t i v e farms.ih B a s i c a l l y then, Khrushchev's main theses i n these passages were that (a) the most important task i s to create material abundance, which i s the primary prerequisite for the achievement of communism i n a s o c i a l i s t nation; (b) material abundance can be most quickly achieved by the use of material incentives and through mechanization; (c) further c o l l e c t i v i z a t i o n into bigger units has limited p r a c t i c a l value and (d) ideology must take second place to increased production i f communism i s to be reached i n the shortest time. Ibid., p. 8. The Soviet premier then went on to discuss the problems i n Marxist-Leninist theory raised by the proposed pol i c y , and s p e c i f i c a l l y the question of the di f f e r e n t forms of s o c i a l i s t ownership. It should be remembered that i n reorganizing the M.T.S., Khrushchev was reversing the policy e x p l i c i t l y l a i d down i n 1952 by S t a l i n himself. Thus, Khrushchev was forced to come to grips with, and refute, the ideological arguments presented by S t a l i n for the retention of the Machine Tractor Stations i n the hands of the state. S t a l i n f s most formidable argument had been that the s e l l i n g of state machinery to the c o l l e c t i v e farms would constitute a backward step, since c o l l e c t i v e property was a lower form of s o c i a l i s t property than property belonging to the whole people. Khrushchev was thus forced to defend h i s M.T.S. p o l i c i e s against those who upheld the ide o l o g i c a l v a l i d i t y of Stalin's stand, made only a few years before i n 1952. Khrushchev outlined their arguments i n the following passage: Some comrades, primarily among the economists, held that with the reorganization of the M.T.S. a vagueness would arise i n certain theoretical questions, i n particular the question of two forms of ownership. Proceeding from the premise that the tr a n s i t i o n to communism requires the comprehensive strengthening of public ownership and r a i s i n g c o l l e c t i v e farm co-operative property to the l e v e l of public property, they expressed the fear that the planned reorganization of the M.T.S. would contradict Marxist-Leninist theory and that the sale of machinery to the c o l l e c t i v e farms might weaken public ownership. The question was also raised as to which form of s o c i a l i s t agriculture better corresponds to the tasks of building communism, c o l l e c t i v e or state farming? Since the state farm i s based on public ownership, should not the c o l l e c t i v e farms be converted to the state farm form of economy?l5 Ibid., p. 11. This argument concerning the gradual t r a n s i t i o n towards ownership of the whole people i s a key one, i d e o l o g i c a l l y , and proved to be one of the central issues i n the Sino-Soviet dispute over the communes. Khrushchev's position on t h i s question i s thus an important factor being taken into account. He assumed the position that the importance of transforming c o l l e c t i v e property into public property should not be over-stressed. While conceding that Lenin had declared public property to be the highest form of property, he suggested that Lenin had "never counterposed public property and co-operative property." Instead, "he stressed that both forms of property are s o c i a l i s t , and both serve the interests of the people and the common aim—the building of communist society." Thus, he concluded that there was no need to view c o l l e c t i v e and state property as antagonistic, and that c o l l e c t i v e property would gradually evolve towards public property anyway i n the natural course of events: Of course, there are de f i n i t e differences between c o l l e c t i v e farm co-operative property and public property, but these are merely the diff e r e n t forms of development of one and the same thing, namely, the s o c i a l i s t mode of production. The only difference i s that public property has a higher and c o l l e c t i v e farm property a lower degree of s o c i a l i z a t i o n . This means that i t i s a matter of gradually r a i s i n g the l e v e l of s o c i a l i z a t i o n of c o l l e c t i v e farm property and thus r a i s i n g i t to the l e v e l of public property. How i s this to be done? Only by further developing both public, state property and co-operative, collective-farm property. The measures planned for further developing the c o l l e c t i v e farm system and reorganizing the M.T.S. w i l l assure the expansion 71 of c o l l e c t i v e farm property and i t s closest approximation to public property.16 •In other words, Khrushchev de-emphasized the difference between c o l l e c t i v e and state ownership, and placed the task of raising production over the theoret i c a l requirement of moving towards state ownership. And despite h i s fancy Marxist-Leninist footwork, h i s main point remained i m p l i c i t — that a movement towards state ownership of agriculture, or retention of state-owned M.T.S. wouldn't rais e production. In short, pragmatism must take precedence over ideology. It i s interesting to note i n t h i s regard, a comment made by Liu Shao-chi a month la t e r at the Chinese Party Congress i n which he took the opposite view, saying that "some people say that id e o l o g i c a l and p o l i t i c a l work can produce neither grain nor coal nor iron. This i s l i k e f a i l i n g to see the wood for the trees." These two statements of position form an important point of departure i n the Sino-Soviet dispute, one stressing material incentive, the other ideology, i n the struggle to raise production. Continuing his argument, Khrushchev goes on: One wonders how i t can be assumed that the development of c o l l e c t i v e farm ownership contradicts the interests of building socialism, that this ownership can be used against our state, against the working Loc. c i t 7 2 class. Only those people can think this who lag hopelessly behind l i f e . 1 7 * It i s interesting to note that Khrushchev refers i n this paragraph to the building of socialism rather than the building of communism, which i s the stage i n which the Soviet Union i s purported to be. This may be a clue to the fac t that Khrushchev was also dir e c t i n g h i s remarks to the Chinese, who l i k e the other members of the communist bloc, are considered to be s t i l l i n the stage of building socialism. The s e l l i n g of state equipment to the c o l l e c t i v e farms w i l l r e s u l t i n an increase i n production of foodstuffs, the Soviet leader continues: Does this contradict the tasks of building a communist society? No, . . . f o r i t speeds the progress of our country towards communism. The i n d i v i s i b l e funds of the c o l l e c t i v e farms w i l l increase, the l e v e l of s o c i a l i z a t i o n of co l l e c t i v e farm production w i l l be higher and i n t e r - c o l l e c t i v e farm t i e s w i l l grow, this w i l l be a major condition for the further development of c o l l e c t i v e farm property and w i l l help i t grow into public property.1° Developing th i s point i n another part of h i s address he suggested that: . . . the c o l l e c t i v e farms are uniting their e f f o r t s to solve problems that f a l l outside the framework of ind i v i d u a l farms and are building i n s t a l l a t i o n s that are e s e n t i a l l y of Ibid., p. ih (*the emphasis i s mine) Loc. c i t . 73 a p u b l i c n a t u r e . H e r e i t i s n o t d i f f i c u l t t o s e e e l e m e n t s o f t h e d e v e l o p m e n t o f c o l l e c t i v e - , Q f a r m c o - o p e r a t i v e p r o p e r t y i n t o p u b l i c p r o p e r t y . y F r o m a p u r e l y M a r x i s t p o i n t o f v i e w , t h i s a n a l y s i s i s h a r d l y c o n v i n c i n g : t h e p r o p e r t y t h a t K h r u s h c h e v c i t e s i s s t i l l c o l l e c t i v e p r o p e r t y owned b y , a t t h e m o s t , a f e w t h o u s a n d f a m i l i e s , a n d b y no means p u b l i c p r o p e r t y . The d i f f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n r i c h c o l l e c t i v e s a n d p o o r c o l l e c t i v e s o n a n a t i o n w i d e s c a l e s t i l l p e r s i s t s . A t no p o i n t d o e s K h r u s h c h e v s u g g e s t t h a t a p a r t y - i n i t i a t e d , f o r m a l p r o g r a m w o u l d b e i n i t i a t e d t o t r a n s f o r m c o l l e c t i v e o w n e r s h i p i n t o s t a t e o w n e r s h i p i n t h e f o r e s e e a b l e f u t u r e . R a t h e r , h e s u g g e s t e d t h a t a s a s o c i a l u n i t , t h e c o l l e c t i v e s w o u l d b e r e t a i n e d t h r o u g h o u t t h e t r a n s i t i o n t o c o m m u n i s m . A t no p o i n t d i d h e e v e n m e n t i o n t h e p o s s i b i l i t y o f e v o l v i n g t o t h e commune u n i t s t h a t w e r e e x p e r i m e n t e d w i t h i n t h e S o v i e t U n i o n i n t h e p e r i o d o f War Communism, i m m e d i a t e l y f o l l o w i n g t h e r e v o l u t i o n . M o r e o v e r , h e d e n i e d t h e n e c e s s i t y t o g r a d u a l l y s w i t c h o v e r t o t h e s t a t e f a r m s y s t e m w h i c h e m b o d i e s t h e p r i n c i p l e o f o w n e r -s h i p b y t h e w h o l e p e o p l e . A n s w e r i n g t h o s e who w e r e m a i n t a i n i n g t h a t s t a t e f a r m s w e r e more a p p r o p r i a t e t h a n c o l l e c t i v e f a r m s d u r i n g t h e p e r i o d o f c o m m u n i s t c o n s t r u c t i o n , t h e S o v i e t l e a d e r a g a i n d e - e m p h a s i z e d t h e d i f f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n t h e two a n d d e c l a r e d t h a t t h e r e w a s no v i t a l n e c e s s i t y t o c h a n g e t h e r e l a t i o n s I b i d . , p . 1 2 7k of production from a c o l l e c t i v e to a state form. He argued that u n t i l the c o l l e c t i v e s had outlived their usefulness, they would be retained, and that t h i s usefulness was l i k e l y to continue into the i n d e f i n i t e future: Naturally i t i s impossible mechanically to equate the state farms and the c o l l e c t i v e farms. The state farms are state enterprises with a higher l e v e l of s o c i a l i z a t i o n and organization of production . . . . But does this mean that one form should change into another? This question could only arise under conditions where one of these forms had ex-hausted i t s p o s s i b i l i t i e s f or further development and f o r increasing production. But can i t be said that the c o l l e c t i v e farms have exhausted their p o s s i b i l i t i e s ? The experience of s o c i a l i s t production shows that both the c o l l e c t i v e farms and the state farms have inexhaustible (emphasis added) reserves f o r advancing production.20 The l a s t sentence of Khrushchev's argument i s especially s i g n i f i c a n t since i t suggests that the status quo as regards the organizational forms of socialism w i l l remain right through the period of building communism. I t i s important to note i n this regard that the Soviet leader emphasises the fact that the c o l l e c t i v e s i n their present form have v i r t u a l l y unlimited potential i n terms of production development. According to Marxist theory, the production r e l a t i o n s , or organization forms of the process of production, can only change when they have outlived t h e i r usefulness; that i s to say, when the superstructure r e s t r i c t s the further expansion of the productive forces. In other words, changes i n the Ibid., p. Ik. 75 organization of the productive forces can only occur when objective conditions demand i t ; a new economic super-structure cannot be a r b i t r a r i l y imposed. Whether or not the c o l l e c t i v e s had r e a l l y outlived their usefulness, was to become one of the key arguments i n the dispute over the introduction of the communes i n China. In t h i s speech by Khrushchev, the Soviet view was f i r m l y established: the c o l l e c t i v e s would serve for many years to come. Later, the Chinese were to argue d i f f e r e n t l y . The Development of C o l l e c t i v e Farm Theory In the following weeks a r t i c l e s by leading economists and theoreticians appeared i n Soviet newspapers, magazines and journals, further expanding the case put forward by Khrushchev at the session of the Supreme Soviet. The a r t i c l e s by comrades Leontyev, Glotov and Strumilin were of particular importance. In these a r t i c l e s , not only were Khrushchev*s p o l i c i e s given further i d e o l o g i c a l support, but also e x p l i c i t references were made to communes as a form of s o c i a l i s t organization. Thus, the Soviet attitude towards the Introduction of communes into s o c i a l i s t society was s p e c i f i c a l l y spelled out less than a month before the f i r s t experimental communes were organized by Mao Tse-tung i n Honan on A p r i l 2 0 . Leontyev*s a r t i c l e which appeared i n the A p r i l 7 edition of Pravda, the party newspaper, was e n t i t l e d "For 76 a Mighty Upsurge of the S o c i a l i s t Economy" and dealt mainly with the methods by which the c o l l e c t i v e farm economy would gradually evolve into a form more clo s e l y akin to that of the state farm, while at the same time praising the party's p o l i c i e s i n agriculture as being i d e o l o g i c a l l y correct. Can one imagine more v i v i d and so to speak, more tangible proof of the strength and v i t a l i t y of the Marxist-Leninist p r i n c i p l e s of building a s o c i a l i s t economy, p r i n c i p l e s cr e a t i v e l y applied by the Party at the present stage of the advance towards communism? . . . . In improving the methods of guiding economic construction the Communist Party i s resolutely casting aside dogmatic concepts that hamper the successful advance to communism.21 Of course, one of these basic so-called "dogmatic concepts" to which the writer was r e f e r r i n g was the thesis put forward by S t a l i n i n h i s work Ecpnomic Problems of Socialism i n the U.S.S.R., that c o l l e c t i v e farm property was already beginning to "retard the powerful development of our productive forces", and would do so increasingly as time wore on. This, of course, was the thesis p u b l i c l y proclaimed by the Chinese Communists l a t e r , i n defence of their introduction of the communes. Leontyev further developed Soviet theory regarding the development of the c o l l e c t i v e farms, and their role i n the t r a n s i t i o n to communism, arguing that: L. Leontyev, "For Mighty Upsurge of S o c i a l i s t Economy," Pravda, A p r i l . 7 , 1958; Current Digest of the Soviet Press, v o l . X, no. 15, p. 31. 77 L i f e has shown that the r a i s i n g of c o l l e c t i v e farm property to the l e v e l of property belonging to the whole people proceeds through the develop-ment, growth and increase of both state and co-operative property; moreover, th i s takes place through expansion of the sphere of commo-di t y c i r c u l a t i o n as a r e s u l t of greater marketed production by the c o l l e c t i v e farms, on the one hand, and the free sale of machinery to the c o l l e c t i v e farms on the other. It i s no longer possible to deny that the bringing of the two forms of s o c i a l i s t property closer together i s not being accompanied by a contrac-tion of the sphere of value relations but an expansion of t h i s sphere . . . . The advance of the s o c i a l i s t economy to communism i s connected with ever f u l l e r and wider use of the law of value and the value categories based on i t - prices, money, et c . 2 2 In short, by taking one step backward i d e o l o g i c a l l y , the Soviet Union would move two steps forward i n the long-term evolution to communism. The road to communism did not l i e through a structural revolution i n Soviet society, but through increased production, whence st r u c t u r a l changes would gradually and naturally evolve. It i s noteworthy that not only Stalin*s teachings on c o l l e c t i v e versus state property i s negated, but also his teaching concerning the connected matter of commodity c i r c u l a t i o n . S t a l i n had stressed i n h i s Economic Problems of Socialism that i n the future commodity c i r c u l a t i o n would gradually decrease and be replaced by direct barter and exchange. Leontyev 1s a r t i c l e argues for exactly the opposite— the increase i n commodity c i r c u l a t i o n and greater use of the Loc. c i t 78 law of value. Thus, the new Soviet l i n e embodied an almost complete reversal of the S t a l i n i s t position, and far-reaching compromises i n ideology i n order to stimulate productiveness. From a dogmatic Marxist point of view, these p o l i c i e s were ideo l o g i c a l heresy. The second of the two a r t i c l e s defining Soviet policy concerning the appropriate a g r i c u l t u r a l units i n the period of the t r a n s i t i o n to communism appeared i n the March 25 edition of the Lit e r a r y Gazette and dealt more s p e c i f i c a l l y with the commune as an alternative to the c o l l e c t i v e . The author, Academician S. Strumilin, a leading Soviet economist, makes hi s main points i n the following passage: To t h i s day we do not regard the c o l l e c t i v e farm as the highest rung of s o c i a l i s t c o l l e c t i v i z a t i o n . I t was assumed that the co l l e c t i v e farm was a stage i n the t r a n s i t i o n to the a g r i c u l t u r a l commune - i . e . the stage immediately preceding the commune. However, since the communist p r i n c i p l e of d i s t r i b u t i o n presupposes inexhaustible sources of abundance, i t would be sheer absurdity to begin applying this p r i n c i p l e with the c o l l e c t i v e farm country-side, i . e . the most backward sector of the s o c i a l i s t economy. Therefore transformation of the a r t e l into a commune has been, of course, precluded i n practice for an en t i r e l y i n d e f i n i t e period. The idea that the present-day c o l l e c t i v e farm should i n time turn into an independent producer-and-consumer commune seems to me fundamentally untenable.23 JS. Strumilin, "On the Right Track," Literary Gazette, March 25, p. 2;, Current Digest of the Soviet Press v o l . X, no. 15, p. 25. 79 He also rejected the p o s s i b i l i t y of transforming the c o l l e c t i v e s into state farms, and advocated instead a gradual evolution of the c o l l e c t i v e farms i n their present d i r e c t i o n , towards a form more similar to state farms, but not the same: It would be wrong to orient ourselves towards turning the c o l l e c t i v e farms into state farms. But to d i r e c t the development of the c o l l e c t i v e farm system towards possibly coming closer to more progressive forms of the Soviet economy, towards bringing the c o l l e c t i v e farms closer to the state farms i n the organization of labour, seems the most natural path of the c o l l e c t i v e farms 1 further development. 24-Here, the Soviet view was l a i d squarely on the l i n e , completely repudiating the idea that the commune could be introduced u n t i l abundance had been achieved, and rejecting the idea that such a form would be introduced i n the foreseeable future, even i n the Soviet Union—the most economically advanced nation i n the communist bloc. Moreover, the strength of the Soviet conviction i s c l e a r l y and e x p l i c i t l y revealed by the strong language used; the introduction of communes was completely out of the question. Moreover, the future development of the c o l l e c t i v e s was c l e a r l y l a i d out--they would come gradually closer to the state farm form, that i s to say nearer to ownership by the whole people, but would certainly not change over into communes. Ibid., p. 26. 80 The t h i r d a r t i c l e i n the series on the future of a g r i c u l t u r a l development, was probably the most s i g n i f i c a n t . It was written by I. Glotov, and appeared i n the o f f i c i a l journal of the Central Committee, Kommunist. the A p r i l edition. After dealing with Stalin's thesis that the sale of the M.T.S. assets to the c o l l e c t i v e farms would be a retro-gressive step and would only remove the Soviet Union farther from communism, Glotov turned h i s attention to the whole question of the future of the c o l l e c t i v e farms: W i l l c o l l e c t i v e farm property go through the stage of state property belonging to the whole people, or i s this stage not necessary f o r i t ? On the road to communism w i l l the c o l l e c t i v e farms i n their present form of a g r i c u l t u r a l a r t e l s grow over into communes, or i s the pro-cess of r a i s i n g c o l l e c t i v e farm property to the l e v e l of property belonging to the whole people, of communist property, not connected with a stage of the a r t e l ' s growing over into a commune? Such questions arise among many comrades. It must be said that the correct answer to these questions can be given only by l i f e i t s e l f , by the p r a c t i c a l experience of millions of Soviet men and women building communism i n i t s f u l l concreteness and a l l i t s d e t a i l s . They have never said that they would adhere once and for a l l to (any) set form methods and ways i n accomplishing the tasks of communist construction.25 This passage sets up the stage for the 'negation' of the communes as a useful form i n the task of communist I. Glotov, "Reorganization of the M.T.S. and Co l l e c -t i v e Farm Property," Kommunist. no. 5, A p r i l 1958, pp. 38-54: Current Digest of the Soviet Press, v o l . 10, no. 15, p. 22. 81 construction, and t i e s i n with Strumilin fs careful assertion that " i t was assumed (previously) that the c o l l e c t i v e farm was a stage i n the t r a n s i t i o n to the a g r i c u l t u r a l commune," implying that the assumption has now been proven f a l s e , i n the l i g h t of Soviet experience. Of course, the nature of Glotov's assertion concerning the finding of the correct i d e o l o g i c a l road only through experience i s most useful as a tool for the Soviets since i t means that they are not t i e d to unbending ideology. However, at the same time, i t does mean that the Soviet Union a r b i t r a r i l y sets i d e o l o g i c a l standards for the rest of the S o c i a l i s t countries as i t progresses ahead of the others along the communist road. And this of course, i s one of the chief sources of the f r i c t i o n i n the dispute over the communes: Soviet 'experience 1 takes precedence over the id e o l o g i c a l 'assumptions' to which the Chinese subscribe. Having cleared the way i d e o l o g i c a l l y for the need to be guided by 'experience' ( i . e . expediency) i n the process of evolving to communism, Glotov banishes the commune from id e o l o g i c a l orthodoxy: Does t h i s mean that the c o l l e c t i v e farms w i l l come to communism i n the form of a g r i c u l t u r a l a r t e l s or w i l l they grow over into communes, enterprises also based on group property, but which apply the p r i n c i p l e 'From each according to h i s a b i l i t i e s , to each according to h i s needs'? Evidently such a commune i s unlikely under socialism for the economic conditions at this stage d i f f e r from the economic conditions under communism precisely i n that they are not ripe as yet for the application of the communist p r i n c i p l e of d i s t r i b u t i o n . And under 82 communism a commune, as a c o l l e c t i v e of owners of group property, i s obviously senseless. The commune proved to be unviable at the dawn of the c o l l e c t i v e farm system. It i s also un-suitable during the period of t r a n s i t i o n from socialism to communism.26 In this short statement, Glotov rejected the commune outright, even as a unit of future communist society, thus throwing the commune concept on the Russian's i d e o l o g i c a l scrapheap. I t should be noted, too, that Glotov's i d e o l o g i c a l assertions are of such a nature as to be directed at the communist movement as a whole and not merely the Soviet Union. Here, he i s not just prescribing for the Soviet Union, but i s making id e o l o g i c a l pronouncements of a general nature, applicable to the communist movement as a whole. Since the a r t i c l e appeared i n the Central Committee's theoretical journal, i t can be safely concluded that this pronouncement concerning communes and future development of the c o l l e c t i v e farm system represented the formulation of the new party l i n e i n the aftermath of the M.T.S. debates. It i s interesting to note that although Glotov mentioned the f a c t the "commune proved to be unviable at the dawn of the c o l l e c t i v e farm system," he d i d not quote Stalin's 193*+ repudiation of the communes i n support of this case against the commune. There are two reasons f o r this anomalous situation. The f i r s t i s that the party had just finished rejecting Stalin's arguments against the transfer Ibid., p. 25. 83 of the M.T.S. equipment to the c o l l e c t i v e s , and was hardly i n a.position to use him as an id e o l o g i c a l authority In the f i e l d of agriculture. The second reason i s that while S t a l i n rejected the commune idea i n 193 k > he by no means ruled i t out i n the future. In f a c t , he f u l l y supported the notion that the c o l l e c t i v e s would evolve into communes when the time was ripe ; and h i s suggestions i n the years immediately before his death that the c o l l e c t i v e s were beginning to hamper forces of production, seemed to indicate that he thought the communes might not be fa r off. And since Glotov*s purpose was to rule out the communes altogether i d e o l o g i c a l l y , to quote S t a l i n , was to court disaster. Commenting on the prematurity and the apparent f a i l u r e of the a g r i c u l t u r a l commune, St a l i n had suggested three reasons for i t s lack of success: a shortage of products, a too-low l e v e l of technology, and an egalitarianism forced on the communes by scarci t y . The present a g r i c u l t u r a l commune arose on the basis of an underdeveloped technology and a shortage of products. This r e a l l y explains why i t practiced egalitarianism and showed l i t t l e concern for the in d i v i d u a l , everyday interest of i t s members—as a r e s u l t of which i t i s now being compelled to assume the status of the a r t e l , i n which the in d i v i d u a l and the public interest of the c o l l e c t i v e farmers are nationally combined . . . . Practice has shown that the communes would cer t a i n l y have been doomed had they not abandoned egalitarianism. 27 J. S t a l i n , Report to the Seventeenth Congress of the C.P.S.U. (TO (Moscow, F.L.P.H. , 195D, p. 98. 8k This l a s t statement was to be a foreshadowing of events i n People's China more than twenty-five years l a t e r . Moreover, i t was this assertion, along with the formulated prerequisites for the implementation of the commune outlined by S t a l i n , that prevented the Chinese too from mobilizing Stalin's works i n support of their commune program. This explains why S t a l i n was never referred to for support by either side i n the controversy over the communes. Outlining the s p e c i f i c conditions under which the commune as a s o c i a l unit could arise i n S o c i a l i s t society, S t a l i n had asserted i n h i s 17th Congress speech, that: The future commune w i l l arise on the basis of a more developed technology and of a more developed a r t e l , on the basis of an abundance of products. When w i l l that be? Not soon of course. But i t w i l l be. I t would be criminal to accelerate a r t i f i c i a l l y the process of t r a n s i t i o n from the a r t e l to the future commune. That would only confuse the whole issue and would f a c i l i t a t e the work of our enemies. The t r a n s i -tion from the a r t e l to the future commune must proceed gradually, to the extent that a l l the c o l l e c t i v e farmers become convinced that such a t r a n s i t i o n i s necessary.28 Clearly, the Chinese communists could not hope to claim i n 1958 that they had f u l f i l l e d Stalin's conditions. Even with the bumper harvest of that year, China s t i l l remained i n the same conditions of poverty that characterized the Soviet Union at the time the a g r i c u l t u r a l communes were disbanded there. Thus, by introducing the communes into the Ibid., p. 97. 85 Chinese s o c i a l system, the Chinese found themselves i n the position of f l y i n g i n the face of, not only the contemporary Soviet leaders, but also of Joseph S t a l i n , the man who seemingly claimed so much of Mao's id e o l o g i c a l allegiance and respect. Nevertheless, the Chinese communists, apparently oblivious to these considerations, I n i t i a t e d the f i r s t experimental communes i n mid-April i n Honan, with a view to advancing the revolution i n China to yet another stage. CHAPTER IV THE UNVEILING OF THE COMMUNES: SINO-SOVIET CONFRONTATION The Chinese Party Congress The most important event i n the month following the establishment of the f i r s t experimental communes i n Honan was the meeting of the 8th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party which had l a s t met i n October 195°. At the 1956 session, representatives of f r a t e r n a l parties from nearly every country i n the world were i n v i t e d to attend the proceedings, and were even i n v i t e d to address the Congress. It was here for instance that Anastas Mikoyan made an important speech regarding Soviet aid to China and a number of other aspects of Sino-Soviet r e l a t i o n s . But, s i g n i f i c a n t l y , at the 1958 Congress no outside observers were i n v i t e d to attend the sessions and to record the deliberations. Even i n the Soviet Union, the only reports of the Congress were those issued by the New China News Agency. Evidently, not even the Soviet Union had been in v i t e d to be represented at the Congress" closed sessions. C l e a r l y t h i s curtain of secrecy which was drawn over the proceedings of the Congress was not without purpose, and strongly suggested that the communes were among the things discussed behind closed doors. It i s interesting i n this regard that although Mao Tse-tung addressed the Congress, his speech was not published along with those of Liu Shao-chi and Tan Chen-lin. 87 It would appear l i k e l y that Mao dealt at some length with the communes i n his address, since the experiment had been underway fo r several weeks, and Mao had only just returned from h i s month i n various provinces overseeing t h e i r i n i t i a t i o n . It i s interesting to note that nowhere i n the report of the Central Committee to the Congress was there any direct mention of the communes (indeed i t should be remembered that the name 'commune' was not applied by the Central Committee u n t i l a month l a t e r ) . Nor was there any indication i n the speech by Tan Chen-lin on the National Program For A g r i c u l t u r a l Development, that a revolutionary new movement was underway i n certain r u r a l areas. A number of important i d e o l o g i c a l and domestic policy points were made i n these speeches, however, and a number of oblique references made, which i n the l i g h t of subsequent events, can be seen as pertaining to the impending introduction of the communes on a nationwide scale. Moreover, the i d e o l o g i c a l foundation was l a i d for substantiating the Party's new policy of leaping forward i n economic construction and for the coming f u l l - f l e d g e d dispute over the communes. Perhaps the most important p r i n c i p l e l a i d down at the Congress was the p r i n c i p l e of "uninterrupted revolution", which l a i d the i d e o l o g i c a l foundation for both the economic leap forward, and more d i r e c t l y , the people's commune. Liu Shao-chi expressed the concept i n these words: 88 Marx, Engels and Lenin often pointed out that the watchword of the working class should be "uninterrupted r e v o l u t i o n 1 . In putting forward new revolutionary tasks i n good times, so that there i s no halfway h a l t i n the revolutionary advance of the people, the revolutionary fervour of the masses w i l l not subside with interruptions of the revolution, and Party and state func-tionaries w i l l not rest content with the successes won and grow arrogant or apathetic, the Central Committee of the Communist Party and Comrade Mao Tse-tung have always guided the Chinese revolution by thi s Marxist-Leninist theory of uninterrupted r e v o l u t i o n . ! This was the f i r s t time that Mao Tse-tung*s theory of 1uninterrupted r e v o l u t i o n 1 had been p u b l i c l y expressed, indicating that i t was meant to set the theoreti c a l founda-tion for the r a d i c a l p o l icy changes that were being introduced. In the following months, the theory was to form the theoretical core of the Chinese dialogue with their Soviet comrades. In actual f a c t , although Liu claimed the pr i n c i p l e to have been advanced by the fathers of communism, lat e r i t was claimed to be a "creative addition to Marxist-Leninism". It i s true that Marx, Engels and Lenin advocated uninterrupted revolution but not exactly i n the sense that Mao was seeking to use i t . They had used the concept to apply to the period of revolution i n a country before the working class (the communist party) seized power, and to the period of t r a n s i t i o n from bourgeois revolution to s o c i a l i s t L i u Shao-chi, "Report on the Work of the Central Committee," Second Session of the Eighth National Congress of the Communist Party of China (Peking, F.L.P., 1 9 5 8 ) , P. 3 9 . 89 r e v o l u t i o n , w h i l e Mao was e x t e n d i n g t h i s c o n c e p t t o i n c l u d e t h e a d v a n c e of s o c i e t y f r o m s o c i a l i s m t o t h e c o m m u n i s t Utopia. I t i s l i k e l y n o c o i n c i d e n c e t h a t Mao h a d f o r m u l a t e d t h i s p r i n c i p l e i n t h e m o n t h s f o l l o w i n g h i s v i s i t t o t h e S o v i e t U n i o n f o r t h e M o s c o w c o n f e r e n c e . I t w o u l d seem c l e a r f r o m l a t e r C h i n e s e c h a r g e s o f R u s s i a n " c o n v e r s a t i s m " t h a t Mao h a d b e e n i m p r e s s e d b y t h e i n c r e a s i n g " b o u r g e o i s i z a t i o n " o f l i f e i n t h e S o v i e t U n i o n d u r i n g h i s v i s i t t h e r e a n d h a d become c o n v i n c e d t h a t t h e " m o d e r n r e v i s i o n i s t s " w e r e b r i n g i n g t h e S o v i e t r e v o l u t i o n t o a h a l t i n t h e d o m e s t i c a r e n a ; t h a t t h e a d v a n c e t o w a r d s communism i n a n o n - m a t e r i a l s e n s e w a s n o n - e x i s t e n t . The m e s s a g e b e h i n d M a o ' s new p r i n c i p l e was c l e a r : t h e P a r t y mus t move t h e n a t i o n i n t o t h e n e x t s t a g e o f c o m m u n i s t d e v e l o p m e n t . H i n t i n g t h a t b i g c h a n g e s w e r e due i n t h e m a k e - u p o f C h i n e s e s o c i e t y , L i u S h a o - c h i d e c l a r e d : The f a c t i s t h a t t h e g r o w t h o f t h e s o c i a l p r o d u c t i v e f o r c e s c a l l s f o r a s o c i a l i s t r e v o l u t i o n a n d t h e s p i r i t u a l e m a n c i p a t i o n o f t h e p e o p l e ; t h e v i c t o r y o f t h e r e v o l u t i o n a n d e m a n c i p a t i o n i n t u r n s p u r s a l e a p f o r w a r d i n t h e s o c i a l p r o d u c t i v e f o r c e s ; a n d t h i s i n t u r n i m p e l s a p r o g r e s s i v e c h a n g e i n t h e s o c i a l i s t r e l a t i o n s o f p r o d u c t i o n a n d a n a d v a n c e i n m a n ' s i d e o l o g y . I n t h e i r c e a s e l e s s s t r u g g l e t o t r a n s -f o r m n a t u r e , t h e p e o p l e a r e c o n t i n u o u s l y t r a n s f o r m i n g s o c i e t y a n d t h e m s e l v e s . 2 2 I b i d . , p . 32. 90 Since a so-called leap forward in production had already occurred over the winter and spring months, the Chinese leaders were already in an ideologically consistent position to argue for a change in production relations. Calling for a revolutionary upsurge in building socialism, Liu noted that already Chinese society was in revolutionary ferment: In city and countryside people vie with each other to join in a l l kinds of voluntary labour. In building Irrigation works the peasants in many places have thrown aside the age-old narrow-minded idea of only looking after their native places . . . . Many enter-prises, organizations, schools, army units and individuals have taken the initiative in co-ordinating their activities with those of others so as to promote the progress of a l l concerned. Al l this i s , as Lenin said, the actual beginning of communism, the beginning of a change which is of world historic significance!3 As a corollary to the 'permanent revolution* formula, Liu put forward the party's general line for socialist construction: of achieving "greater, faster, better and more economical results," which had been passed by the Central Committee the previous September. The communes were later said to have resulted from this ordered speed up in the tempo of construction since new organizational forms were needed to make better use of rural labour. Thus, Liu's arguments supporting the increase in" tempo can also be seen as arguments supporting the necessity of introducing the communes. He asserts that: Ibid., p. 2 8 . 91 Some people do not recognize the importance of increasing the speed of construction . . . . Some say that speeding up construction makes people f e e l 'tense', and so i t ' s better to slow down the tempo. But are things not going to get tense i f the speed of construction i s slowed down? Surely one should be able to see that a r e a l l y t e r r i b l y tense sit u a t i o n would exist i f more than 600 m i l l i o n people had to l i v e i n poverty and c u l t u r a l backward-ness for a prolonged period, had to exert their utmost ef f o r t s just to eke out a bare l i v i n g , and were unable to r e s i s t natural calamities e f f e c t i v e l y , unable to put a quick stop to possible foreign aggression and ut t e r l y unable to master their own fate.*+ Quite c l e a r l y , h i s argument i s that i f substantial progress i s not made by the regime i n a f a i r l y short time, peasant unrest might possibly become widespread and threaten i t s existence. The experience of 1957, e s p e c i a l l y during the Hundred Flowers period, had shown the party quite c l e a r l y and unmistakenly that a l o t of resentment and unrest lay beneath the surface of the society which would spring to the fore as soon as conditions were rig h t . During the f i r s t f i v e year plan, a g r i c u l t u r a l production had increased by less than % per year, hardly keeping ahead of population growth—in order to j u s t i f y the peasants' s a c r i f i c e s i n terms of increased work and regimentation, the party would have to step up production and produce more r e s u l t s . The alternative, implied L i u Shao-chi, was to r i s k peasant up-r i s i n g s such as those of a minor nature, which occurred i n some areas i n 1957* Ibid., p. kh. The t h i r d major proposal made by Li u was that Industry should be decentralized and placed under l o c a l control i n order to increase l o c a l i n i t i a t i v e and increase output. This move was an important one i n the move towards the communes, since one of the outstanding features of the communes was to be that they combined both industry and agriculture, and became the basic administrative as well as the basic s o c i a l and economic units of Chinese society. Thus, the Party Congress, which met for nearly three weeks, while not p u b l i c l y Issuing any statement concerning the commune experiment, did lay the theoreti c a l and i d e o l o g i c a l foundation f o r their introduction, and provided the opening challenge to the Soviet policy of gradualism and conservatism i n agriculture and ideology. On June 1, an a r t i c l e appeared i n Red Flag under the authorship of Mao Tse-tung, and called "Introducing a Co-operative". Here Mao made h i s famous assertion that: Apart from their other c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , China's 600 m i l l i o n people are: f i r s t of a l l poor and second "blank". This seems l i k e a bad thing, but i n fact i t ' s a good thing. Poor people want change, want to do things, want revolution. A clean sheet of paper has nothing on i t , so that the newest and most beautiful words can be written and the newest and most beautiful pictures painted on i t . 5 e. yMao Tse-tung, "Introducing a Co-operative," Red Flag. no. 1, 1958; Peking Review, no. 15, 1958, p. 6. 93 Moreover, he went on, "throughout the country the communist s p i r i t i s surging forward." However, no e x p l i c i t reference to the experiments i n Honan was made, even though In re t r o -spect i t can be seen that Mao obviously had the communes i n mind when he made these remarks. Khrushchev at the Bulgarian Party Congress A few days l a t e r , at the Bulgarian party congress, i t was the Soviet leader's turn to state h i s views. His opening remarks were c l e a r l y intended for the Chinese, suggesting that they should co-operate i n the Soviet plan for economic integration of the bloc. (A conference of bloc members had met a few weeks previously and was scheduled to discuss this matter again within another few weeks.) Soviet distress over the Chinese determination to build an independent economy was evident, and i t i s clear that part of the dismay over the Chinese leap forward and the communes stemmed from the fact that these moves were related to the Chinese drive fo r economic independence. In h i s speech, Khrushchev told his audience that: It goes without saying that each s o c i a l i s t country decides independently on i t s forms of co-operation with the other s o c i a l i s t countries. There i s not and cannot be any pressure whatsoever i n this respect.° How-ever, could the r i c h opportunities of the s o c i a l i s t countries be exploited to the f u l l i f each country acted i n i s o l a t i o n This statement would suggest that pressure had indeed been applied on the Chinese—perhaps i n the form of withholding economic assistance. 9 k stewed i n i t s own juice as the saying goes? If the s o c i a l i s t countries were to act at cross purposes, could a r e l i a b l e defence of the gains of socialism be assured under present international conditions? Of course not . . . . Only the s o l i d a r i t y of the s o c i a l i s t countries and the strengthening of all-round co-operation and f r a t e r n a l a id can assure a general increase i n the s o c i a l i s t economy and the advancing of the formerly underdeveloped countries to the l e v e l of the advanced.7 The attempt by the Soviet Union to coerce and persuade the Chinese to enter the Soviet economic orbit had met with no success at the May COMECON meeting i n Moscow, and this should be borne i n mind as a contributing factor to the subsequent commune controversy. In the same speech Khrushchev also made a number of apparently favourable references to the creative ideology of the Chinese party. In a h i s t o r i c a l perspective, these can now be seen as a kind of left-handed compliment, stressing the correctness of the p o l i c i e s the Chinese had followed i n c o l l e c t i v i z a t i o n , and leaving implied the suggestion that to make a r a d i c a l policy switch would be wrong. Thus Khrushchev asserted that: The Chinese Communist Party and the other f r a t e r n a l parties of the people's demo-cracies have , . . found unique forms for applying the Leninist cooperative plan i n practice (referring to mutual aid teams 'N. S. Khrushchev, "Speech at the Seventh Congress of the Bulgarian Communist Party," Pravda, June *+, 1958, pp. 1-3; Current Digest of the Soviet Press, v o l . 10, no. 22, p. 8. 95 and other innovations), China has masterfully combined the general truth of Marxist-Leninism with the concrete practice of revolution and s o c i a l i s t construction i n i t s country.° Yet he took pains to stress very c l e a r l y that "the experience of your (Bulgarian) party confirms once again that whatever the national features, there i s no other way to e n l i s t the broad peasant masses i n socialism except by the tested Leninist cooperative plan." Here he e x p l i c i t l y countered the Chinese argument that the communes were a product of national p e c u l i a r i t i e s . His statement i s such as to reassert the essence of Glotov's a r t i c l e — t h a t the path to communism charted by the CPSU i n the l i g h t of Soviet experience did not just apply to the Soviet Union, but had the force of Marxist dogma, binding on a l l . Doubtless these words by the Soviet leader were i n the nature of a warning to the Chinese not to proceed with their experiments, but to remain true to the "Leninist cooperative plan", and were designed to show Soviet d i s -pleasure at the developments i n China i n recent months, without e x p l i c i t l y and openly referring to the commune experi-ments. However, before the month was over the Chinese Party's P o l i t i b u r o had committed i t s e l f even deeper, Ideologically, to a departure from the Soviet l i n e . It was hoc.cit 96 i n June that the decision was made to adopt the name "people's communes" for Mao's r u r a l creations. The significance of t h i s move cannot be overestimated, since to apply the word 'commune' s i g n i f i e d a deliberate move on the part of the Chinese to challenge the Soviet Union i d e o l o g i c a l l y . The communes could just as well have been called "Higher Stage C o l l e c t i v e s " by the Chinese, and much of the c o n f l i c t would have been averted. But the naming of these new units as communes s i g n i f i e d (a) that the Chinese did not adhere to the CPSU's re v i s i o n of Marxist theory to exclude the commune as the f i n a l stage of the a g r i c u l t u r a l revolution, nor i t s formula revising the notion of the nature of the t r a n s i t i o n of s o c i a l i s t society to communism, and (b) that the Chinese were claiming to be moving one step ahead of the Soviet Union on the road to the communist Utopia. In short i t s i g n i f i e d a d i r e c t challenge to Soviet ideological leadership and to the U.S.S.R.'s position as the leading s o c i a l i s t state. The decision had c l e a r l y been made to d i r e c t l y oppose the l i n e set down by the CPSU only two months before; and to assert i d e o l o g i c a l independence. Public Unveiling of the 'People's Communes' On July 1, an a r t i c l e by Politburo member Chen Po-ta i n Red Flag f i n a l l y revealed p u b l i c l y the term 'people's commune*, applying i t to describe the Hsukuang No. 1 Co-operative i n Hupeh (where Mao had also spent a good deal of time i n Ap r i l ) which had been publicized previously i n Red 97 Flag as a new type of cooperative. According to Chen, th i s new people's commune was an example of what Mao was talking about when he said that the "poor and blank" Chinese people were "painting the newest and most beautiful pictures" on a clean sheet of paper. Exhalting this brand new Chinese c r e a t i o n — t h e people's commune--Chen Po-ta declared that i t would enable the Chinese to r e a l i z e a l l the prerequisites to communism i n record time: Can i t be said that what th i s cooperative i s doing i s actually an indicati o n that our country can develop the productive forces of societyat a rate unknown i n history, can quickly eliminate the d i s t i n c t i o n between industry and agriculture, and the d i s t i n c t i o n between mental and manual labour, thereby to open a road on which our country can smoothly pass over from socialism to communism'? I think i t can be said.9 Referring to the prerequisites to, and prin c i p l e s of, communist society l a i d down by Engels, theoretician Chen Po-ta openly proclaimed that the new people's commune, such as the one under discussion, " i s concretely and gradually re a l i z i n g such an i d e a l of the founders of s c i e n t i f i c communism." Two weeks la t e r i n the same Party journal, the Red Flag editor, Chen Po-ta discussed the communes i n greater d e t a i l , and attributed them d i r e c t l y to the creative mind of Mao Tse-tung. He suggested that this new creation of the ^Chen Po-ta, "New Society, New People," Red Flag. July 1, 1958; Current Background, no. 517, p. 98 Chinese leader was completely consistent with Marxist-Leninism since Marx and Engels had only set out the p r i n c i p l e s to be followed and had not set down "a prescription for each nation." Moreover, he noted that Lenin had remarked that Eastern countries had conditions which d i f f e r e d greatly from those i n Europe, and that therefore d i f f e r e n t forms could be expected. Here, of course, i s a clear i n d i c a t i o n that the Chinese leaders were very much aware that the commune was a deviation from the Soviet path, and were already defending their deviation on the grounds that d i f f e r e n t conditions demanded di f f e r e n t solutions. In the course of the a r t i c l e , Chen also eulogized Mao as an outstanding theoretician of Marxist-Leninism, thus i n f l a t i n g Mao's stature as a source of do c t r i n a l interpretation, and at the same time giving the communes added id e o l o g i c a l orthodoxy. Chen noted that: Comrade Mao Tse-tung said that we should steadily and systematically organize industry, agriculture, commerce, education, and soldiers (people's armed forces) into a big commune, thereby to form the basic units of society . . . . This conception of the commune i s a conclusion drawn by Comrade Mao Tse-tung from r e a l i s t i c l i f e . 1 0 According to Chen, Mao's concept of the commune was that industry, agriculture and commerce would provide the material l i f e of the members; culture and education would be deployed to s a t i s f y their s p i r i t u a l requirements and the armed forces Chen Po-ta, "Under the Banner of Comrade Mao Tse-tung," Red Flag, no. k. July 1 6 , 1958; Survey of the Chinese Mainland Press, no. I38. 99 would protect the members u n t i l such time as "exploitation of man by man i n the world" i s eliminated. Confrontation Over the Communes: July 1958 Thus, with both sides having taken stands over the communes, the stage was set for a confrontation between Khrushchev and Mao—and the chance soon came. At the end of July, Khrushchev made an unexpected, secret t r i p to Peking, ostensibly to discuss the Middle East c r i s i s with Mao, and to have consultations over the building tension of the Formosa S t r a i t s . The communique issued after the meeting contained no reference to anything but foreign policy, but subsequent disclosures by the Soviet party have confirmed that the Chinese commune policy came under f i r e and was o f f i c i a l l y and personally discouraged by Khrushchev. In i t s l e t t e r of September 2 1 , 1963 to the Chinese government, the Soviet government revealed the nature of Khrushchev's misgivings concerning the communes: Precisely because the interests of the Chinese people are dear to us, we were upset by the turn which became apparent i n the development of the Chinese national economy i n 1 9 5 8 , when the leaders of the People's Republic of China proclaimed their l i n e of the "Three Red Banners", announced the "Great Leap", and began setting up the People's Communes. Our party saw that this was a road of dangerous experiments, a road of disregard for economic laws, and for the experience "of other s o c i a l i s t States . . . . We could not f a i l to f e e l alarmed when, with every step they took, the leaders of the People's Republic of China began to pour abuse on the Leninist p r i n c i p l e 100 of material Incentive, abandoned the p r i n c i p l e of remunerating labour, and went over to ,, eg a l i t a r i a n d i s t r i b u t i o n i n People's Communes. Thus the communes were regarded, even i n their experimental stage, as being "dangerous experiments", involving a negation of material incentive and an undue emphasis on egalitarianism. It w i l l be remembered that i t was exactly for these l a t t e r "heresies" that S t a l i n abandoned and v i l i f i e d the premature Soviet communes of the 1920's. The Soviet party also emphasized that the Chinese communes represented a blatant disregard for t h i s Soviet experience with communes, and stressed that the Chinese communes were a deviation from the cooperative plan l a i d down by Lenin. Recalling Khrushchev's 1958 confrontation with Mao on the commune question, the 1963 Soviet l e t t e r summed up the conversation as follows: We regarded i t as our duty to t e l l the Chinese leaders i n a comradely way as early as 1958 about our doubts concerning such 'innovations'. This was said personally by Nikita Khrushchev to Mao Tse-tung i n the summer of 1958. The head of the Soviet government pointed out that many things which the Chinese comrades regarded as the very l a t e s t i n Marxist-Leninism, as a method of speeding up the building of communism, had already been t r i e d out i n practice by our own people during the f i r s t years of the revolu-tion. In our day, we learned that such a form of organizing peasant production did not j u s t i f y i t s e l f f o r many reasons. Our party accomplished Soviet Government, A Reply to Peking (London, Soviet Booklets, 1963), p. 12. 1 0 1 t h e t a s k o f t h e s o c i a l i s t t r a n s f o r m a t i o n o f a g r i c u l t u r e on t h e b a s i s o f L e n i n ' s c o o p e r a -t i v e p l a n . 1 2 One o f t h e i m p o r t a n t t h i n g s t o be b o r n e i n m i n d c o n c e r n i n g t h i s a d m o n i t i o n b y K h r u s h c h e v , a n d h i s c h a r g e s a g a i n s t t h e communes , i s t h a t M a r s h a l P e n g T e h - h u a i w a s a member o f t h e C h i n e s e d e l e g a t i o n a t t h e s e t a l k s , and so w a s w i t n e s s t o K h r u s h c h e v ' s d i s p l a y o f d i s p l e a s u r e . M a r s h a l P e n g l a t e r became i n t i m a t e l y i n v o l v e d i n I n t e r n a l p a r t y o p p o s i t i o n t o t h e communes. A t t h e t i m e , h o w e v e r : The C h i n e s e l e a d e r s t u r n e d a d e a f e a r t o o u r c o n s i d e r a t i o n s a n d d i d n o t t a k e i n t o a c c o u n t t h e e x p e r i e n c e o f o u r p a r t y a n d s t a t e . M o r e -o v e r , p e o p l e i n C h i n a b e g a n t o c a l l us c o n s e r -v a t i v e s , b e l i e v i n g t h a t t h e " g r e a t l e a p " a n d t h e P e o p l e ' s Communes w o u l d p e r m i t t h e P e o p l e ' s R e p u b l i c t o s k i p a w h o l e s t a g e i n t h e b u i l d i n g o f a new s o c i e t y a n d go o v e r t o communism s t r a i g h t a w a y . 13 Thus t h e C h i n e s e l e a d e r s h i p r e j e c t e d K h r u s h c h e v ' s w a r n i n g s and d e c i d e d t o p r o c e e d f u l l s p e e d a h e a d w i t h t h e i r r a d i c a l new commune p o l i c i e s , come w h a t may . M o r e o v e r , t h e c h a r g e a g a i n s t t h e S o v i e t U n i o n o f ' c o n s e r v a t i s m * o p e n e d up a new p h a s e i n t h e d i s p u t e i n w h i c h R u s s i a n d o m e s t i c p o l i c i e s w e r e o p e n l y q u e s t i o n e d a s t o r e v o l u t i o n a r y c o n t e n t . Commune U p s u r g e : A u g u s t 1958 I m m e d i a t e l y a f t e r h i s m e e t i n g w i t h K h r u s h c h e v — t h e v e r y n e x t d a y i n f a c t — M a o T s e - t u n g s e t o u t on a t o u r o f I b i d . , p . 1 3 . L o c . c i t . 102 Hopei, Honan and Shantung to inspect the communes established i n those provinces. I t i s almost certain that the purpose of this t r i p was to check up on the progress of the communes before the order was given to give the commune program o f f i c i a l public party support. During this tour, the Communist leader, defying the warnings of Khrushchev and the Soviet party, gave instructions to l o c a l o f f i c i a l s and cadres to proceed f u l l speed ahead with the communes through-out the r u r a l area: On h i s inspection tour to Hopei, Honan and Shantung early i n August this year, Comrade Mao Tse-tung gave further instructions on the organization of the People's Communes, saying 'It i s better to run people's communes. Their advantages l i e i n that they can merge industry, agriculture, trade, culture and education, and m i l i t a r y a f f a i r s into one entity and make i t easier for leadership.' This was a s t i l l greater enlightenment and i n s p i r a t i o n to the Honan people. An upsurge i n forming people's communes thus spread throughout the province.Ik In the Soviet Union, during Mao's tour of the countryside, a r t i c l e s dealing with Chinese agriculture stressed that the harvest successes were due to the Chinese following Lenin's cooperative plan and the experience of the Soviet Union, and ignored completely the s t i l l - u n o f f i c i a l commune movement. On August 5» for instance, while Mao was i n Hopei, Wu Chih-pu, "From A.P.C.'s to People's Communes", Red Flap., no. 8, September 16, 1958; People's Communes i n China. (Peking, F.L.P., 1958), p. 3 K . 103 an a r t i c l e appeared i n V pomoshch* politischeskomu soobrazovaniuy. a CPSU Central Committee journal, lauding the Chinese successes i n the construction of socialism and Chinese c r e a t i v i t y i n applying the general tenets of Marxist-Leninism to the concrete conditions i n China. However, the a r t i c l e also stressed that the best C.P.C. cadres had explained to the peasantry "the experience of c o l l e c t i v i z a -tion and the successes of the kolkhoz regime i n the U. S. S.R.. And of course the Soviet experience included f a i l u r e of the commune. It i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of these a r t i c l e s i n Soviet publications that the "correctness" of the cooperative path rather than the incorrectness of the commune path i s stressed, thus c r i t i c i s i n g by implication rather than by s p e c i f i c reference. On August 18, Pravda published an e d i t o r i a l ( s i g n i f i c a n t l y , i . e . rather than a news report) concerning the successes of the Chinese harvest, noting that "this year, China w i l l surpass the U.S.A. i n gross output of wheat by at least two m i l l i o n tons, and this i s not a l i m i t . In their recent meetings with Chairman Mao, the Chinese peasants spoke with enthusiasm about the great p o s s i b i l i t i e s inherent i n the cooperative system. Here the Soviets make i t very p l a i n that Khrushchev's assertion that the cooperatives i n the Soviet Union had unlimited production potential, also applied very d e f i n i t e l y to China. Before, i t had been implied; •^Cited l n D > 5 . zagoria, The Sino-Soviet C o n f l i c t (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1962), p. 95. Loc. c i t . (*the emphasis i s added). 10k now i t was e x p l i c i t . Thus, while the Chinese were claiming that the co-ops were hampering production and made a new form of r u r a l unit necessary, the CPSU was claiming just the opposite. It i s indeed s i g n i f i c a n t , and also i r o n i c , that the e d i t o r i a l i n Pravda was stressing the peasant support for the cooperative plan by reference to peasant reaction to Mao*s v i s i t s with them on h i s commune tour. There i s thus an implication i n the e d i t o r i a l , that not only i s Mao contravening Marxist theory with h i s commune experi-ments, but also the opinions of the "masses". And one of the fundamental arguments of Mao i n support of the communes was that they were the "creation of the masses", and were i n s t i t u t e d at their demand. The e d i t o r i a l was thus a two-pronged blow. Despite Soviet reaction, however, Mao made the decision to extend the experimental communes throughout the whole nation and make them the basic unit of Chinese society. i CHAPTER V THE COMMUNE RESOLUTION AND SOVIET REACTION In the l a t t e r part of August, the Chinese Party's Politburo met to give formal approval to the extension of the communes to the entire nation. The decision was embodied i n the h i s t o r i c August 29th Resolution "On The Establishment of People's Communes i n the Rural Areas", published on September 10. This resolution s i g n i f i e d the beginning of the formal i d e o l o g i c a l claims for the communes, and probably was the most s i g n i f i c a n t departure point i n the whole commune controversy. The resolution has two main elements: one describing the process and particulars of setting up communes throughout the country, and the other intermingled, providing the ideolo g i c a l rationale and claims for the communes. As fa r as the commune dispute i s concerned, the l a t t e r i s , of course, by far the most important. Providing the arguments to show that the communes were not a r b i t r a r i l y introduced but arose out of existing objective conditions that made the previous co-ops obsolete (and therefore f u l f i l l i n g the condition imposed by Marxist h i s t o r i c a l materialism), the resolution stated that: the people's communes are the l o g i c a l r e s u l t of the march of events . . . . "The basis for the leap forward i n China's a g r i c u l t u r a l production, and the ever-rising p o l i t i c a l consciousness of the 500 m i l l i o n peasants. An unprecedented ad-vance has been made i n ag r i c u l t u r a l c a p i t a l 106 construction since the advocates of the c a p i t a l i s t road were fundamentally defeated economically, p o l i t i c a l l y , i d e o l o g i c a l l y ( i . e . 1957 a n t i - r i g h t i s t campaign). This has created a new basis f o r p r a c t i c a l l y eliminating flood and drought, and for ensuring the comparatively stable advance of a g r i c u l t u r a l production . . . . Capital construc-tion i n agriculture and the struggle f o r bumper harvests involve large-scale co-operation which cuts across the boundaries between co-operatives, townships and counties. The people have taken to organizing themselves along m i l i t a r y l i n e s , working with militancy, leading c o l l e c t i v e l i f e , and this has raised the p o l i t i c a l consciousness of the 500 m i l l i o n peasants s t i l l further . . . . What a l l these things i l l u s t r a t e i s that the a g r i c u l t u r a l co-operative with scores of families or several hundred families can-no longer meet the needs of the changing situation. In the present circumstances the establishment of people's communes . . . i s the fundamental p o l i c y to guide the peasants to accelerate s o c i a l i s t construction, complete the building of socialism ahead of time and carry out the gradual t r a n s i t i o n to communism. These, then, were the basic arguments presented by the Chinese to show that objective conditions demanded the introduction of the communes. "In such circumstances, the people's communes were born just as 'an I r r i g a t i o n canal forms as the water comes' or 'a melon drops from i t s stalk when i t o ripens'." This was, of course, one of the central points at issue i n the commune dispute; the Russians claiming (as did ^"Resolution on The Establishment of People's Communes In The Rural Areas," People's Communes i n China (Peking, F.L.P., 1958), p. 1, Lin Tieh (1st Secretary of Hope! Provincial Committee), "The People's Commune Movement i n Hopei," Red Flag, no. 9, October 1, 1958; Ibid. , p. 1+9. 107 a faction of the C.P.C.) that the communes were introduced prematurely, before the objective conditions were r i p e , and therefore that the communes had been 'imposed* from the top, contrary to the dictates of Marxist-Leninism and h i s t o r i c a l materialism. The commune resolution also defined the nature of the new s o c i a l unit and showed where i t d i f f e r e d from the co-ops. Quoting Chairman Mao, Wu Chih-pu l a t e r stated that the commune i s distinguished by two chief c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s : i t s bigger si z e , and i t s more s o c i a l i s t i c nature. By 'bigger si z e * , i t was explained, two things were meant: one, that the communes were physically larger by at least ten times than the cooperatives, and were "much more powerful i n terms of manpower, land, f i n a n c i a l resources, and material strength." 3 Secondly, "bigger si z e " meant that the communes had a much wider range of a c t i v i t i e s than the co-op: "It i s no longer an organization dealing with agriculture alone, but a s o c i a l unit that has as i t s task the ov e r a l l develop-ment of agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry, side occupations and fis h e r y , and that integrates industry, agriculture, trade, culture and education, and mi l i t a r y a f f a i r s into a single whole." The commune also took over the role of l o c a l government, thus making i t "at once a k basic s o c i a l unit and a basic organ of state power." Chih-pu, "From A.P.C.*s to People's Communes," Red Flag, no. 8, September 16, 1958; Ibid., p. 35. **Ibid. , p. 36. 108 By "more s o c i a l i s t nature" was meant that the commune was "the best form or organization for effecting the t r a n s i -tion from c o l l e c t i v e ownership to ownership by the whole people, and that i t contains the budding of communism." In the spring, Soviet theoreticians had indicated that the road to communism included a gradual evolution of the c o l l e c t i v e s towards a form similar to the state farm. However, the commune resolution indicated that t h i s was not to occur i n China since the communes with their wide scope of a c t i v i t y were fundamentally d i f f e r e n t to the state farms. Thus, the politburo indicated that: a l l the big merged cooperatives w i l l be called, people's communes. There i s no need to change them into state farms, for i t i s not proper for farms to embrace industry, agriculture, exchange, culture and education and m i l i t a r y a f f a i r s at the same time.5 It should be remembered that the CPSU had also ruled out the state farm as the ultimate unit, but for dif f e r e n t reasons. In ef f e c t , the Russians had committed themselves to the cooperative as the most suitable unit i n s o c i a l i s t society, and i n the t r a n s i t i o n to communism, while the Chinese rejected i t , and substituted the commune i n i t s place. The Chinese claimed that although the commune i n i t s i n i t i a l form was s t i l l based on c o l l e c t i v e ownership, i t '"Resolution on the Establishment of People's Communes i n Rural Areas," Ibid., p. 6. 109 •would soon evolve to the higher state-ownership by the whole people: In f a c t , c o l l e c t i v e ownership i n the people*s communes already contains some elements of ownership by the people as a whole. These elements w i l l grow constantly i n the course of the continuous development of the people's communes and w i l l gradually replace c o l l e c t i v e ownership.6 This assertion i s r e a l l y , of course, not too di f f e r e n t from those made by the Soviet theoreticians some months e a r l i e r i n regard to the evolution of the c o l l e c t i v e s to th i s higher form of ownership, and therefore, by i t s e l f , didn't represent a challenge to Soviet leadership. However, the resolution also contained a time-table for the changeover to ownership by the whole people, which the Soviets had not fixed. Thus, while the CPSU had assigned the changeover to some in d e f i n i t e future, the Chinese were claiming that the process would be completed within a few years: "The t r a n s i -tion from c o l l e c t i v e ownership to ownership by the whole people i s a process, the completion of which may take less time—three or four y e a r s — i n some places and l o n g e r — f i v e 6a or six years or even longer--elsewhere." This declaration did signify a dire c t challenge to the CPSU since i t meant that the Chinese were attempting to achieve a higher form of s o c i a l i s t ownership (the Russians had conceded this i n the spring) throughout society before the Russians. In short, 6Jj2id. , p. 7. 6a T . . Loc. c i t . 110 the Chinese were attempting to leap ahead of the Soviet comrades i n this aspect of the t r a n s i t i o n to communism. The Chinese made i t e x p l i c i t , however, that even when ownership by the whole people had been achieved, the communes "are s t i l l s o c i a l i s t i n character, where the pr i n c i p l e , !from each according to hi s a b i l i t i e s , to each according to his work 1 p r e v a i l s . " However, the Chinese leaders also suggested that "where conditions permit, a s h i f t to the wage system may be made." This l a s t point indicated not the introduction of "each according to hi s needs", but rather an in-between stage i n which a monthly wage was guaranteed despite how many days were worked. This pr i n c i p l e had also been i n s t i t u t e d i n certain areas of the Soviet Union i n certain wealthy c o l l e c t i v e s , and thus was not e n t i r e l y i n the nature of an innovation, although the Soviet party had never issued an o f f i c i a l d i r e c t i v e or policy regarding t h i s '"higher" stage of d i s t r i b u t i o n . Insofar as the Chinese had made i t o f f i c i a l p o l i cy to encourage this system of d i s t r i b u t i o n , i t did tend to place the Chinese (on paper at least) ahead of the Soviet Union i n this regard. But at no time i n the commune resolution did the party advocate the introduction of the communist p r i n c i p l e "to each according to his needs", or even suggest the system of "part supply" which was introduced l a t e r . At the end of the h i s t o r i c commune d i r e c t i v e , the Central Committee made abundantly clear the l i m i t s of i t s I l l i d e o l o g i c a l claims, reasserting unmistakably that: At the present stage our task i s to b u i l d socialism. The primary purpose of establishing people's communes i s to accelerate the speed of s o c i a l i s t construction, and the purpose of building socialism i s to prepare a c t i v e l y f o r the t r a n s i t i o n to communism. It seems that the attainment of communism i n China i s no longer a remote future event. We should a c t i v e l y use the form of the people's communes to explore the p r a c t i c a l road of t r a n s i t i o n to Communism.7 It i s only i n the l a s t two sentences that a challenge to the Soviet Union's leadership could be inferred. Since the U.S.S.R. i s conceded to be building communism, i t i s clear that the Chinese are r e i t e r a t i n g their previous stand, that the Soviet Union i s the farthest along the road to communism, and i s i n fa c t a whole stage ahead. At the same time, how-ever, there i s an implication i n the l a s t two sentences that the Chinese are rapidly catching up. It was almost exactly one year e a r l i e r that Khrushchev had asserted i n a speech that communism was no longer remote i n the Soviet Union, so the Chinese were, by their own calculations, only one jump behind. But the r e a l innovation i n the Chinese claims was that the commune could be used as a p r a c t i c a l experiment to 'explore* the road to communism. But c e r t a i n l y , the Chinese had not claimed to have leaped ahead into the stage of 'building communism*. Indeed, the commune resolution s p e c i f i c a l l y set out the prerequisites 7 I b i d . , p. 8 . 112 that would have to be achieved before the communist d i s t r i b u -t i o n p r i n c i p l e could be introduced and communism achieved: After a number of years, as the s o c i a l product increases greatly, the communist consciousness and morality of the entire people are raised to a much higher degree, and universal educa-tion i s i n s t i t u t e d and developed, the difference between workers and peasants, town and country and mental and manual labour . . . w i l l gradually vanish and the function of the state w i l l be limited to protecting the country from external aggression but w i l l play no role i n t e r n a l l y . At that time Chinese society w i l l enter the era of communism where the p r i n c i p l e of from each according to h i s a b i l i t y and to each according to h i s needs w i l l be practiced.8 The essence of the Chinese i d e o l o g i c a l challenge was fourfold, then. F i r s t , the Chinese were rejecting the binding force of Soviet 'experience 1 which had supposedly proven the communes to be unworkable. Secondly, they were claiming to be a second source of id e o l o g i c a l wisdom, insofar as the people's commune was an almost e n t i r e l y new idea, d i f f e r i n g substantially from the abandoned a g r i c u l t u r a l communes i n the Soviet Union. Thirdly, they were s t r i v i n g to bring about ownership by the whole people, as opposed to c o l l e c t i v e ownership, before this was completed i n the Soviet Union. Fourthly, they were setting themselves on a par with the Soviet Union by asserting that communism was no longer something remote i n China; and while conceding the Soviet lead, they were claiming i n essence to be moving Ibid., p. 7. 113 faster towards communism, with the p o s s i b i l i t y of reaching that f i n a l stage even before the U.S.S.R. It was implied that their innovation, the commune, would provide a revolutionary shortcut to the communist goal. Later, of course, i n subsequent months, these claims were expanded by various party leaders, but these were the chief challenges involved i n the text of the commune resolution i t s e l f . Communes i n the Chinese Press Within the next few days, important a r t i c l e s appeared i n both Red Flag and People's Daily, amplifying the content of the resolution. Moreover, a number of further i d e o l o g i c a l claims were advanced or implied. The communes were e x p l i c i t l y t i e d to Mao's theory of uninterrupted revolution, for instance i£ a Red Flag e d i t o r i a l on September 1. There, i t was asserted that the communes had been introduced so smoothly not only because the forces of production had outgrown their cooperative superstructure, but also because: the Chinese people have grasped the guiding ideology of the Communist Party's Central Committee, and Comrade Mao Tse-tung*s teachings on uninterrupted revolution. The working people want no pause i n the course of the revolution and they see that the more rapidly the revolution advances, the more benefits they w i l l derive.9 Furthermore, i t was recommended that the communes organize along military l i n e s , and introduce a m i l i t a r y style i n their ^"Greet the Upsurge i n Forming People's Communes," Red Flag,,, ,No. 7 , September 1 , 1958; Ibid., p. 1 3 . Ilk 'battle* to raise production. The ideol o g i c a l foundation for this policy was found i n the Communist Manifesto where Marx advocated the "establishment of i n d u s t r i a l armies, especially for agriculture". The p r a c t i c a l foundation was found i n the fac t that "the swift expansion of agriculture demands that they should greatly strengthen their (the peasants 1) organization, act more quickly and with greater d i s c i p l i n e and e f f i c i e n c y , so that l i k e factory workers and army men they can be deployed with greater freedom and on a 10 larger scale." As a rather ominous additional comment on the para-military technique to be employed i n the communes, i t was noted that "although the organization of a g r i c u l t u r a l labour along m i l i t a r y l i n e s at present i s f o r waging battles against nature and not human enemies, i t i s nonetheless not d i f f i c u l t to transform one kind of struggle into another." The communes, as a s o c i a l unit, were themselves further substantiated, i d e o l o g i c a l l y , by claiming for them the approval of the fathers of communism, (although s p e c i f i c references to document this claim were not put forward). Thus: " i t w i l l become the basic s o c i a l unit i n the future communist society as thinkers—from many outstanding Utopian s o c i a l i s t s to Marx, Engels and Lenin—had predicted on many 12 occasions." Moreover, i t was further asserted that the 1 0 I b i d . , p. Ik. 11 Loc. c i t . 12 "Hold High the Red Flag of the People's Communes and Continue to March On," People's Daily. September 3 , 1958; Ibid., p. 2 0 . 115 party had discovered the s p e c i f i c road to communism: "Co-op, advanced co-op, people's commune, advanced people's commune (e n t i r e l y communist i n character)." And that while the Chinese revolution was s t i l l i n the stage of building socialism, that some aspects of the communes such as the free supply of grain were "the budding sprouts of communism." Furthermore, while i t was reasserted that i t would be a mistake to think that the revolution was not s t i l l i n the stage of building socialism, and a mistake to attempt to move too quickly or prematurely to the communist d i s t r i b u t i o n system, i t was also made abundantly clear that the t r a n s i t i o n to communism was not f a r off. While the August resolution suggested that after ownership of the whole people had been achieved ( i n three to six years or longer), i t would s t i l l take "a number of years" to establish the prerequisites f o r communism, the a r t i c l e i n People's Daily reduced this l a t t e r period to "a few years", thus implying communism to be even more imminent i n China. From this l a t t e r forecast, one could conclude that there was a p o s s i b i l i t y of achieving communism within ten years i n China. At the same time as these r a d i c a l i d e o l o g i c a l assertions were being made, other statements i n the same a r t i c l e s provided amplifications of some of the p r a c t i c a l ^"Greet the Upsurge i n Forming the People's Communes, Red Flag, no. 7 , September 1 , 1958; Ibid., p. 12 . 116 reasons why the communes had been Introduced, indicating that, (as i n the Soviet Union's case) the changeover from old forms to new was apparently motivated p a r t l y by p r a c t i c a l considerations. Thus, i n the following passage, there i s no reference at a l l to id e o l o g i c a l considerations—only to the p r a c t i c a l consideration of rai s i n g the nation's standard of l i v i n g . Thus, To achieve high speed advance i n agriculture, enable the countryside to assume a new aspect at an early date, and improve the peasants* l i v i n g standards as quickly as possible, as facts show i t i s necessary to carry out large scale c a p i t a l construction that w i l l fundamentally change natural conditions; to apply new farming techniques; to develop forestry, animal husbandry, side occupations and f i s h e r i e s side by side with agriculture; to bui l d industries that w i l l serve agriculture and the needs of the peasants as well as big industries; gradually carry out mechaniza-tion and e l e c t r i f i c a t i o n ; to improve transport, communications and housing conditions i n r u r a l areas; and set up educational, health and cu l t u r a l establishments—to do a l l t h i s i s beyond the power of an a g r i c u l t u r a l producer's co-operative consisting of a few dozens or hundreds of households.lh One of the p r a c t i c a l reasons also mentioned, was the one attributed to Mao, that the decentralization provided by the communes would "make i t easier for leadership." It i s presumed that this means the communes would relieve the burdens on the party leaders whose task i s to direct a nation of over 650 m i l l i o n people, and place more r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for economic development i n the hands of l o c a l authorities. How-ever, another meaning might also be implied: that the People's Daily, op. c i t . 117 commune system would make i t easier for the leadership (and the party) to control and indoctrinate the peasantry and workers. The system of communal l i v i n g offered by the communes i s p a r t i c u l a r l y well suited to p o l i t i c a l and economic control by a minority of party cadres, and to constant surveillance and i n d o c t r i n a t i o n — i n other words, t o t a l i t a r i a n " t o t a l " control. That this aspect of the communes was one of the more p r a c t i c a l advantages of the new s o c i a l unit i n the eyes of the Chinese leaders i s not to be denied. This i s especially apparent i n the l i g h t of the events of the preceding two years which had included numerous student s t r i k e s , the discovery of secret peasant organizations advocating the overthrow of the regime, and widespread c r i t i c i s m of the party and popular unrest during 15 the "Hundred Flowers" period. J It was clear i n the l i g h t of these events that the peasants i n particular were i n need of s t r i c t party supervision and i d e o l o g i c a l attention, and that permanent tight control could only be achieved through some kind of s o c i a l unit l i k e the commune. In communist terminology, the commune was the i d e a l s o c i a l unit to raise the " p o l i t i c a l consciousness" of the peasantry and lead i t to communism. Although the argument was never used by the Chinese, Marx could have been mobilized to support the commionization of the peasantry. In h i s Eighteenth 15 -'Mao Tse-tung, On the Correct Handling of Contradic-tions Among the People (Peking, F.L.P., I960), p. 59* 1 1 8 Brumaire of Louis Napoleon. Marx noted that the reason the French peasants did not play a revolutionary role i n French his t o r y despite their wretched conditions and exploitation, was that they farmed small i n d i v i d u a l plots and. never came into contact with each other, thus never being able to develop an awareness that millions of others were i n the same condition—never, therefore, developing a class consciousness, the prerequisite to playing a part i n the process of his t o r y . Applying t h i s to the Chinese situation, one can see that the bringing together of the peasants into very large units would (with the party's assistance) heighten their class consciousness, just as the bringing together of workers into f a c t o r i e s during the i n d u s t r i a l revolution had served to raise the p o l i t i c a l consciousness of the working class. The Soviet Response to the Communes The public claims of the Chinese concerning their people's communes did not go unanswered by the Soviet Union. Within a week the Soviet leaders announced the convocation of the party's 2 1 s t Congress to be held a year early, i n February 1959. It i s evident from the timing, and the theme of the Congress (the building of communism), that the Chinese challenge was serious enough to warrant an ide o l o g i c a l answer from the podium of the most important of a l l party meetings—the Congress. Within days, the i n i t i a l Soviet reaction to the Chinese ideological challenge became apparent— 119 i t was to take a positive approach, reviving Khrushchev's statement of a year e a r l i e r that communism was on the horizon i n the Soviet Union. In a Kommunist e d i t o r i a l on September 9 , f o r instance, i t was proclaimed that: It i s necessary to evaluate the significance of the forthcoming 2 1 s t Congress of the CPSU. Our country i s i n the process of a great upsurge. The higher phase of communism i s already not a remote aim; the completion of the construction of socialism and the r e a l i z a t i o n of the gradual t r a n s i t i o n from socialism to communism i s the basic contant of the contemporary stage of development of Soviet society. 1 ° At the same time, a r t i c l e s which made any mention of the communes at a l l (which now of course could hardly be completely ignored) often referred to them as "higher type cooperatives", rather than "people's communes" thus indicating very c l e a r l y the ideol o g i c a l challenge inherent i n the choice of the name "commune". One important a r t i c l e of th i s type appeared i n Problems of Economics on October 1 6 , and was ent i t l e d "Great China Builds Socialism". The a r t i c l e made i t clear that the prerequisite for a rapid advance to communism was a high l e v e l of i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n and this was exactly what China did not have. It also pointed out that i n formerly underdeveloped countries l i k e China, i t was not enough to i n s t i t u t e purely s o c i a l i s t production r e l a t i o n s : "a certain l e v e l of development of prbduction forces i s also Quoted i n D.S. Zagoria, The Sino-Soviet C o n f l i c t , (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1962), p. 110. 120 needed." In short, " i t follows from this that the ( s o c i a l i s t ) t r a n s i t i o n period has not been completed i n the C.P.R." It i s noteworthy, however, that the a r t i c l e stated that the "higher type cooperatives" were the best form i n China, for 17 the speeding up of s o c i a l i s t construction. ' It i s true, of course, that the Russians could hardly launch a head-on attack on the communes without i n v i t i n g a major break with the Chinese party, and that some concessions to the more p r a c t i c a l Chinese assertions could be made while undermining the more far-reaching i d e o l o g i c a l claims. It i s perhaps even more s i g n i f i c a n t , however, that no Soviet leader even mentioned the communes p u b l i c l y , or expressed an opinion of them. Thus, while the press could hardly ignore them completely, the leadership most ce r t a i n l y could show i t s strong disapproval through an obvious and prolonged silence. This silence was to l a s t for over three years. Perhaps the most s i g n i f i c a n t a r t i c l e to appear i n Soviet journals during this period was one i n Problems of Philosophy by T. A. Stepanyan, a leading Soviet philosopher and authority on the t r a n s i t i o n to communism. In this a r t i c l e Stepanyan put forward an e n t i r e l y new concept i n Marxist theory—that di f f e r e n t groups of s o c i a l i s t countries would enter communism at different times, and that the European s o c i a l i s t countries would be the f i r s t to enter the communist Loc. c i t . 1 o state. Thus, People's China was relegated to a secondary-position v i s - a - v i s the other bloc members, and would have to undergo the t r a n s i t i o n to communism at a much l a t e r date, along with the otherAsian s o c i a l i s t countries. I t i s clear, of course, that this new assertion by Stepanyan was pa r t l y Soviet reaction to the ref u s a l of communist China i n May to agree to submit to Soviet pressures to enter into economic integration with the rest of the bloc. However, i t was also an implied threat that i f the Chinese didn't come to heel i d e o l o g i c a l l y , the Soviet Union would refuse to aid i n China's bid to catch up i n d u s t r i a l l y to the more advanced nations. When the Chinese did back down somewhat i n the following months, the Russians withdrew th i s 'law' l a i d down by Stepanyan and replaced i t with the p r i n c i p l e that a l l the s o c i a l i s t countries would enter communism simultaneously. And, of course, i n order for this to occur, the advanced s o c i a l i s t countries would have to undertake large programs of aid to enable their underdeveloped a l l i e s to catch up economically. A more obvious, purposeful downgrading of the Chinese occurred just a few days l a t e r upon the proclamation of the slogans for the anniversary celebrations of the October Revolution. Previously China had been accorded a special position i n the slogans, indicating a more advanced state ItQg-4. c i t a 1 2 2 than the other people's democracies. Now, she was downgraded to the position of the others. Thus, while being d i f f e r e n -t i a t e d before as a 'builder of socialism* (as opposed to 'building s o c i a l i s m 1 ) , i n the new slogans China was now said 19 to be 'building socialism* l i k e the rest of the s a t e l l i t e s . 7 This was a clear indication that the Russians were attempting to soft-pedal Chinese importance, especially as a bloc leader i n ideology and s o c i a l i s t construction. The Part-Supply System i n the Communes In the meantime the Chinese were continuing to press forward with their claims for the communes. On October 1, an e d i t o r i a l i n People*s Daily claimed that Mao Tse-tung had asserted on the basis of the 1958 leap forward that within from one to three years there would be an abundance of food and clothing i n China. Moreover, emphasis began to be put on the communist nature of the supply system of distribution being i n s t i t u t e d i n the communes, and i n mid-October the party put forward the policy of "part wages, part supply" for the r u r a l communes. This policy was put forward after an intra-party debate conducted among other places on the pages of People's Daily during the f i r s t three weeks of October. Some party leaders had attacked the wage system as bourgeois i n nature, echoing what Lenin had said i n "State 1 9 I b i d . , p. 111. 2 0 A c o l l e c t i o n of these a r t i c l e s appears i n Current Background, no. 537* 123 and Revolution", and urging the implementation of the free supply system. In essence this demand was a demand to move from socialism to communism i n terms of Marxist-Leninist theory, since Lenin had asserted that the two systems of d i s t r i b u t i o n — t o each according to h i s work (wage system) and to each according to h i s needs (supply system) were the chief c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the s o c i a l i s t and communist stages respectively. Other participants i n the debate urged that the wage system was the only appropriate one f o r the s o c i a l i s t stage i n which China found i t s e l f . The party came down i n the middle of these two schools—the Utopians and the conservatives—and formulated the part-wage, part-supply system. Insofar as the system was part-supply, i t was from a Marxist point of view also p a r t l y communist, and thus advanced beyond the Soviet system based almost solely on wages, and on "bourgeois" incentive. It i s clear, however, that from the Soviet point of view, these so-called buds of communism contained i n the communes were r e a l l y a r t i f i c i a l buds, since they were not i n f a c t based on the p r i n c i p l e "according to need", but on mere egalitarianism. It was obvious to a l l that there was not enough food i n China, despite the bumper harvest, to supply the needs of 650 m i l l i o n people. There i s a great difference between giving everyone a "free" bowl of r i c e , and l e t t i n g everyone eat h i s f i l l . This i s the difference between egalitarianism as practiced i n the premature Soviet communes, and communism as envisioned by Marx. 21 Zagoria, op. c i t . , p. 111. 12k Continuing Soviet Reaction One of the most s i g n i f i c a n t occurrences of this period was the r e c a l l to Moscow of the Soviet Ambassador, Pavel Yudin, i n late October. He remained i n Moscow for about two weeks, returning to Peking an the f i r s t week of November. Upon h i s return, Yudin made two speeches i n Peking which completely ignored the communes and stressed instead the necessity of building up a vast technological and economic base before any s o c i a l i s t country could consider the tr a n s i t i o n to 21 communism. It i s clear from the turn of events following Yudin*s return from Moscow that the Ambassador had important talks with the Chinese leaders about t h i s time, bringing back from Moscow a message and instructions concerning the communes and Chinese economic progress. It i s reasonable to assume, i n the l i g h t of subsequent events, that the Soviet Union brought economic pressure to bear on the Chinese i n order to bring about an ide o l o g i c a l retreat. I t i s interesting to note that the Chinese had had their economic dependence on the Soviet Union underlined only a few months e a r l i e r when they had to appeal to the Russians for an emergency supply of trucks and other equipment to cope with the enormous harvest, and other aspects of the great leap forward: In connection with the great upswing i n economic development i n 1958, requirements . . . for some types of machinery, equipment and raw materials increased s i g n i f i c a n t l y . Even after the signing of the annual protocol on trade i n 1958, we approached the Soviet Union to request supple-mentary commodity deliveries . . . Soviet 125 organizations s a t i s f i e d a l l our requests and delivered on schedule a large volume of equipment, raw materials and vehicles.22 The magnitude of this emergency request can be gauged from the fact that 20,000 trucks and t r a i l e r s alone were delivered 23 under this supplementary agreement i n August. J It i s quite probable that, i n the l i g h t of Stepanyan 1s a r t i c l e , the Soviet leaders instructed Yudin to inform Peking that unless their i d e o l o g i c a l claims were c l a r i f i e d and reduced i n regard to the communes, the Soviet Union would withdraw i t s economic support i n China's i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n program and leave the Chinese to "stew i n t h e i r own ju i c e " , (as Khrushchev had indicated i n June at the Bulgarian Congress). In the Soviet Union, the party continued i t s response to the Chinese i d e o l o g i c a l offensive. Thus, i n November two mass movements hailed as " c e l l s of the future communist society" were unveiled, with the effect of showing that, not to be outdone, the Russians also had "the buds of communism" within their society. These two mass movements were known as the "Brigades of Communist Labour", and the "People's M i l i t i a " . The former was a mass movement of workers designed to increase labour productivity, and to develop a "communist" 22 Statement by the Chinese Commercial Counselor i n Moscow, quoted i n 0. Hoeffding, "Sino-Soviet Economic Relations i n Recent Years," Unity and Contradiction (New York, Praeger, 1962), p. 209. 2 3Hoeffding, loc. c i t . 126 attitude towards work, while the l a t t e r was a movement designed to take over the functions of pol i c i n g the nation i n preparation for communism, when the public order would be maintained not by the state, but by the "people". In the same month, Khrushchev put forward his Thesis on the Seven Year Plan i n preparation f o r the 21st Congress. Included i n this preliminary draft was the following important passage, quite obviously meant for Chinese eyes: Vladimir I l y i c h Lenin has taught that without material incentives It i s impossible to lead tens and tens of millions of people to communism. The founders of Marxist-Leninism underlined the importance of the p r i n c i p l e of material interest of a l l t o i l e r s i n the growth of communal production for the creation of an abundance of products which would ensure the tr a n s i t i o n to communism; and, i n their time they c r i t i c i z e d the attitude of equalization i n distribution.2 5 At the same time Khrushchev l a i d down the basic program for the t r a n s i t i o n towards communism through a huge increase i n material abundance i n the Soviet Union, as opposed to r a d i c a l changes i n the superstructure or organization of Soviet society. 2 LH. Ritvo, "Totalitarianism Without Coercion?" Problems of Communism, November-December, i960, p. 19. 25 'N. S. Khrushchev, "Thesis on the Seven Year Plan," Pravda, November l k , 1958; Current Digest of the Soviet Preps, v o l . X, no. k 6 , p. 3. 127 The Beginnings of Retreat During November the Chinese Communist party began a widespread check up on the communes.2^ It was clear from the r a p i d i t y with which they were set up that many problems necessarily arose i n the communes during t h i s period. And since the commune resolution had l e f t the s p e c i f i c form of each commune i n the hands of the l o c a l cadres, i t was almost inevitable that some overzealous cadres would force the peasants into the communes against their w i l l , and that some cadres would become carried away by the successes of the leap forward and attempt to set up premature "utopian" communes. From l a t e r reports, i t i s now evident that many communes i n s t i t u t e d a free supply system i n the flood tide of i d e o l o g i c a l enthusiasm, and that t h i s led to a quick depletion of a l l the commune's grain reserves and to a great shortage of consumer commodities. It was i n this kind of economic and ide o l o g i c a l ferment that the Central Committee began to take steps to bring the commune movement under tighter control, and began to make a considered i d e o l o g i c a l retreat. Between November 2 and November 10, Mao Tse-tung called a meeting i n Chengchow of central and l o c a l party leaders to check up on the nationwide situation i n regard to L i Fu-chun, Raise High the Red Flag (Peking, F.L.P., I 9 6 0 ) , p. 2 . the communes.z* Chu Teh who was not at this session and apparently unaware of i t s development, made a speech at the Soviet Ambassador's reception on the evening of November 1 i n which he asserted that the Chinese people "have the confidence to accomplish s o c i a l i s t construction i n a very short h i s t o r i c a l period and, further, to pass 28 on to communism." Apparently after Mao had returned from Chengchow and reported to the politburo, and probably after Mao had received Yudin, and heard f i r s t hand the Soviet attitude, a d i s t i n c t policy change was ordered. Thus, only two weeks after h i s November 7 speech, Chu Teh told a conference of young party a c t i v i s t s that i t was mistaken to start "behaving l i k e Utopians." He stressed that China required i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n and the "highest world levels i n science and culture" before the t r a n s i t i o n to communism could be considered. He added that "our achievements so f a r are s t i l l f ar behind what i s needed to complete the building of 29 socialism." 7 He also refrained from discussing the role of the communes i n the t r a n s i t i o n to communism and remained s i l e n t on the question of the previously-lauded free supply system. '"Communique," 6th Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (Peking, F.L.P., 1958), p. 3-28 Survey of the Chinese Mainland Press, no. l 8 9 k , November Ik, 1958, p. 3 k . 2 9Quoted i n Zagoria, op. c i t . . p. 12 k . CHAPTER VI THE CHINESE RETREAT On November 21, only eleven days after the end of the Chengchow meeting, Mao convened another meeting i n Wuchang, this time made up of central o f f i c i a l s and the party secretaries of the provinces, municipalities and i autonomous regions. This meeting dealt i n length with the reappraisal of the communes and prepared the way f o r the Plenary Session of the Central Committee held i n the same c i t y immediately following ( i n f a c t , the next day) the close of the deliberations. It was decided at this meeting to undertake a massive checkup of the communes i n the following winter months, according to a set of c r i t e r i a set down by the party leaders and promulgated the following week by the Plenary Session of the Central Committee. This Central Committee Session which ran from November 28 u n t i l December 20 was one of the most important events of the whole commune controversy, producing one of the three major docu-ments which have served to set party policy i n regard to the p r a c t i c a l and ide o l o g i c a l aspect of the communes (the other two being the o r i g i n a l resolution and the 1959 Eushan Communique, Sixth Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (Peking, F.L.P., 1958), p. 3. 130 r e s o l u t i o n ) . T h i s d o c u m e n t , e n t i t l e d " R e s o l u t i o n On Some Q u e s t i o n s C o n c e r n i n g t h e P e o p l e ' s C o m m u n e s " , " e l a b o r a t e d a s e r i e s o f q u e s t i o n s c o n c e r n i n g t h e p e o p l e ' s communes f r o m p t h e s t a n d p o i n t o f t h e o r y a n d p o l i c y " a n d f u n d a m e n t a l l y r e v i s e d t h e m o r e e x t r e m e i d e o l o g i c a l c l a i m s c o n t a i n e d i n t h e A u g u s t r e s o l u t i o n . A t t h e same t i m e t h e b a s i c " c o r r e c t -n e s s " o f t h e p e o p l e ' s commune p o l i c y w a s r e a f f i r m e d , a n d i t s f u n d a m e n t a l i d e o l o g i c a l b a s i s r e i t e r a t e d . The L u s h a n R e s o l u t i o n I n d e f e n d i n g t h e i n t r o d u c t i o n o f t h e communes t h e r e s o l u t i o n a s s e r t e d t h a t " t h e e m e r g e n c e o f t h e p e o p l e ' s communes i s n o t f o r t u i t o u s ; i t i s t h e o u t c o m e o f t h e e c o n o m i c a n d p o l i t i c a l d e v e l o p m e n t o f o u r c o u n t r y , t h e o u t c o m e o f t h e s o c i a l i s t r e c t i f i c a t i o n c a m p a i g n c o n d u c t e d b y o u r p a r t y , o f t h e p a r t y ' s g e n e r a l l i n e f o r s o c i a l i s t c o n s t r u c t i o n a n d t h e g r e a t l e a p f o r w a r d o f s o c i a l i s t c o n s t r u c t i o n i n 1958." 3 B e s i d e s i t s p r a c t i c a l b e n e f i t s , t h e r e s o l u t i o n a d d e d , " t h e commune h a s s h o w n t h e c o r r e c t r o a d o f t h e g r a d u a l t r a n s i t i o n t o communism a n d h a s p r o v e n t o be t h e c o r r e c t v e h i c l e f o r t h e r e a l i z a t i o n o f t h e p r e r e q u i s i t e s f o r c o m m u n i s m . " " A l l t h i s , " s u g g e s t s t h e C e n t r a l C o m m i t t e e , " p r o v e s t h e c o r r e c t n e s s a n d h i s t o r i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e o f t h e 2 I b i d . , p . 1. -> " R e s o l u t i o n o n Some Q u e s t i o n s C o n c e r n i n g t h e P e o p l e ' s C o m m u n e s " , I b i d . . p . 12. 131 (August) Resolution on the Establishment of People's Communes i n the Rural Areas To underline their basic f a i t h i n the commune the Chinese leaders confirmed the fact that "urban people's communes . . . w i l l also become instruments for the transformation of old c i t i e s and the construction of new s o c i a l i s t c i t i e s " ^ i n the not too distant future. In short, the general commune policy-was restated and reaffirmed: Marxist-Leninist theory and the i n i t i a l experience of the people's communes in. our country enable us to foresee now that the people's communes w i l l quicken the tempo of our s o c i a l i s t construction and constitute the best form for r e a l i z i n g , i n our country the following two tr a n s i t i o n s . F i r s t l y , the tra n s i t i o n from c o l l e c t i v e ownership to ownership of the whole people i n the country-side; and secondly, the t r a n s i t i o n from s o c i a l i s t to communist society, the people's commune w i l l remain the basic unit of our so c i a l structure.© It i s si g n i f i c a n t to note, that while claiming the mantle of Marxist-Leninist theory for the communes, the Chinese expressly insert the q u a l i f i c a t i o n that they are the best form "in our country", thus disclaiming to be necessarily setting a "correct" model for the rest of the bloc. The soft pedalling of previous claims and insinuations giving the appearance of challenging Soviet leadership within the bloc or of challenging the Soviet lead i n the tr a n s i t i o n to commun-ism, was characteristic of the entire resolution. Ibid., p. Ih. ^Loc. c i t . 6 I b i d . , p. 17. 132 On the key question of the speed of the t r a n s i t i o n to communism, the resolution repudiated previous suggestions that communism was imminent i n China, and asserted that the country would be engaged i n s o c i a l i s t construction for many years to come: This whole process w i l l take f i f t e e n , twenty or more years to complete, counting from now . . . . During this process, the elements of communism are bound to increase gradually and these w i l l lay the foundation of material and s p i r i t u a l conditions for the t r a n s i t i o n from socialism to communism.7 Thus, the challenge i n an i d e o l o g i c a l sense to the Russian leadership i n the drive towards communism was unmistakeably withdrawn, since the Soviet Union had completed the stage of s o c i a l i s t construction i n 1939 and had been ( t h e o r e t i c a l l y , at least) evolving from s o c i a l i s t to communist conditions for nearly twenty years. Thus the Russians were conceded to be far ahead of China on the road to communism. A similar retreat occurred i n regard to the claims put forward previously that the t r a n s i t i o n to the ownership of the whole people i n the r u r a l areas would be accomplished within a very few years. Now i t was asserted that: Col l e c t i v e ownership s t i l l plays a positive role today i n developing production i n the r u r a l people's communes. How soon the t r a n s i t i o n from c o l l e c t i v e ownership to ownership by the whole Ibid., p. 18 . 133 people w i l l be effected, w i l l be determined by objective factors - the l e v e l of development of production and the l e v e l of people's p o l i t i c a l understanding - and not by mere wishful thinking that i t can be done any time we want. Thus t h i s t r a n s i t i o n w i l l be r e a l i z e d , by stages and by groups, on a national scale only after a considerable time.° Furthermore, i t was made pe r f e c t l y clear that "the change from s o c i a l i s t c o l l e c t i v e ownership to s o c i a l i s t ownership by the whole people i s not the same thing as going over from socialism to communism."^ At the same time, the resolution voiced a warning that the existing c o l l e c t i v e ownership could not be kept in t a c t i n d e f i n i t e l y since this would jeopardize the p o s s i b i l i t y of evolving to the higher stage; thus federation of communes on a county l e v e l was advocated as an immediate step to keep the revolutionary process on the move. It i s interesting to r e c a l l i n this regard that this p o l i c y was s t r i k i n g l y similar to the proposals by Soviet theoreticians i n the previous spring, who had suggested that the road to eventual "ownership of the whole people" lay through federation of existing r u r a l units. Another ide o l o g i c a l retreat lay i n the resolution's modification of Mao's theory of "permanent revolution". While s t i l l maintaining the implied c r i t i c i s m that the Soviet Ibid., p. 21. i Loc. c i t . 1 3 k Union had brought i t s revolutionary evolution to a stand-s t i l l , the Chinese leaders repudiated the notion that the Chinese or anyone else could skip stages on the road to communism, or somehow leap forward to that f i n a l stage before f u l f i l l i n g the Marxist prerequisites. Thus, the resolution held that: We must not mark time at the s o c i a l i s t stage, nor should we drop into the Utopian dream of skipping the s o c i a l i s t stage and jumping over to the communist stage. We are advocates of the Marxist-Leninist theory of the development of the revolution by stages; we hold that dif f e r e n t stages of development r e f l e c t qualitative changes and that these stages, ^ 0 d i f f e r e n t i n quality, should not be confused. In essence, t h i s l a t t e r modification was one which made i t d i f f i c u l t to j u s t i f y the introduction of "shoots of communism" i n the s o c i a l i s t stage, and can be thus seen as a de f i n i t e i d e o l o g i c a l concession to the Soviet point of view, more or less forced on the party by Soviet pressure. At the same time there were also strong domestic reasons to oppose utopianism: We should not groundlessly make declarations that the people's communes w i l l 'realize ownership by the whole people immediately* of even *enter communism immediately*, and so on. To do such things i s not only an expression of rashness, i t w i l l greatly lower the standards of communism i n the minds of the people, d i s t o r t the great i d e a l of communism and vulgarize i t , strengthen the petty bourgeois Ibid., p. 2k. 135 trend towards egalitarianism and adversely af f e c t the development of s o c i a l i s t c o n s t r u c t i o n .H The phrasing of t h i s statement i s most reminiscent of Stalin's declaration on the communes at the 17th Congress and provides a strong i n d i c a t i o n that the Chinese had made a very conscious swing toward conceding that Soviet warnings and Soviet experience should have been more closely heeded. Another id e o l o g i c a l point conceded to the Russians i n the text of the resolution was that an enormous abundance of s o c i a l products was essential before communism could be achieved. It w i l l be remembered i n this regard that the Russians had made this point one of their key arguments i n their reaction to the Chinese i d e o l o g i c a l challenge during the autumn months. Now the Chinese p u b l i c l y agreed that without "an enormous abundance of s o c i a l products . . . i t i s of course impossible to talk about entering a higher stage of development i n human society--communism." More importantly, i t was soberly suggested that "our comrades must bear i n mind that the present l e v e l of development of the productive forces i n our country i s , after a l l , s t i l l very low." The significance of this point should not be under-estimated, since i t was at the very crux of Khrushchev's domestic p o l i c i e s . The most important of a l l goals as far as Khrushchev was concerned was increasing productivity and the Loc. c i t . 136 point which the Chinese were agreeing to had supplied the i d e o l o g i c a l foundation for the M.T.S. reorganization i n the spring, and which supplied the rationale for Khrushchev's emphasis on incentives and other expedient, u n s o c i a l i s t i c devices. In a similar vein, the resolution rejected the premature introduction of the communist system of d i s t r i b u t i o n and defended the system based on the p r i n c i p l e of each according to h i s work. Bowing to the Soviet point of view the Chinese agreed that: any negation of the p r i n c i p l e to each according to h i s work w i l l tend to dampen the enthusiasm of the people and i s therefore disadvantageous to the development of production and the increase of s o c i a l products, and hence to speeding the r e a l i z a -tion of communism . . . . Any premature attempt to negate the p r i n c i p l e of 'to each according to h i s work' and replace i t with the p r i n c i p l e of 'to each according to h i s needs', that i s , any attempt to enter communism by overreaching our-selves when conditions are not mature - i s un-doubtedly a Utopian concept that cannot possibly succeed.12 Moreover, i n the l i g h t of this admission, an attempt was made to stress the s o c i a l i s t nature of the part-wage part-supply system i n s t i t u t e d i n the communes and to deemphasize the role of free supply i n the communes. Thus i t was suggested that i n future wages should gradually increase as a proportion of t o t a l income, and that the free supply portion of income Ibid., p. 2 3 . 137 should, be reduced. Nevertheless, the free supply system was s t i l l defended as embodying the f i r s t shoots of communism, and was to be maintained as an a u x i l i a r y to the wage system: The introduction of a d i s t r i b u t i o n system which combines the wage system and. the free supply system i n the part of the commune's income a l l o t t e d to i t s members fo r consump-tion i s a form of s o c i a l i s t d i s t r i b u t i o n created by China's people's communes, and at the present time i t represents what the broad mass of the members earnestly demand . . . . This d i s t r i b u t i o n system includes the f i r s t shoots of communism but i n essence i t i s s t i l l s o c i a l i s t - based on the p r i n c i p l e of 'from each according to h i s a b i l i t y , to each according to his work'.13 Apparently i n reply to charges of 'egalitarianism', the resolution went on to point out that the "free supply system does not seek to make the l i f e of the people uniform." In summation, then, i t can be said that the December resolution upheld the commune as the correct and necessary soc i a l unit for China, while withdrawing most of the i d e o l o g i -c a l claims which had suggested that China was rapidly advancing towards communism or that China had jumped ahead of the Soviet Union. At the same time, certain i d e o l o g i c a l challenges remained. For example, the Chinese s t i l l defended the p r i n c i p l e of uninterrupted revolution with i t s implied c r i t i c i s m of those who "mark time at the s o c i a l i s t stage". Ibid., p. 31* 138 And i n sticking to their advance from c o l l e c t i v e s to communes, the Chinese were s t i l l f l y i n g i n the face of Soviet p o l i c y which had rejected the orthodox Marxist notion that communes were the ultimate unit of s o c i a l i s t and communist society. This s t i l l amounted to a concrete challenge of the Soviet revisionism i n this regard. Moreover, i n reaffirming the supply system as "budding communism" the Chinese could s t i l l claim to be nearer to communism than the " s t a t i c " Soviet Union i n certain limited respects. And f i n a l l y , by r e l a t i n g the communes to needs a r i s i n g out of the special conditions existing i n China, the Chinese were s t i l l able to offer their road as the most appropriate for the under-developed nations, thus offering i d e o l o g i c a l leadership to these areas. In short, the whole commune p o l i c y as a s t r i k i n g divergence from the Soviet road and as a policy more i n l i n e with orthodox Marxist theory, established Peking as an alternative source of l e a d e r s h i p — i d e o l o g i c a l , and p r a c t i c a l — w i t h i n the communist world. Continuing Soviet Displeasure On December 1 i n Moscow, Khrushchev made mention of the communes i n a private interview with Senator Hubert Humphrey while the Chinese Central Committee was i n session. According to Humphrey's report, Khrushchev: was openly derisive, however, of the Chinese experiment with communes. This i s an 'old fashioned 1, 'reactionary* idea which the Soviet Union had t r i e d unsuccessfully right 139 after the 1917 revolution and had long since been abandoned. The communes, he went on, are based on the theory 'from each according to h i s a b i l i t i e s , to each according to h i s needs. '1^ The Soviet leader stressed that the communes repudiated i n c e n t i v e s — a policy Khrushchev claimed was absurd. He tol d Humphrey that i t was impossible to achieve increased production without an incentive system for the workers. Mikovan i n the United States A few weeks l a t e r , Mikoyan spoke i n similar terms i n Los Angeles to a U.C.L.A. seminar group. This was on January 13, some time after the December 10 resolution had been published by the Chinese. Discussing the communes, i n answer to a press question, Mikoyan asserted that the Chinese had now rea l i z e d the necessity of maintaining the incentive system i f the communes were to function as effective economic units. According to the New York Times report, Mikoyan said that: the Russians set up such communes i n 1918 and 1919 but soon discovered that without a developed economy they would not work. He said i t was not possible to i n s t i t u t e the communist p r i n c i p l e 'from each according to h i s a b i l i t i e s , to each according to h i s needs 1 u n t i l a very productive economy had been developed, a situation he admitted l a y s t i l l i n the distant future. 15 'New York Times. February 7, 1959. New York Times. January 13, 1959, P« 1. It i s clear from Mikoyan*s remarks that from the Soviet point of view, the Chinese had d e f i n i t e l y attempted to introduce prematurely the communist system of d i s t r i b u t i o n and work i n the o r i g i n a l communes. His remark concerning the December 10 decision to r e t a i n incentives points up Soviet recognition that the p r i n c i p l e of 'to each according to h i s work' had been at least p a r t i a l l y r e i n s t i t u t e d by the Chinese. No doubt, however, the party-supply system of d i s t r i b u t i o n was s t i l l a matter of Soviet concern. Mikoyan went on to reinforce 'his previous comments by asserting that " i n a poor economy such as that of the Soviet Union immediately after the revolution, the pure commune would not work." He said that Marx, Lenin and other communist philosophers had recognized that material incentives would be needed before pure communism was attained."*"^ In reply to a question asking how long i t would be before communism would be attained, "Mikoyan smiled and said ' i t w i l l take some time, 17 and i t w i l l be a gradual process*." ' It i s interesting to note Mikoyan*s choice of words here. His statement that the "pure commune" would not work leaves open the p o s s i b i l i t y that the revised Chinese commune might, i f i t s t i l l embodied the incentive system. On the other hand, hi s words concerning the necessary gradualness of the t r a n s i t i o n to communism i s a clear indictment of the Chinese attempts to leap forward towards communism during the autumn months. ^ L o c . c i t . 1 7 L o c . c i t . According to the New York Times correspondent, "Mr. Mikoyan stressed that there was no difference between the Soviet Union and China on the commune issue. However, his remarks implied that there was a difference i n thinking since the Chinese were fa r from reaching an economy of abundance. ""^ Two weeks l a t e r , on January 2h, Mikoyan was once again questioned on matters r e l a t i n g to Sino-Soviet r e l a t i o n s . At the National Press Club he was asked whether Mao Tse-tung was now the leading theoretician of the communist world: Mr. Mikoyan hesitated a moment before replying. Then he said very quickly 'Mao i s as good a theoretician as he always was.' Listeners noted that Mr. Mikoyan spoke brusquely and immediately seated himself as i f he wished to dismiss the enquiry as quickly as possible. The tone of h i s reply, p a r t i c u l a r l y as expressed i n Russian, verged on rudeness.19 Obviously this was a p a r t i c u l a r l y sore point with Mikoyan as with the other top Soviet leaders, and h i s reply makes i t clear that Mao's id e o l o g i c a l i n i t i a t i v e s were deeply resented i n Moscow. It i s also clear from these remarks that Mao's theorizing had assumed the proportions of a major challenge to the position of the CPSU as leading and only interpreter of the Marxist-Leninist ideology. The resentment against Mao as a theorist can r e a l l y only be explained i n the l i g h t of the fact that Mao's interpretations were not just of a Loc. c i t . 'New York Times. January 25, 1959, p. k. domestic character but were of bloc-wide significance, offering alternative i d e o l o g i c a l leadership to that of the Soviet Union. Moreover this leadership was of such a nature as to even extend into the Soviet Party, and to provide a r a l l y i n g point for such "anti-party" groups as the so-called S t a l i n i s t wing of the CPSU. Indeed, since Mao's Interpreta-tions of Marxist-Leninism were much more orthodox than those of Khrushchev, they were p a r t i c u l a r l y dangerous to the Soviet leader since i t was exactly this "dogmatism" that Khrushchev was struggling against. For instance, there had been by Khrushchev's own admission, considerable intra-party opposi-tion to h i s reorganization of the M.T.S. i n early 1958, and this opposition had come from the more "dogmatic" elements i n the party. This opposition had been silenced, but only a few months l a t e r Mao Tse-tung came forth to support the same id e o l o g i c a l position, and he was not silenced so e a s i l y . In his M.T.S. speech, Khrushchev had said: The Party delivered a shattering blow to the conservatives and dogmatists divorced from l i f e who resisted the Party's Leninist l i n e and opposed implementation of such major measures as . . . applying the p r i n c i p l e of the material stake of the c o l l e c t i v e farmers i n the development of the communal economy.20 Khrushchev's i n t e r n a l opposition was bolstered immensely by the appearance within the bloc of a powerful independent voice 20 N. S. Khrushchev, "On Further Developing the Collective Farm System and Reorganizing the M.T.S.," Pravda. March 28, 1959; Current Digest of the Soviet Press, v o l . X, no. 11, p. 6. 1 L3 supporting their point of view. Although Molotov, Kagano-v i t c h , Shepilov, and Malenkov were a l l demoted to minor posts and denounced, i t i s almost certain that these former presidium members had a large following within the party which was receptive to just the kind of external support which Mao provided (and continues to provide) i n the i d e o l o g i -c a l sphere. This situation i s doubtless the cause of considerable concern to the Soviet leaders, and w i l l remain so as long as Mao continues to follow c l o s e l y i n the foot-steps of S t a l i n . Although the two party leaders had f i r s t crossed ide o l o g i c a l swords i n Moscow i n November 1957 over the issues 21 of war and peace, and of co-existence, i t was Mao's public pronouncements over the communes i n 1958 which constituted the f i r s t public concrete challenge to Moscow's monopoly i n ideological matters, and offered an alternative source of ideological leadership to rank and f i l e communists of S t a l i n i s t and orthodox Marxist persuasion i n communist parties every-where- -including the Soviet Union. It i s i n this l i g h t then, that Mikoyan's remarks about Mao to the National Press Club take on their significance, and i n this l i g h t that they should be interpreted. As the New York Times observer cor r e c t l y pointed out:, Soviet Government. A Reply to Peking (London, Soviet Booklets, 1963), p. 18. There was no praise f o r Mr. Mao's present theoretical c a p a b i l i t i e s , and an avoidance of any commitment by Mr. Mikoyan as to what Mr. Mao's past theore t i c a l a b i l i t i e s had been. It was thought the p o s s i b i l i t y existed that Mr. Mikoyan*s choice of curt, non-commltal language r e f l e c t e d serious differences between Moscow and Peking of a t h e o r e t i c a l nature, s p e c i f i c a l l y on the question of the Chinese communes.22 Mikoyan's tone indicated that despite the December resolution's p a r t i a l i d e o l o g i c a l r e t r e a t , considerable differences of opinion remained between the Soviet and Chinese leaders, and feelings were s t i l l high. And this was on the eve of the Soviet Party's 21st Congress, and only three days before Khrushchev's major address. German Party Reaction to the Communes In t h i s same period just before the 21st Congress a very s i g n i f i c a n t a r t i c l e appeared i n Unity, the theore t i c a l journal of the East German Communist Party. The a r t i c l e dealt with the theory and practice of the communes i n China, and was written by Paul Wandel, East Germany's Ambassador to Peking. The theme of the a r t i c l e was that while the communes might be suitable for China, they were not the appropriate form to be used i n building a s o c i a l i s t society elsewhere i n the bloc. According to the New York Times summary of the a r t i c l e , "Herr Wandel said the communes could be understood New York Times. January 25, 1959, p. L . ii+5 only i n terms of the s p e c i f i c conditions found i n China. Developments i n China arise from conditions much di f f e r e n t 23 from those i n other countries, Herr Wandel said." J Thus, the communes were explained away as arising solely from unique objective conditions i n China. The communes and Mao's theorizing was deliberately rejected as a possible alternative road for the other bloc countries. This statement by Wandel, therefore, suggests great significance of the communes as an id e o l o g i c a l challenge to Russian leadership over the bloc's t r a n s i t i o n to communism. At the same time Wandel's a r t i c l e seemed to indicate an acceptance of the commune system i n i t s revised form, and an attitude of non-interference as long as the Chinese did not seek to prescribe for the rest of the bloc as well as for themselves. The tone set by the German Ambassador i n this a r t i c l e proved to be a harbinger of the i d e o l o g i c a l position adopted by the Russian leaders at the 21st Congress a few weeks l a t e r . 23 New York Times. January iH, 1 9 5 9 , p. 3 . CHAPTER VII THE TWENTY-FIRST CONGRESS AND THE AFTERMATH: TEMPORARY TRUCE As has been pointed out, the timing of the decision to c a l l the 21st Congress was a strong i n d i c a t i o n that Khrushchev intended to use thi s forum as a vehicle to mount his i d e o l o g i c a l reply to the Chinese challenge and to win back the i d e o l o g i c a l i n i t i a t i v e . Although the Congress was formally c a l l e d to discuss the new Seven Year Plan, i t was, i n r e a l i t y , a Congress convened i n order to lay down the ide o l o g i c a l l i n e on the t r a n s i t i o n to communism, just as the 22nd Congress was c a l l e d two years l a t e r to lay down the l i n e of the international communist movement on revolution and peaceful co-existence. The CPSU Congress was an i d e a l vehicle for this since, unlike the Chinese party congress eight months e a r l i e r , there were delegations from seventy parties i n attendance i n Moscow, headed by such important bloc personalities as Chou E n - l a i , and the European s a t e l l i t e leaders. The most important single event of the Congress was Khrushchev 1s lengthy speech, i n which he devoted a whole section to the "New State i n Communist Construction and Some Problems of Marxist-Leninist Theory". This was to become the most authoritative statement of the Soviet ide o l o g i c a l position on the question of the t r a n s i t i o n to communism throughout the Ik7 d i s p u t e o v e r t h e communes , a n d r e m a i n s t h e b a s i c d o c u m e n t d e f i n i n g S o v i e t p o l i c y a n d i d e o l o g y on t h i s m a t t e r e v e n t o d a y . K h r u s h c h e v b e g a n b y d i s c u s s i n g " t h e t w o p h a s e s o f c o m m u n i s t s o c i e t y a n d t h e l a w s g o v e r n i n g t h e g r o w i n g o f s o c i a l i s m i n t o c o m m u n i s m . " H e e m p h a s i z e d t h a t M a r x , E n g e l s a n d L e n i n h a d a l l m a i n t a i n e d t h a t f o l l o w i n g t h e r e v o l u t i o n a r y o v e r t h r o w o f c a p i t a l i s t s o c i e t y , t h e new o r d e r w o u l d p a s s t h r o u g h t w o d i s t i n c t s t a g e s : a l o w e r p h a s e ( s o c i a l i s t ) a n d a h i g h e r p h a s e ( c o m m u n i s m ) . M o r e o v e r , h e a s s e r t e d t h a t t h i s p a r t i c u l a r s e g m e n t o f M a r x i s t - L e n i n i s t t h e o r y h a d b e e n s u b -s t a n t i a t e d b y t h e h i s t o r i c a l e x p e r i e n c e o f t h e S o v i e t U n i o n , w h i c h h a d c o m p l e t e d t h e b u i l d i n g o f t h e f i r s t p h a s e some y e a r s ago a n d h a d now e n t e r e d " a new p e r i o d i n w h i c h s o c i a l i s m g r o w s i n t o c o m m u n i s m . " 1 R e p l y i n g on t h e t w i n s o u r c e s o f M a r x i s t - L e n i n i s t t h e o r y a n d S o v i e t e x p e r i e n c e , K h r u s h c h e v w e n t o n t o f o r m u l a t e t h r e e b a s i c p r o p o s i t i o n s c o n c e r n i n g t h e n a t u r e o f t h i s t w o -p h a s e t r a n s i t i o n t o p u r e c o m m u n i s m . F i r s t o f a l l , h e a s s e r t e d , " t h e t r a n s i t i o n f r o m t h e s o c i a l i s t t o t h e h i g h e r s t a g e i s a l a w - g o v e r n e d h i s t o r i c a l p r o c e s s t h a t c a n n o t be v i o l a t e d o r b y p a s s e d a t w i l l ; . . . s o c i e t y c a n n o t l e a p s t r a i g h t f r o m c a p i t a l i s m t o communism w i t h o u t g o i n g t h r o u g h t h e s o c i a l i s t N . S . K h r u s h c h e v , C o n t r o l F i g u r e s f o r t h e E c o n o m i c D e v e l o p m e n t o f t h e U . S . S . R . f o r 1 9 5 9 - 1 9 6 5 : R e p o r t D e l i v e r e d a t 2 1 s t E x t r a o r d i n a r y C o n g r e s s o f t h e C o m m u n i s t P a r t y o f t h e S o v i e t U n i o n , J a n u a r y 2 7 , 1959 ( M o s c o w , F o r e i g n L a n g u a g e s P u b l i s h i n g H o u s e , 1959), p. l l k . l»+8 stage." 2 This, of course, was a clear i d e o l o g i c a l thrust at the Chinese who had o r i g i n a l l y intimated that the communes were a shortcut to communism. The charge that the Chinese were attempting to "skip over" a stage was one of the most serious l e v e l l e d at the Chinese during the more heated moments of the dispute over the communes and was one of the most deeply resented. In expanding the proposition that i t i s impossible to skip over h i s t o r i c a l stages, Khrushchev denounced "e g a l i t a r i a n communism" and the premature i n t r o -duction of d i s t r i b u t i o n according to needs. Apparently referr i n g to the Chinese, he remarked that: Some comrades might, of course, suggest that we accelerate the introduction of the p r i n -cip l e s of communism. But to pass prematurely to d i s t r i b u t i o n according to needs . . . would only impair the work of building communism . . . . This 'egalitarian communism* would only eat up our stockpiles, make extended reproduction impossible and block successful expansion of the economy. We must advance step bv step creating the material and s p i r i t u a l requisites for a methodical t r a n s i t i o n to communism.3 In this passage the Soviet leader not only p u l l s the i d e o l o g i -c a l rug from beneath Chinese f l i r t a t i o n with egalitarianism, but also answers c r i t i c i s m s implied by the Chinese i n the autumn that the Russians were holding back the advance to communism. 2 I b i d . , p. 115. -JLoc. c i t . 1 L9 The second of Khrushchev*s three propositions proved to be s t r i k i n g l y similar to Mao's revised theory of "unin-terrupted revolution" which had appeared i n the December 10 resolution. He conceded that "notwithstanding a l l the differences between the communist and s o c i a l i s t stages, there i s no wall separating these two stages of s o c i a l development.'^ Thus, while Mao had e a r l i e r made the concession that there were two d i s t i n c t stages and that the two stages "should not be confused", the Soviet leader now bowed to the Chinese view that "no Great Wall exists or can be allowed to exist between the democratic revolution and the s o c i a l i s t revolu-t i o n , and between socialism and communism." It i s d i f f i c u l t to believe that this meeting of minds on such an important point developed without private consultation between the two parties, especially i n view of Khrushchev's state of mind on December 1 i n h i s interview with Humphrey. It i s almost certain that discussions took place between the Soviet leaders and Chou E n - l a i on a number of i d e o l o g i c a l and economic issues, immediately preceding the Congress. This point of view i s substantiated by the f a c t that Khrushchev did not p u b l i c l y "deny" Humphrey's account of Khrushchev's remarks u n t i l his speech at the Congress on January 27 (the American Senator's report had been published weeks e a r l i e r ) . The Senator himself commented on the significance of the delayed Loc. c i t i5o attack i n a speech delivered i n the Senate following Khrush-chev's speech, suggesting that the Chinese had asked for a public denial of his remarks.^ (It i s also noteworthy that the Soviet Premier at no time actually denied making the remarks attributed to him, but merely announced how 'unthinkable* i t would be for any con f i d e n t i a l exchange to 6 have taken place.) In f a c t , the whole tone of the speech by Khrushchev, suggested that a considerable degree of co n c i l i a t i o n had occurred behind the scenes before the Congress opened. And, of course, this meeting of minds had been f a c i l i t a t e d greatly by the general Chinese id e o l o g i c a l retreat of December 10, which had opened up the way to some kind of i d e o l o g i c a l r e c o n c i l i a t i o n . Khrushchev's t h i r d main theoretical proposition embodied a further defense of the Soviet Union against charges of "conservatism", and was designed to counter suggestions that Soviet preoccupation with increasing the nation's material abundance meant a slowing down of the revolutionary advance to communism. Thus, the Soviet leader stated that the "gradual t r a n s i t i o n to communism should not be understood as a decelerated movement. On the contrary, i t i s a period of rapid development . . . ." Defending his p o l i c i e s of stressing %ew York Times. February 7, 1959. ^Khrushchev, on. c i t . , p. 187. 151 b e t t e r management a n d m a t e r i a l i n c e n t i v e s i n t h e t r a n s i t i o n t o - c o m m u n i s m , K h r u s h c h e v s t r o n g l y e m p h a s i z e d t h a t t h e c o r r e c t r o a d l a y n o t i n i n s t i t u t i o n a l c h a n g e s ( l i k e t h e communes) b u t i n i n c r e a s e d p r o d u c t i o n . I n c r e a s e d p r o d u c t i o n , h e p r o c l a i m e d , w a s t h e e s s e n t i a l f a c t o r i n s p e e d i n g t h e a d v a n c e t o commun ism: T h i s o b j e c t i v e p r o c e s s o f s o c i a l i s m g r o w i n g i n t o communism c a n be a c c e l e r a t e d on t h e b a s i s o f t h e h i g h l e v e l o f m a t e r i a l p r o d u c -t i o n a t t a i n e d i n t h e p e r i o d o f s o c i a l i s m . T h e r e m u s t be n o undue h a s t e , no h u r r i e d i n t r o d u c t i o n o f m e a s u r e s t h a t h a v e n o t y e t m a t u r e d . T h i s w o u l d l e a d t o d i s t o r t i o n s a n d w o u l d d i s c r e d i t o u r c a u s e . 7 H e r e i s a c l e a r r e f e r e n c e t o t h e communes , r e i t e r a t i n g o n c e more t h e S o v i e t v i e w t h a t t h i s f o r m o f s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n w a s i n t r o d u c e d p r e m a t u r e l y I n C h i n a , b e f o r e o b j e c t i v e c o n d i t i o n s w e r e r i p e , a n d s u g g e s t i n g t h a t c o m m u n e - i z a t i o n h a d h u r t t h e b l o c ' s i m a g e . A t t h e same t i m e , i t w a s a l s o a d e f e n s e o f t h e S o v i e t p o l i c y o f r e t a i n i n g t h e c o l l e c t i v e s a s t h e b a s i c a g r i c u l t u r a l u n i t , e c h o i n g t h e a r g u m e n t s o f t h e p r e v i o u s s p r i n g , t o t h e e f f e c t t h a t t h e c o l l e c t i v e s d i d n o t n e e d t o be s u p e r s e d e d b y some o t h e r f o r m , b e c a u s e t h e y s t i l l r e t a i n e d i n e x h a u s t i b l e p o t e n t i a l f o r i n c r e a s e d p r o d u c t i o n . W h i l e c o u n s e l l i n g a g a i n s t undue h a s t e , K h r u s h c h e v a l s o a s s e r t e d t h a t , " o n t h e o t h e r h a n d , we m u s t n o t s t o p l o n g a t w h a t we I b i d . , p . 116. 152 g have already achieved; that would lead to stagnation." But he made i t clear that his idea of moving ahead towards communism was to increase production, and that the fundamental practical task today is to build UP the material and technical base of communist society, secure a further powerful expansion of the socialist production forces . . . . In laying emphasis in the coming period, on the building of the material and technical base of communism, we proceed in every respect from Marxist-Leninism and the experience of the Soviet Union and a l l the socialist countries.9 By putting i t this way, Ihruschev was making i t clear that this was a pronouncement which was universally binding on a l l socialist countries. After collectivization, production was the most important task of a l l the socialist regimes, and other issues must be subordinated to i t . It is interesting to note the difference in emphasis in the other prerequisites to communism between the Chinese and Soviet parties. Whereas to the Russians, increased production was the matter of greatest Importance, the Chinese emphasized much more the organization and "spiritual" aspects in the struggle to prepare the foundations of communism. And this proved to be one of the most contentious areas of the dispute over the correct road to communism. To the Chinese, increased produc-tion was just one of several prerequisites. They had stressed that the communes would have as one of their tasks the Loc. cit. Ibid., p. 119. 153 elimination of the differences between town and country, which Marx and Lenin had proclaimed was a necessity for the achievement of communism. Moreover, the Chinese were much more concerned to raise the "ideological consciousness" of the masses i n order to prepare them to look upon work as a labour of love, and to work "according to their a b i l i t i e s " as incentives and coercion were gradually removed, and communism came closer. To the Chinese, the communes were an instrument to achieve a l l these prerequisites, not just the material ones: the communist consciousness and morality of the entire people w i l l be elevated to a much higher degree; universal education w i l l be achieved and the l e v e l raised; the differences between worker and peasant, be-tween town and country, between mental and manual labour . . . and the remnants of unequal bourgeois rights which are the r e f l e c t i o n of these differences w i l l gradually vanish . . . .10 These differences would not magically disappear, any more than production could somehow magically increase—they were differences which the party would have to a c t i v e l y reduce and eliminate through a prolonged nationwide e f f o r t . The commune, by combining industry and agriculture sought to erase the differences gradually between town and country. But what, the Chinese might ask, were the Russians doing about these problems? The Soviet party had rejected the commune and had made no move to integrate industry and agriculture; on 1 0From the December 10th Commune Resolution. i 5 k the contrary, i t had announced that the c o l l e c t i v e s , as b a s i c a l l y a g r i c u l t u r a l units, would remain i n d e f i n i t e l y i n Soviet society. It was here that the Russians l e f t them-selves open to Chinese charges of conservatism, and of ha l t i n g the revolutionary advance towards communism. Material abundance alone could not open the door to the communist society. But i n Khrushchev's 21st Congress speech, he in f e r r e d that by concentrating the party's e f f o r t s on increasing production, that somehow the other prerequisites to communism would naturally follow on. Thus, he claimed that: as s o c i a l i s t production i s extended on a new material and technical base, and as education i s more clos e l y linked with productive labour, the essential d i s t i n c t i o n s between mental and physical labour w i l l gradually disappear. The all-round development of our people w i l l trans-form labour into man's prime want. This w i l l be f a c i l i t a t e d by the forthcoming reduction i n working hours and further improvement of working conditions. When every branch of industry i s automated and man becomes the master of the machine, he w i l l have to devote less time and energy to producing things he needs. Labour, which at times i s s t i l l arduous and t i r i n g , w i l l become a source of joy and pleasure f o r a harmoniously developed healthy person.11 L i t t l e mention was made of id e o l o g i c a l considerations or of how this " a l l round development" was going to take place. Somehow, increased production would naturally solve the important problems and "contradictions" which stood i n the Khrushchev, op. c i t . , p. 119. 155 way of Marx's Utopia. There i s l i t t l e i n d i c a t i o n of a p r a c t i c a l party program p a r a l l e l i n g production development which would seek to raise the i d e o l o g i c a l consciousness of the people to prepare the way for the introduction of the communist p r i n c i p l e of d i s t r i b u t i o n . As the Chinese were well aware from their i n i t i a l experience with the communes, when communist "morality" and "consciousness" are not developed to an adequate l e v e l , the population merely takes according to needs, but doesn't replenish according to t h e i r a b i l i t y to produce. In other words, they give as l i t t l e as they can and take a l l that they can get. To establish i n people the appropriate communist conscience to enable the state to introduce the communist system of d i s t r i b u t i o n i s an immense task requiring a fundamental change of human nature throughout the population. Yet, the Chinese who were constantly struggling, through mass campaigns and thought reform programs, to raise the id e o l o g i c a l consciousness of their workers and peasants, were doing f a r more i n this regard than their Russian comrades who claimed to be much closer to the attainment of pure communism. From the Chinese point of view, i t looked very much as though Khrushchev was l i t t l e concerned with r e a l l y working to achieve the non-economic prerequisites of communism, and i t appeared that h i s overriding concern was to raise the standard of l i v i n g of h i s people and to give them a b e t t e r — n o t necessarily a communist—life. While paying l i p service to the requirements l a i d down by Marx 156 and to the goal of eventually entering communism, i n actual practice, the Soviet leader was even s a c r i f i c i n g ideology, when expedient, to increase the flow of production. In short, i t looked very much as though Khrushchev had compromised the revolutionary advance of h i s nation towards communism, and had l o s t sight of the ultimate goal. In many ways the Soviet Union had evolved more towards bourgeois society than towards communist society since the death of S t a l i n . In defending the maintenance of the p r i n c i p l e of di s t r i b u t i n g according to work during the period of building communism, the Soviet leader appealed to the fac t that e a r l i e r Soviet history had shown the premature introduction of the communist system of d i s t r i b u t i o n to be disastrous. Thus, he concluded, u n t i l communism was achieved, society must stringently control both labour and consumption. Using this h i s t o r i c a l argument as a springboard to launch a th i n l y v e i l e d lecture aimed at h i s Chinese guests, Khrushchev b i t i n g l y proclaimed: This country passed through a period of 'war communism1 when, as a temporary measure, we were obliged to abandon the p r i n c i p l e of d i s t r i b u t i o n according to work and adopt 'di s t r i b u t i o n according to mouths*. This was not due to abundance, but to an acute shortage of food and consumers* goods . . . . That method of d i s t r i b u t i o n , however, could not be regarded as normal. Its defects came to the surface immediately the country attacked the job of economic r e h a b i l i t a t i o n and development. Lenin f o r t h r i g h t l y stated that without a material incentive giving every worker an interest i n the results of his work, there 157 could be no question of ra i s i n g the country's productive capacity or of building a s o c i a l i s t economy, and leading millions forward to communism.12 Forcing the lesson home, he added: the s o c i a l i s t p r i n c i p l e of d i s t r i b u t i o n according to work i s based on the understanding that i n the s o c i a l i s t stage, e g a l i t a r i a n d i s t r i b u t i o n i s impossible . . . . We cannot disregard the fact that l e v e l l i n g would lead to an unjust method of d i s t r i b u t i o n : the bad worker and the good would receive an equal share which would be to the advantage of the slackers . . . . Levelling would mean not tr a n s i t i o n to communism, but the di s c r e d i t i n g of communism.13 Not once does Khrushchev mention the communes by name—either the former Soviet ones or the current ones i n China—but these remarks are a clear indictment of the Chinese passion for " l e v e l l i n g " v i a the communes, and serve as a stern warning against further attempts at egalitarianism, which only serve to d i s c r e d i t the whole communist cause. The fact that the Soviet party leader did not mention the communes by name especially during h i s discussion of the period of war communism, i s a strong i n d i c a t i o n that he was loath to publ i c l y raise the commune issue, since he would then have had either to d i r e c t l y attack the Chinese "innovations" or to defend the Soviet policy of rejecting the commune as a useful s o c i a l unit i n the tr a n s i t i o n to communism. This Ibid., p. 121. Ibid.. p. 123. 158 avoidance of a d i r e c t confrontation of the Russian and Chinese paths to communism was strong evidence that a considerable area of dispute s t i l l remained despite the p a r t i a l i d e o l o g i c a l retreat by the Chinese i n December. While being careful not to raise the s p e c i f i c issue of the communes, Khrushchev did re i t e r a t e that the road to communism i n the Soviet Union would involve the "growing together" of the two forms of ownership—collective and state—and completely ignored the commune as having any future role to play i n the process. Moreover, he strongly emphasized that during the current stage, cooperative property would continue to be developed, despite the fact that some were urging that the process of merging be carried out immediately. "Property forms," he charged, "cannot be changed at w i l l . They develop i n accordance with economic laws and depend on the nature and l e v e l of the productive forces. The c o l l e c t i v e system f u l l y accords with the present l e v e l and development Ik requirement of the productive forces i n agriculture." He pointed out that agriculture had lagged behind i n l a t t e r years only because poor use was being made of c o l l e c t i v e s * p o t e n t i a l i t i e s , not because they were obsolete. The new upsurge i n agriculture, he concluded: i s conclusive proof that the collective-farm form of production r e l a t i o n s , f ar from having used up i t s p o t e n t i a l i t i e s , serves—and w i l l Ibid. , p. I2h 159 continue to do so for a long time to come— to enhance the productive forces i n agriculture. 15 Embodied i n these declarations i s the implication that the Chinese property forms had been "changed at w i l l " , contrary to objective conditions and the l e v e l of the productive forces. I f the Soviet Union at her stage of production s t i l l found the c o l l e c t i v e s to be the appropriate form of production relations for many years to come, then how could the Chinese j u s t i f y their p o licy of discarding the c o l l e c t i v e s ? Khrush-chev's remarks thus had more than just simple domestic implications. Discussing the significance of the eventual growing together of c o l l e c t i v e and public property forms, the Soviet leader alluded b r i e f l y to the Important question of obliterating the differences between town and country—a question to which the Chinese accorded great importance. He emphatically stated that: the merger of collective-farm-cooperative property with state property into an i n t e g r a l public property i s not a simple organiza-t i o n a l and economic measure, but i s the solution of the cardinal problem of bridging the essential d i s t i n c t i o n between town and country.1° Moreover, he added, "the party's subsequent aim (after the Seven Year Program) w i l l be to convert the collective-farm v i l l a g e s into modern urban-type communities supplied with a l l 15 16: Ibid., p. 125. Ibid., p. 126. 160 the l a t e s t municipal and c u l t u r a l f a c i l i t i e s . " 1 ' 7 This, then, was Khrushchev's alternative to the challenge i n i t i a t e d by the Chinese, who had given the commune the role of removing the differences between town and country. The Chinese had forced the Soviet leader into somehow re t r i e v i n g the i n i t i a t i v e on these i d e o l o g i c a l questions which had l a i n dormant i n the Soviet Union for years. He could not remain s i l e n t on these issues now that the Chinese had i n i t i a t e d a program designed to solve them, and he could not accept the Chinese solution, since communes had already been repudiated i n the Soviet Union. Thus he was forced to develop a theory based upon the already-announced plan to eventually merge state and c o l l e c t i v e property. The re s u l t was the "agro-c i t y " concept. But again, t h i s was something relegated to the future and subordinated to the task of increasing production. But i n theory, at le a s t , Khrushchev was able to formulate a plausible alternative to the Chinese plan; A g r i c u l t u r a l e l e c t r i f i c a t i o n , mechanization and automation w i l l lead to the pooling, to a kind of merger, of c o l l e c t i v e farm produc-ti o n f a c i l i t i e s with state, or public f a c i l i t i e s . A g r i c u l t u r a l labour w i l l gradually become a variety of i n d u s t r i a l labour.I" Perhaps the most st r i k i n g aspect of these words i s their lack of c l a r i t y , authority, and explicitness. One 1 7 L o c . c i t . . l 8 I b i d . , p. 125 . l 6 l paragraph i s a l l that Khrushchev devotes to this v i t a l Marxist question of the "contradiction" between town and country, and h i s words lack certainty and conviction; indeed, his discussion of the whole point i s vague. And, of course, the whole process was dependent on greater achievements i n technology and production, and apparently occurred "naturally" with l i t t l e party p a r t i c i p a t i o n . Certainly Khrushchev was far from being e x p l i c i t , and h i s words gave the impression that this theory of the eventual merging of town and country was more an i d e o l o g i c a l gambit than a purposeful guide to action. And by postponing the merging process u n t i l a future date, he l e f t the impression that he was l i t t l e concerned with these n i c e t i e s of Marxist theory. Moreover, while plausible, his conception of how to solve the differences between worker and farmer i s flimsy when compared to the Chinese program. In Principles of Communism, Engels had said " . . . contradiction between town and country w i l l disappear. Those performing a g r i c u l t u r a l and i n d u s t r i a l labour w i l l be the same persons instead of two di f f e r e n t classes." But Khrushchev made no statement which would indicate a policy of decentralizing industry, and of establishing basic s o c i a l units which would include both industry and agriculture. He suggests, rather, that somehow through mechanization and automation, jobs i n agriculture w i l l become more and more l i k e those i n industry. On the other hand, the Chinese had proposed and introduced a s o c i a l unit 162 -which integrated industry and agriculture; and with their program of backyard furnaces had actually accomplished, temporarily, the task of combining a g r i c u l t u r a l and i n d u s t r i a l labour i n the same i n d i v i d u a l . Thus, there was s t i l l a considerable difference between Chinese and Soviet roads to communism; and despite h i s formulation of a s p e c i f i c theory outlining the future achievement of Soviet society along Marxist l i n e s , Khrushchev's approach was s t i l l one which could give concern to doctrinaire Marxist-Leninists l i k e the Chinese. The 21st Congress speech by Khrushchev, and Chinese reaction to i t , had a l l the indications of a major rapproche-ment despite the fact that the commune issue was s t i l l f a r from being completely resolved. It has been mentioned before that one probable factor i n the i d e o l o g i c a l retreat conducted by the Chinese i n December was Soviet economic pressure. From the concluding portion of Khrushchev's speech, i t would also appear that economic inducement was also a factor i n helping to smooth over Sino-Soviet differences. Indeed, i t i s no accident that Khrushchev reversed the p o l i c y voiced by Strumilin i n the autumn, to the effect that the U.S.S.R. and the European s a t e l l i t e s would go over to communism i n a bloc, leaving China and her entourage to enter communism at a much la t e r stage. The Implied threat i n Strumilin*s statement was that i f the Chinese did not care to follow Soviet i d e o l o g i c a l leadership, then they would be l e f t to 163 "stew i n their own juice" economically. Now, at the 2 1 s t Congress, Khrushchev repudiated this p o l i cy and pledged Soviet help to bring the formerly backward s o c i a l i s t states up to the Soviet l e v e l : The economic law operating under socialism i s balanced proportional development, with the r e s u l t that countries economically backward i n the past are rapidly able to make up for l o s t time and raise their economic and c u l t u r a l levels by drawing on the experience, cooperation and mutual assistance of other s o c i a l i s t countries. In t h i s way the economic and c u l t u r a l progress of a l l the s o c i a l i s t countries i s evened out.19 On the s p e c i f i c question of the t r a n s i t i o n to communism, he described as "highly improbable" the situation of one country achieving communism before the others and leaving them " t r a i l i n g behind somewhere i n the early stages of s o c i a l i s t construction." Instead he asserted that: from a theoretical standpoint, i t would appear more correct to assume that by successfully employing the p o t e n t i a l i t i e s inherent i n socialism, the s o c i a l i s t countries w i l l more or less simultaneously pass to the higher phase of communist society.2 0 The fact that an extensive aid agreement was announced immediately following the Congress s i g n i f i e d that the factor of Soviet economic assistance was one of the important ones i n achieving the temporary i d e o l o g i c a l truce. However, i t should be noted that Khrushchev had referred i n Ibid., p. 1 3 L . 'ibid. , p. 1 3 3 . 161* his remarks to "successfully employing p o t e n t i a l i t i e s i n -herent i n socialism" as the ultimate precondition to the "simultaneous t r a n s i t i o n " thesis. To Khrushchev t h i s meant f u l l economic integration of the bloc, i f we are to judge from h i s previous statements on t h i s subject. It should be remembered i n this regard that the Chinese had declined i n May of 1958 at a Moscow meeting of C.E.M.A. to f u l l y i n t e -grate their economy with that of the European communist states, and had steadfastly refused to submit to Soviet economic domination. Immediately after t h i s meeting (which was deemed important enough to be attended by the bloc leaders themselves) Khrushchev made his b i t t e r remarks about economic isolationism, asking "could the r i c h opportunities of the s o c i a l i s t countries be exploited i f each country acted i n i s o l a t i o n , stewed i n i t s own juice as the saying 21 goes?" He had noted then that "only . . . the strengthening of all-round cooperation and mutual aid assure a general i n -crease i n the s o c i a l i s t economy and the advancing of the 22 formerly underdeveloped countries to the l e v e l of the advanced." 21 N. S. Khrushchev, "Speech at the Seventh Congress of the Bulgarian Communist Party," Pravda. June k, 1958; Current Digest of the Soviet Press, Vol. X, no. 22, p. 8. 22 Loc. c i t . ; i n a similar vein at the 21st Congress Khrushchev reaffirmed h i s view that "International d i v i s i o n of labour p a r t i c u l a r l y i n i t s highest f o r m s — s p e c i a l i z a t i o n and cooperation—are to play a big part i n the economic development of the s o c i a l i s t camp . . . . By i t s e l f no country could develop at the rapid pace at which i t develops within the system of s o c i a l i s t countries." 165 T h u s , - w h i l e t h e F e b r u a r y 1959 a i d a g r e e m e n t h e l p e d t o s m o o t h o v e r r e l a t i o n s b e t w e e n C h i n a a n d t h e S o v i e t U n i o n , K h r u s h c h e v w a s s t i l l h o l d i n g o u t f o r C h i n e s e e c o n o m i c i n t e g r a t i o n ; a n d t h i s w a s t o be t h e s o u r c e o f c o n t i n u i n g c o n f l i c t . A t t h e e n d o f h i s l e n g t h y d i s c u s s i o n o f " . . . Some P r o b l e m s o f M a r x L s t - L e n i n i s t T h e o r y " i n h i s b o o k - l e n g t h s p e e c h , K h r u s h c h e v r e f e r r e d , s i g n i f i c a n t l y , t o " Y u g o s l a v . . . i n v e n t i o n s a b o u t t h e a l l e g e d d i f f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n t h e c o m m u n i s t p a r t i e s o f t h e S o v i e t U n i o n a n d C h i n a . " The S o v i e t l e a d e r p u b l i c l y d e n i e d t h a t d i f f e r e n c e s e x i s t e d , w h i l e a d m i t t i n g t h a t t h e C h i n e s e w e r e f o l l o w i n g a d i f f e r e n t p a t h o f d e v e l o p -m e n t . " T h e C o m m u n i s t P a r t y o f C h i n a , " h e s a i d , " i s e m p l o y i n g many o r i g i n a l f o r m s o f s o c i a l i s t c o n s t r u c t i o n . B u t we h a v e 23 no d i s a g r e e m e n t s w i t h i t , n o r c a n t h e r e be a n y d i s a g r e e m e n t . " J F o l l o w i n g t h e C h i n e s e a r g u m e n t h e s t a t e d t h a t " i n C h i n a t h e r e a r e s p e c i f i c f e a t u r e s i n h i s t o r i c a l d e v e l o p m e n t , s i z e o f p o p u l a t i o n , l e v e l o f p r o d u c t i o n a n d n a t i o n a l c u l t u r e . I t w o u l d be a m i s t a k e t o i g n o r e t h e s e s p e c i a l f e a t u r e s a n d t o c o p y w h a t i s g o o d f o r one c o u n t r y b u t u n s u i t a b l e f o r a n o t h e r . " Then h e made a m o s t i m p o r t a n t a d m i s s i o n ( s h e d d i n g l i g h t on h i s p r e v i o u s r e m a r k t h a t t h e r e c o u l d be n o d i s a g r e e m e n t ) , s a y i n g t h a t , " T h e q u e s t i o n o f m e t h o d s a n d p r a c t i c e i n s o c i a l i s t ^ K h r u s h c h e v , R e p o r t t o t h e 2 1 s t C o n g r e s s , O P . c i t . , P . 135. 2 k I b i d . , p . 136. 166 construction i s a domestic a f f a i r of each country." y Of course, i d e o l o g i c a l claims are another matter, but Khrushchev here rei t e r a t e s the l i n e formulated i n 1957 at the Moscow meeting of f r a t e r n a l parties, which gave each party the right to take i t s own road to socialism within the bounds of Marxist-Leninism. This raises the Interesting point once more, that had the Chinese not introduced their r a d i c a l i d e o l o g i c a l claims for the communes, the Soviet party would not have reacted nearly so strongly to the Chinese experiment. Of course, i t s t i l l remains a matter of subjective i n t e r -pretation as to when a nation has overstepped the bounds of Marxist-Leninism under the guise of adapting i t to l o c a l conditions. As Khrushchev had pointed out, "every country has i t s own s p e c i f i c features of s o c i a l i s t development. But that does not mean that we can go forward to socialism by some other road, one that l i e s to the side of the general ? 6 path indicated by Marxist-Leninism." In this manner, he was able to uphold the Chinese deviation from Soviet experience, while condemning the road taken by Marshal Tito i n Yugoslavia. At the same time, the door was l e f t open f o r c r i t i c i s m of the Chinese i f the future situation warranted i t ; and pa r t i c u l a r l y i f ideological deviation was renewed to a dangerous degree. Loc. c i t . Ibid., p. 135. 167 In summary then, i t can be said that Khrushchev's speech was i n essence c o n c i l i a t o r y , matching the tone taken by the Chinese i n the December 10 resolution, and providing the theoretical and p r a c t i c a l bridge necessary to bring the Chinese and Soviet positions to common ground. From the Chinese point of view, i t could be said that they had succeeded i n prodding the Soviet leader to lay down a program for the achievement of communism and to speed up the lethargic revolutionary progress of the Soviet Union, as well as winning Soviet recognition of the right to build socialism i n their own way. At the same time, however, by h i s refusal to s p e c i f i c a l l y mention the commune and by his references to Soviet experience with e g a l i t a r i a n experi-ments, Khrushchev made i t clear that he s t i l l did not approve of the Chinese "innovations". Moreover, he f o r t h r i g h t l y stated that r a d i c a l i d e o l o g i c a l claims such as those which had been made i n China during the autumn, could not and would not be tolerated. Chou En-lai's Congress Speech As has been noted previously, the Chinese Communist Party sent Chou E n - l a i to head the Chinese delegation to the 21st Congress. Chou's speech to the Congress was delivered on January 28, the day after Khrushchev's marathon address, and was by contrast, r e l a t i v e l y b r i e f . Although i t touched on a wide range of subjects, the Chinese premier's speech stressed two major themes: the significance of the Seven Year Plan, and the successes of China's leap forward and the communes. In discussing the Seven Year Plan, i t was p a r t i -c u l a r l y noticeable that Chou gave equal emphasis to the " s p i r i t u a l " aspects of building a communist society, despite the fact that the Seven Year Plan was almost e n t i r e l y based upon the material aspects. Thus, while noting the planned increases i n production and standards of l i v i n g , he also stressed the f a c t that: The Seven Year Plan also lays i t down that the Soviet Union w i l l further enhance the communist consciousness of the broad masses of the people, w i l l further develop public education on the p r i n c i p l e of lin k i n g education with the r e a l i t i e s of l i f e , and raise the new communist man who w i l l con-scientiously observe the norms of s o c i a l l i f e , i s well versed i n science and well p n developed both physically and i n t e l l e c t u a l l y . ' Herein, one can f i n d once more signs of the differences i n approach between the Chinese and Soviet parties—between emphasis on material and emphasis on s p i r i t u a l prerequisites to communism. Despite this remaining difference i n emphasis, however, Chou praised the new program of the CPSU for the transition to communism and gave i t f u l l Chinese support. "It can be c l e a r l y seen that the p r a c t i c a l r e a l i z a t i o n of t h i s plan w i l l be of great h i s t o r i c a l significance. It w i l l show the world the way of t r a n s i t i o n from socialism to communism 'Chou E n - l a i , "Speech to the 21st Congress," Peking Review. No. 5, 1959, p. 6. 169 28 and thus further enrich the treasury of Marxist-Leninism." Of course, the actual r e a l i z a t i o n of the plan was something of which the Chinese might be j u s t l y s c e p t i c a l i n the l i g h t of the directions of Soviet society since the death of S t a l i n ; and by stating their approval i n this way they were able to withhold f i n a l judgement u n t i l the Russians had shown their sincere resolve to build the s p i r i t u a l foundations of communism among the Soviet people. Turning to a consideration of Chinese e f f o r t s i n the advance towards communism, Chou asserted that the Chinese people were t r a v e l l i n g the same broad highway as the Soviet Union and the other s o c i a l i s t countries--"the road of the October revolution". Through the use of this device Chou was able to proclaim fundamental unity within the communist bloc. Of course, "the road of the October revolution" was by no means synonymous with the Soviet road to communism. It merely referred to the general p r i n c i p l e s of proletarian revolution, communist dictatorship, proletarian-peasant a l l i a n c e , s o c i a l i z a t i o n of the national economy, and planned development, which were common to a l l states within the bloc, and which formed the basis of i d e o l o g i c a l orthodoxy, as l a i d out at the Moscow meeting of f r a t e r n a l parties i n November 1957. However, by stating that Chinese s o c i a l i s t Loc. c j t 170 construction conformed to these p r i n c i p l e s of Marxist-Leninism, the Chinese leader was c l e a r l y reasserting that the Chinese deviation from the Soviet road was a "permissible" one—as Khrushchev had conceded i n h i s speech the day before. Turning to s p e c i f i c s , Chou openly discussed the communes and the great leap forward, thus breaking the deliberate silence on these phenomena which had so f a r prevailed at the Congress. Accordingly, Chou told the delegates that The leap forward i n s o c i a l i s t construction, especially i n a g r i c u l t u r a l production, made the vast mass of the peasants f e e l that the former a g r i c u l t u r a l producers 1 cooperatives could no longer meet the needs of the develop-ment of the productive forces. The peasant masses i n many places made spontaneous experiments to transform and improve the ag r i c u l t u r a l producers 1 cooperatives, amalgamate small cooperatives into large ones, expand the scope of their productive a c t i v i -t i e s , combine their e f f o r t s and i n i t i a t e c o l l e c t i v e welfare i n s t i t u t i o n s and so on."29 While attempting to maintain the necessary myth that the communes were the spontaneous creation of the masses, Chou admitted that the party had at least had some role i n their formation, adding that "actively supported and guided by the Chinese Communist Party and Comrade Mao-Tse-tung, the Chinese people have created the organization form of large-scale people's communes . . . . I , 3 ° At the same time, Loc. c i t . Loc. c i t 171 however, he made no mention of the o r i g i n a l commune resolution of August 28 which had l a i d the basis for the Sino-Soviet id e o l o g i c a l c o n f l i c t which had followed, and which had resulted i n the country-wide movement to organize communes. Instead, he centered h i s remarks on the more moderate December 10 Resolution, pointing out that: The Sixth Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee of the Communist Party of China gave a very high appraisal of the peoples' communes, considering them the best form for developing socialism under Chinese conditions, the best form for the Chinese r u r a l areas to make the t r a n s i t i o n from c o l l e c t i v e ownership to owner-ship by the whole people, and the best form for China to make the t r a n s i t i o n from s o c i a l i s t to communism i n the future.31 Thus, Chou defended the communes as the most appropriate road towards communism i n China, but made i t clear that this road was not the only road and that i t did not necessarily apply to other s o c i a l i s t countries where condi-tions were d i f f e r e n t . It would appear from Khrushchev's speech that he had accepted t h i s formula as a basis f o r an i d e o l o g i c a l t r u c e — t h a t the communes were merely a phenomenon born out of l o c a l Chinese conditions and were i n no sense a challenge to the v a l i d i t y of the Soviet road i n national construction. But while the Soviet leader may have accepted this ideologi-ca l compromise with the Chinese, the seeds of c o n f l i c t s t i l l Loc. c i t 172 remained. No amount of disclaiming could erase the fac t that the communes stood as an alternative to the Soviet road of building socialism and communism, and neither could i t erase the fact that i f the communes were the optimum unit for progress under Chinese conditions, then they were also the best form for the other underdeveloped members of the bloc—Korea, Viet Niem and Mongolia, and for underdeveloped nations throughout the world. It did not matter whether the Chinese proclaimed this or n o t - - i t s t i l l remained true, and thus a challenge to Soviet leadership i n the sphere of ideology. Moreover, the communes s t i l l remained a monument to orthodox Marxist-Leninism and a r a d i c a l contrast to the conservative p o l i c i e s of the Soviet Union. As long as the communes remained i n existence and were upheld by the Chinese Party, the challenge to Soviet domestic p o l i c y remained, and the status of Peking as an alternative source of doctrinal guidance grew even stronger. Thus, the p r a c t i c a l effects remained, and were c l e a r l y evident even to the Western observer. Delegations from bloc countries toured China to view the revolutionary upsurge i n the countryside. Several delegations commented on the p o s s i b i l i t y of adapting Chinese forms to their own economy, and the whole bloc witnessed a surge towards greater c o l l e c t i v i z a t i o n . In Korea a system similar to the communes was adopted and i n some European communist countries amalgama-tion of cooperatives took place. Even the leader of a Polish 173 party delegation had lauded the communes and suggested that ^2 h i s own country might learn from them.J Chou En-lai's speech, then, by no means completely removed the causes of f r i c t i o n between the two parties, although i t did establish some semblance of id e o l o g i c a l unity on the question of the communes and the separate roads to communism. And Chou's support of the Seven Year Plan marked the temporary h a l t of Chinese charges of Soviet conservatism. Pavel Yudin on Economic Questions Pavel Yudin, Soviet Ambassador to Peking was c a l l e d upon by the party to develop the theme of Khrushchev's speech s p e c i f i c a l l y i n r e l a t i o n to "the part of this report dealing with questions of ideology and Marxism." 3 3 It i s by no means accidental that Yudin should be chosen f o r this task; indeed, i t i s an unmistakable sign that Khrushchev's remarks had been meant expressly for the Chinese and that Yudin was the best man to bring t h i s point home. It i s i n this l i g h t , then, that his remarks take on their considerable significance. J Z. Brzezinski, The Soviet Bloc: Unity and Con-f l i c t (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, I 9 6 0 ) , p. 2 8 5 . 3 3Pravda« February 1959, Current Digest of the Soviet Press, v o l . XI, no. 1 7 , p. 1 9 . 17 L "It can be said without any exaggeration," he t o l d his audience, "that the thesis regarding the t r a n s i t i o n to the second stage of communism constitutes a new chapter i n the theory of s c i e n t i f i c communism. I would l i k e to note above a l l that Leninist p r i n c i p l e s are s t r i c t l y observed here: there i s not one io t a of utopianism i n defining the conditions and roads of t r a n s i t i o n to communism."~) It i s Important to note that Yudin mentioned "Leninist" p r i n c i p l e s rather than "Marxist-Leninist" as Is usually the case. It w i l l be remembered that two of the chief arguments of the Soviet leaders rested e x p l i c i t l y on Leninist t e n e t s — t h e "Leninist cooperative plan", and the Leninist "incentive" system. Yudin did not e x p l i c i t l y charge the Chinese with not observing Leninist p r i n c i p l e s , however, although the implication i s there. Instead, he directed h i s f i r e at unnamed figures on the Soviet domestic scene, charging that "some s c i e n t i f i c personnel want to move into communism at a faster pace without taking into account actual c o n d i t i o n s . n J g / It i s l i k e l y that the views of these " s c i e n t i f i c personnel" can be traced d i r e c t l y to the s p i r i t of revolutionary enthusiasm engendered by the establishment of the communes in China. In any event, i t can be seen how the sudden Chinese leap towards communism necessarily -nourished and encouraged Loc. c i t . Loc. c i t . 175 the more r a d i c a l groups within the Soviet party and brought pressure to bear on the Soviet leaders to speed up the process of evolution towards communism. On the question of Khrushchev's new thesis regarding the simultaneous t r a n s i t i o n of the whole bloc to communism, Yudin made i t doubly clear that the precondition to large-scale Soviet aid was Chinese economic integration with C.E.M.A.—the Soviet counterpart of the European common market. Khrushchev's thesis, Yudin suggested, " i s the f i r s t formulation of the new thesis that the law of planned and proportional development applies not only to in