Mass-Commune

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A Significant Milestone Towards Communism I had been in China before during the high noon of the Mass-Communes. Having visited post-Revolution China this time I understand why Mao Se Tung had called them the buds of communism. A part of the acclaimed historian and scholar mathematician, Professor late D. D. Koshambi’s remarks after he had visited the Mass-Communes of China in 1959, is worth mention here. He said: Far more significant than the productive achievements are those in the administrative field. The local administration was simply abolished and the personnel absorbed within the Commune, not necessarily as administrators. The Commune takes over such of their functions directly with higher state organs. That is certain small but nevertheless important parts of the state machinery have vanished altogether. To that extent the state mechanism has begun to wither away. Control over people has been replaced by people’s control over things. scientific observation is reflective of its far-reaching significance. Unlike the Soviet joint agricultural cooperative, Mass-Commune was not a mere large-scale agricultural production unit. Besides agriculture, it focused on industry, trade, education, health and militia organization. The food crops were its ‘basic connections’, but its other facades included animal rearing, fishery, irrigation, construction of roadways, agricultural research. Above all, the Communes were organs of state power. Unlike the Soviet farmyards, they weren’t merely agricultural production units. State power in the Communes perpetuates through a secular principle of centrality within three sections – production team, production brigade and the Commune.
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Although Mass-Commune had begun at that time, Prof. Koshambi’s acute

Each section had its own council of elected representatives. The Communes that are elected for leadership on behalf of these councils are called revolutionary committees, the name bearing resonance with the Cultural Revolution. This leadership is not economical -- but it’s basically political leadership. Distributive system in the Mass-Communes strictly follows the socialist principle: One works for the Commune according to her ability, the Commune owes her accordingly she works. In other words, one works more receives more. However, the Commune provides free crops to all its members – children, youths, elders — rationed according to her age. That isn’t proportional to one’s labor. In this respect, Mass-Commune is a significant milestone towards communism. During my visit to China this time, I’m impressed by the extensive development of small-scale factories in the villages. These are not necessarily agricultural factories, or units based on local manufacture. Many Communes manufacture products that far exceed the local demand. Say for example, in Ling-Chien County I found a factory producing electric bulbs and tubes in large-scale. Industrial production accounts for almost half of the income of many a Commune. Famous American economist Vasili Leontiyev had visited China in 1973. He had said: ‘The prosperous commune which I visited some 96km. From Shanghai allocates only fifth of its labour force to industrial production, but this accounts for a full half of the commune’s total revenue.’
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The Chinese village-scape has totally changed today. This is reflected in their traditional paintings too. Instead of a classical Chinese painting, an artist (today) paints a tower of high-tension wires to depict China’s present landscape. Today, the Mass-Communes have incepted full-time working class. Agriculture and industry have been progressing simultaneously. Of late, shaded avenues with concrete roadways, drainage, small-scale electricity units, and departmental stores full of colorful articles of regular usage do not invoke a typical village scenario. This time, in post-revolution China, I have

indeed felt that the difference between the city and the country is going to fade away soon within the scope of communism. Another great symptom sign of communism is the diminishing gap between physical and mental labor. China is also advancing steadily in this direction. Among the students in the Chinese universities today, 40 percent are admitted from each of the peasant and labor classes. After completion of education, the peasants return to their respective Commune and devote their skills to the work in and for the Commune. They work in agricultural research units, researches on geology and mineral sciences across different Communes. The village where I had stayed for almost six months at different stretch during my 1957-59 visit, did not have electricity. This time I found a thousand kilowatt hydropower station operating in that same village, thanks to (the effort of) the peasants of the Communes. One, generally speaking, can no longer really call the post-Cultural-Revolution Communes as agricultural. After the Cultural Revolution, significant number of doctors, engineers, teachers, and officials from among the urban class are leaving for villages to be a part of that community for good. This is a great development/achievement. I had found artists and literary practitioners going to village to be a part of productive labor during 1957-58 when the ‘Chiefung’, ‘Lets move to villages’ movement swept across. Many among them ended up becoming members of the Communes. Thus the gap between physical and mental labor is reducing rapidly. However, the most important driving force towards communism is the liberating struggle of thousands of peasants against mean-mindedness of small-scale production. They say ‘Hasichieng Chiefung’ – liberation of thought. The more the peasants have liberated their minds from age-old practice of thinking for insignificant personal gain; more unbelievable incidents have taken place in China. Based on the principle of ‘Grasp Revolution Promote Production’ peasants are keen to assimilate MarxismLeninism and Mao’s ideals today. Sometimes after the evening, classes on Marxism-Leninism take place in the village schools. Marxist theory and its application have imbibed a new mindset. Lien Chao Chi-ists used to say – A

cat is worth catching a rat, no matter it’s black or white. That is, the point is to increase production at any cost. That’s why Lien Chao Chi in his ‘Sunje Epao’ principle had allotted fixed quota for operation of the small-scale industries and family-based production on the basis of expanding one’s own (farm) land. By introducing the possibilities of market economy, he intended to bring in the notion of profit in the capitalist sense within the peasant’s mindset in the name of increasing production. In some cases they had achieved temporary success. But after the turmoil of Cultural Revolution, in the cloudless sky of pan-Chinese Mass-Communes ‘Ta-Chai’ has flourished like a rainbow – ‘the flowers of Ta-Chai has bloomed throughout the fields of China’ – this is a line from one of their most favorite and popular numbers. Since the leader of Ta-Chai production brigade Chen-Yung-Quei had appropriated Mao’s ideals, he could make the impossible seem possible. Based on Mao’s revolutionary thinking, he has ruled out the revival of capitalism as proposed by Lien Chao Chi – he has been able to lift Ahalya’s
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curse from the stony-barren region of North China. So, peasants from all over China say the same thing: ‘ Chua Goming Chu Shenchang’ – Grasp Revolution Promote Production. Last time in China, throughout the villages of China I heard a slogan: ‘Rigorous labor for three years yields prosperity worth ten thousand years’. This slogan was composed during the Big Leap Forward movement by the Chinese peasants themselves. But mind you, at that time, rigorous labor and prosperity were separate entities. This time I saw, and felt that labor and prosperity have become synonymous in their lives. This is an important approach of the communist mindset. Towards attainment of communism, in Engel’s phrase, ‘labor will become a pleasure instead of a burden’. I felt this mindset being strongly reflected in the ideals of the peasants and laborers of today’s China. Cultural Revolution has not yet ended. It has reached a new threshold by offering a critique of Lin-Piao’s and Confucian principles. Posters with large fonts featuring cartoons of Lin-Piao and Confucius are covering the walls of factories, institutes and Communes. I found that two thousand years of

Chinese history is being revised through polemical discussion on the social and historical basis of Lin-Piao’s origin, and the peasants of the Mass Communes are regularly participating in those. Liberating the minds of the Chinese peasants from the spell of Confucian ideals will provide an impetus for production in the Communes. Consistent revolution and production have made the Chinese peasants spell a wonder for the whole world. Russian Agriculture In Contrast To Chinese Agriculture It wouldn’t be bad to introspect on the true nature of the present crisis in the post-Cruzchev Russian agriculture in contrast to the unbelievable success of Chinese Socialist agriculture. Presently Soviet Union consists of 32,300 joint agricultural cooperatives and 15,500 nationalized farmyards. In his The Economic Problems of Socialism Stalin had discussed and clearly offered solution for the inter-clash that sprung in the Soviet community out of the huge difference between joint ownership and national ownership in agriculture. Stalin says: ‘It would be an unpardonable ignorance not to note that these reasons have simultaneously started to hinder the expansion of our production system. Because, these constitute our national economy, and are particularly hindering the optimum development of agriculture. Therefore, the task is to slowly convert the wealth of joint farmyards into national wealth and introduce exchange system in place of circulation of consumer-products in order to eradicate these clashes’. Cruzchev, coming to power, totally disregarded Stalin’s note of warning, and on the contrary, took some measures to roll Soviet agriculture towards a capitalist mode. In reaponse to Sanina and Venja’s proposal of selling the national machines and tractor stations to the joint agricultural cooperatives, Stalin had warned: ‘As a result of this, firstly, the joint farmyards would become the sole owner of the basic machines of production, that is, they would be different in hierarchy from any other organization in the sense that the

nationalized organizations would no longer retain the ownership of the machines for production’. Stalin flagged that this implementation would widen the gap between the wealth of the joint cooperatives and those of the entire masses; and this step would be totally anti-communist. But this is precisely what Cruzchev did when he came to power. He sold the machines and tractor stations to the joint agricultural cooperatives. On the other hand, he increased the amount of land for personal usage by the peasant families in the joint agriculture by quite some folds. As a result, the Soviet joint agriculture gradually turned into a capitalist mode of production. Analyzing the reasons for the origin of Soviet capitalism, The Communist Party of China in an open letter to The Central Soviet Communist Party, had clearly pointed to, in the 9th point under the heading ‘Cruzchev’s Fake Communism’, some incidents reported in the Soviet newspapers and journals as crude symptoms of a capitalist revival. Among them was an article published in ‘Solskaya Jhigene’ dated June 26. It read: ‘The chairman of a joint agricultural cooperative in Uzbekistan had executed autocracy by appointing his in-laws in all the important posts in his farmyard. Misusing his power, he had spent 1,32,000 Rubles for personal reasons. He has got a motorcar, two motorcycles and three wives. Each of his wives has a house of her own’. The document contained many instances of this sort. In those days it had aroused wonder and disbelief among many Indians. But later these became regular incidents in the Soviet social system under Cruzchev-Breznev government. Economic principles keep working independent of people’s wishes. As a result of rejecting Stalin’s principles, all the avenues for capitalism opened up before post-Cruzchevian Soviet Union. Agriculture now started giving way to consumer goods production. In the 22 nd Party Congress of the main state organization, the Soviet state, amidst slogans like ‘State of the entire masses’, ‘Party of the entire masses’ being shouted, rejected the dictatorship of the labor class and by favoring joint wealth in question of

having to choose between national and joint wealth paved the way for capitalism in the field of industry and agriculture. On the year he came to power, Cruzchev announced with pomp his plan to grow crops on 60laks hector of uncultivated lands in Siberia and Kazakhstan immediately and on another 2.5crores hector on the next year. But Cruzchevian principles brought about serious crisis in agriculture. Cruzchev himself had to resign in a failed attempt to lift Ahalya’s curse from the barren lands. Ahalya’s curse was never lifted. Breznev rejected Cruzchev’s plans, but retained the plough-stake of Soviet agriculture in his own hands while trying to drive it with Cruzchev’s bulls. This jeopardized Soviet agriculture even more. Liberman in course of his economic reforms had firmly established the principle of profit and personal material drive in all spheres of soviet economy. He had brought agriculture into further crisis. Although Breznev had tried to conceal that crisis through statistical manipulations, suddenly one day it flashed that in order to buy food crops from America lumps of gold were being exported from the Soviet to America. Conclusion The success of the Chinese agricultural policy in contrast to the crisis in the Soviet agricultural policy would give a clear idea of what is so good about the former. I have discussed the agricultural policy of the Soviet puritans here in short. We have seen how a stage of symbiotic relation gradually gave way to a developed stage of Chinese agriculture in the Mass-Communes. But we shall lose our way if we overlook the intense ideological struggle at each step behind all these. The path of Ta-Chai shown by Chun-Yung-Quei is the only one capable of lifting Ahalya’s curse, not that of Cruzchev and Breznev. By dint of prattling the Rightist and the Leftist aphorisms alike Lieu Chao Chi and Lin Piao basically wanted to move Chinese agriculture in the Cruzchevian direction. In this struggle, Mao Se Tung’s proletarian principles – inspired by ideology, rather than materialist drive – with an urge not for personal

remunerations, but to establish a socialist state – has proved to be unbelievably successful. Besides this, thousands of peasants today have built up reservoirs, barrages, roads and canals by ‘Lao Dung’ or rendering labor. This time, I saw the Communes being enlightened by another ideological struggle. Those two thousand years long Confucian ideals and worldviews that were dependent upon Lin-Piao until now, are subverted towards an epoch-making revolution. With the establishment of federation strengthening proletarian dictatorship, this move would mean further improved socialism for the Mass-Communes and a progression in the course of conversion of the joint wealth into that of the masses.

Translator’s end-notes: 1. This chapter has been translated from the original Bangla title Aabar Chin Dekhe Elam by Hemango Biswas, Sribhumi Publishing Company, Kolkata, 1975. 2. This (italicized) part was in English in the original text itself and has been so retrieved. 3. This (italicized) part was in English in the original text itself and has been so retrieved. 4. Ahalya—a female character from The Ramayanas who for allegedly being infidel was barrenness etc. turned into a boulder from the curse of her ascetic husband until Rama placed his foot on her. Ahalya stands for unproductivity, futility,

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