On the People's Democratic Dictatorship

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"On the People's Democratic Dictatorship" (simplified Chinese: 论人民民主专政; traditional Chinese: 論人民民主專政) is a speech which was written by Mao Zedong. It was presented to the public on June 30, 1949, twenty eight years after the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC). This speech is part of the fourth volume collection of his works, which was published by the Foreign Languages Press in Beijing. It is noteworthy for its tone, that it preceded the freeze in Russian-Chinese relations following the Sino-Soviet split and adoption of Maoism in China, and that it codifies and embraces People's democratic dictatorship.

Speech Summary

The speech opens with an allegory that compares the CPC to an aging man. At twenty-eight years old, Mao states the childhood of the communist party in China is over and that one day the party itself will cease to exist, as an old man dies. He argues that the CPC is not an agent of its own sake, but an agent to bring about equality.

Mao states that prior to China engaging in communism, it tried to learn from western countries, as Japan; but that the western imperialism made it impossible to do so. It wasn't that gaining from western countries was impossible because they were formerly aggressive nations (therefore requiring cognitive dissonance to even entertain the notion that democratic reform was desirable), but rather that it was due to ongoing aggression at the time that China was trying to modernize, thereby sapping the resources China needed in order to enact democratic reform and dissuading Chinese people from enacting similar forms of government.

Mao then talks passionately about the early years of the Chinese communist revolution against Chiang Kai-shek, the leader of the Kuomintang (a Nationalist Republican Chinese movement that ultimately founded Taiwan), and of destroyed and crumbling "imperialist" empires. He claims victory for Chinese communism, and welcomes former intellectual adversaries to "learn anew" and to warm to Marxism–Leninism, a brand of communism that focuses on centralism and expanding communism first to undeveloped countries.

Mao credits the CPC for raising the standards of the working class in China and for its strong alliance with USSR. This is notable because it precedes the Sino-Soviet split and Maoism as a distinct ideology.

The speech then addresses some criticisms of the Chinese party: leftist extremism, aggression of the CPC, foreign relations, international communism, rejection of US and UK aid, cries of dictatorship. In Chinese there are two words that translate to dictator in Chinese, the one that Mao uses is has neutral connotations ("专政", which could be translated into: "person who tells you what to do" rather than "person who rules with an iron first and absolute power"). the word used for dictator here Mao addresses the fact that there is still some class division in China, and that only "the people" deserve benevolence; stating that peaceful "reactionaries" will be given some land and forced to work until they too become "the people". He further states that claims of totalitarianism from members of the United States are hypocritical, since American democracy is a lie perpetuated by the ruling bourgeoisie.

Stressing the importance of the alliance between the working class and the peasantry, Mao calls for a common effort with urban bourgeoisie (a term used in this context to mean current communists, but former wealth holders) to organize rural production through regulated capitalism until final socialism can extend to agriculture. He warns that the bourgeoisie should not be allowed into powerful positions of the CPC, since they will likely corrupt it for personal gain.

Mao ends the speech with a call for continued education, economic growth, and overcoming difficulties in the face of international opposition and for an embrace of USSR assistance in modernization.