by Mao Zedong


Stage 4: Organization takes the theoretical foundations from the previous three stages and directs the use of the following concepts toward real-world organization: Organization, Mass Line, Democratic Centralism, and Criticism.

The masses in any given place are generally composed of three parts, the advanced, the intermediate and the backwards. The leaders must therefore be skilled in uniting the small number of advanced elements around the leadership and must rely on them to raise the level of the intermediate element and to win over the backward elements. A leading group that is genuinely united and linked with the masses can be formed only gradually in the process of mass struggle, and not in isolation from it. In the process of a great struggle, the composition of the leading group in most cases should not and cannot remain entirely unchanged throughout the initial, middle and final stages; the activists who come forward in the course of the struggle must constantly be promoted to replace those original members of the leading group who are inferior by comparison or who have degenerated. One fundamental reason why the work in many places and many organizations cannot be pushed ahead is the lack of a leading group which is united, linked with the masses and kept constantly healthy. A school of a hundred people certainly cannot be run well if it does not have a leading group of several people; or a dozen or more, which is formed in accordance with the actual circumstances (and not thrown together artificially) and is composed of the most active, upright and alert of the teachers, the other staff and the students. In every organization, school, army unit, factory or village, whether large or small, we should give effect to the ninth of Stalin's twelve conditions for the Bolshevization of the Party, namely, that on the establishment of a nucleus of leadership.[1] The criteria for such a leading group should be the four which Dimitrov enumerated in his discussion of cadres policy—absolute devotion to the cause, contact with the masses, ability independently to find one's bearings and observance of discipline.[2] Whether in carrying out the central tasks—war, production, education (including rectification)—or in checking up on work, examining the cadres' histories, or in other activities, it is necessary to adopt the method of linking the leading group with the masses, in addition to that of linking the general call with particular guidance.

[1] Stalin, “The Prospects of the Communist Party of Germany and the Question of Bolshevization”, Works, Eng. ed., FLPH, Moscow, 1954, Vol. VII, p. 39.

[2] Georgi Dimitrov, “Unity of the Working Class Against Fascism”, Selected Articles and Speeches, Eng. ed., Lawrence & Wishart, London, 1951, p. 138-39.

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