2. Removal of the Revolutionary Committees Means Removal of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat

To break any resistance against the rule of the new bourgeoisie and its revisionist tack, the Deng/Hua clique mainly has to bring the working class under control and take away essential rights of the working class achieved in the Cultural Revolution. The abolition of the revolutionary committees, above all, serves this purpose. As the revolutionary committees were achieved and established in the Proletarian Cultural Revolution by the masses themselves as organs of power of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the new leaders could not eliminate these committees at one sweep. In order to minimize the resistance of the Chinese working people and to deceive the masses, they smashed the revolutionary committees in three stages. At first they smashed the factory revolutionary committees. Hua Guofeng announced the corresponding decision at the First Session of the Fifth National People’s Congress on 26 February 1978:

“With the exception of those factories, mines or other enterprises where government administration is integrated with management, factories, production brigades, schools and colleges, shops, Party and government organizations and other enterprises and establishments will no longer set up revolutionary committees inasmuch as they do not form a level of government. In lieu of revolutionary committees, a system of division of responsibilities should be adopted with factory directors, production brigade leaders, school principals, college presidents, and managers taking charge under the leadership of Party committees.” (Peking Review, No. 10, 1978, p. 32)

The revolutionary committees in factories and villages (the production brigade equals roughly the Chinese village) are being abolished, the workers and small peasants thereby being deprived of their power. They are also being deprived of the control over the whole sphere of education. Everywhere the directors are to be solely in charge again. The old system from before the Cultural Revolution is being reestablished without any concession.

Hua’s ‘reasoning’ for the abolition of the revolutionary committees in factories and villages is telling: By “government” he no longer understands the power of the workers and peasants, their rights to exercise the dictatorship of the proletariat in the sphere of production, but only the “government” controlled by the new bourgeoisie. This “government” is being separated from “management.”

So with the elimination of the revolutionary committees in the production area the new bourgeoisie, on the one hand, centralizes power in the leadership of the Party and state apparatus, while, on the other hand, economic management is put into the hands of the directors only, that is of the new bourgeoisie in the enterprises, after the workers and peasants have been deprived of their right to control production.

The bourgeoisie is never at a loss for lame excuses to justify its machinations. In an article in Peking Review, No. 42, 1978, pp. 12–15, two gentlemen from Beijing, a formerly deposed Party secretary and a new factory director, adduce some further ‘reasons’ to justify the abolition of the revolutionary committees:

– The revolutionary committee allegedly does not meet the further performance requirements; it had too many members and there was no clear-cut division of responsibility; both big and small matters had to be handled and nobody really wanted to bear responsibility. –

In response to this it must be said: The authors simply hold organizational deficiencies and possibly wrong tendencies against the institution of the revolutionary committees without any examination. Organizational deficiencies are not interpreted politically and corrected politically; a proper leadership would be capable of doing so. The participation of the workers in the administration and direction of the enterprises was precisely the expression of the grown sense of responsibility of the working class, since thus the dictatorship of the proletariat in the production area was strengthened.

– The “rational rules and regulations” were allegedly abolished through the “anarchism” of the “gang of four,” and so discipline became lax. –

Regardless of what the “gang of four” purportedly did, it was, of course, perfectly right to abolish outdated rules and regulations of the old system of factory management during and after the Cultural Revolution, simply because they availed the bourgeoisie and not the proletariat and because they impeded the building of socialism. Therefore the administrative structure was radically simplified then and all kinds of bureaucratic trash was discarded. The administration was put under the control of the masses and everything was subordinated to the political leadership. We can easily imagine which “rational” rules and regulations Deng Xiaoping and his like want to reintroduce and what kind of “discipline” of the workers they would like to have!

The director of a Peking factory describes what the future administration of the enterprises shall look like:

“Leading organs in our iron-smelting factory consist of a Party committee and a working committee under the Party committee’s leadership. … [The Party committee] meets once every month to discuss and decide on important matters. The working committee, whose meetings are convened by the director [!], is made up of four deputy directors and responsible technical and administrative cadres and is in charge of day-to-day production and administrative work.” (ibid., p. 13)

In this context, a Renmin Ribao Special Commentator specifically cares for the intellectuals, for whom the revisionists have intended a particular role:

“Since the overwhelming majority of the intellectuals in our country have become part of the working class [!], we must genuinely look upon them as such, that is, members of the working class.

We must fully trust and freely use people with specialist knowledge. We must put intellectuals, both Party and non-Party members, who have a high political consciousness, who are vocationally proficient, zealous in their work and who get on well with the masses, into appropriate leading posts so as to gradually raise the number of cadres who have a good educational level and technical expertise and who know how to manage in the leading bodies of enterprises and undertakings to 30, 50 and then 70 per cent [!?] of the total. Their responsibilities should be defined. They must really have position, authority and responsibility.” (Beijing Review, No. 5, 1979, p. 15)

In his report delivered at the Second Session of the Fifth National People’s Congress, Hua Guofeng indirectly admits the difficulties the new bourgeoisie is still having in fully seizing power in the enterprises:

“… [each enterprise] should resolutely put into force a system whereby the director of a factory takes responsibility for production under the leadership of the Party committee, so that both in name and in fact he really becomes the chief administrator [!] directing production in the whole factory.” (Beijing Review, No. 27, 1979, p. 13)

Deng Xiaoping therefore wants to convert the trade unions into organs of the new bourgeoisie. In his speech at the Ninth National Trade Union Congress he demands:

“The trade unions should educate all members to safeguard highly centralized administrative leadership in their enterprises and the full authority of the production command system.” (Peking Review, No. 42, 1978, pp. 6f.)

Of course there must be a centralized administration in socialism. Only if the enterprises work according to a unified, centrally specified plan can production be geared to the interests of the people. In the individual state enterprises, however, the workers must take part in the administration and direction of production, because only then can the initiative of the masses be brought to bear in fulfilling the assigned tasks. Only with the participation of the workers in the administration and of the leading cadres in production can it be prevented that the factory management sets itself further and further apart from the workers and enjoys a plush life as a bureaucracy at the expense of the workers. It seems that at least in the Peking factory mentioned they are not very serious today about the participation of the cadres in production – not surprising considering the current course. Although this principle is still recognized in words, the director openly admits that out of 17 members of the factory Party committee a mere four persons still “take part in production and are therefore with the workers every day” (Peking Review, No. 42, 1978, p. 15)! So production workers constitute less than a quarter of the members even in the Party committee. Those four members are probably indispensable as an alibi for a ‘proletarian’ Party committee…

The “system whereby the director of a factory takes responsibility,” a “highly centralized administrative leadership” and the “full authority of the production command system” are not instruments of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the production area, but instruments of the dictatorship of the new bourgeoisie over the working class. All the material at our disposal leads to only one possible conclusion: The working class is being deprived of its power – the new bourgeoisie has seized the power also in the enterprises!

The consequences are foreseeable: The control of the new bourgeoisie over production along with the orientation of the enterprises towards profit results in capitalist laws taking effect. The unified socialist administration, the democratic centralism in economy, is thereby being destroyed. Local administrations and factory managements take its place, deciding on their own authority over production and managing the enterprises primarily by economic rather than political aspects, thus collecting the corresponding bonuses and profits. The control from below by the masses of the productive workers was abolished due to the scrapping of the revolutionary committees. The old evils of capitalist production will gradually establish themselves as we have been able to observe in the Soviet Union since 1956.

The second stage in smashing the revolutionary committees consists in changing the local revolutionary committees, which, according to the constitution and the will of the Deng/Hua clique, are to operate as the “local organs of state administration.” (Peking Review, No. 11, 1978, p. 12) Firstly, we must assume that the leadership of the Party and state apparatus is in the hands of the new bourgeoisie. That is to say, the new bourgeoisie will arrange the revolutionary committees in a way to serve its interests best. Secondly, the comparison of the corresponding articles in the constitutions of 1975 and 1978 (art. 22 and 23 of the old constitution and art. 37 of the new constitution) shows revealing changes: Now the revolutionary committees “work under the unified leadership of the State Council.” (Peking Review, No. 11, 1978, p. 12) The consequences should be obvious, since Hua Guofeng is the Premier of the State Council and Deng one of the Vice-Premiers!

And lastly, the composition of the revolutionary committees has changed quite revealingly since Mao’s death. In the article “Beijing Municipal Revolutionary Committee: Its Members” (Beijing Review, No. 20, 1979, pp. 23–27) some new members are introduced:

“There is a large number [!] of democratic personages [!] in China’s organs of state power at various levels. Ye Gongshao and Sun Fuling, both members of the Beijing revolutionary committee, are two of them.

Ye Gongshao is a member of the Central Committee of the Jiu San Society and a leading member of its Beijing branch. The society is one of the eight democratic parties in China. Its members are mostly senior intellectuals….

Sun Fuling is a representative of the national bourgeoisie and a leading member of the Beijing Federation of Industry and Commerce.

Just before liberation, Sun took over the Fuxing Flour Mill from his predecessors. It was one of the biggest private enterprises in Beijing at that time. … Sun Fuling joined the China Democratic National Construction Association, a democratic party, in the early days after liberation. He is now a member of its Central Committee. … he hopes that all patriotic former [?] capitalists will do their best to help bring about the four modernizations.” (ibid., p. 27)

Surely any comment is unnecessary. If the Suns are hopeful, the workers will have a hard time…

The citations quoted should show with the necessary clarity that the local revolutionary committees have changed massively under the rule of the new bourgeoisie.

The old, reputable name was maintained out of practical considerations in order to deceive the masses more easily. Behind the facade of these ‘revolutionary committees’ lurk the instruments of the dictatorship of the new bourgeoisie!

The third stage is the complete smashing of all revolutionary committees. As we learn from Beijing Review, No. 28, 1979, the Fifth National People’s Congress in June decreed the complete abolition of the revolutionary committees. The explanation for the corresponding amendment to the constitution states:

“The revolutionary committee, a provisional institution which appeared during the Cultural Revolution, is no longer able to meet the needs of the new period of socialist modernization. The change from local revolutionary committees to local people’s governments will not only help strengthen democracy and the legal system but will give distinctive expression to the close relationship between the government and the people.” (Beijing Review, No. 28, 1979, p. 10)