Preliminary Conclusions of the Land Investigation Campaign
|Preliminary Conclusions of the Land Investigation Campaign (1933)
by , translated by Foreign Language Press, Peking
|This is a translation from the document in Tou-cheng (Struggle), No. 24, August 29, 1933. The source from which this work was transcribed comes from the Marxist Internet Archive.|
The Great Victory 
Under the call of the party and the Central [Soviet] Government the land investigation campaign has been unleashed widely. If we assume that the land investigation campaign in the past was merely in the initial stage, then the land investigation of eight counties during June has achieved more than what has been accomplished over the half year since winter. Generally speaking, in the eight counties that have held meetings, the land investigation campaign has advanced to a new phase having become a broad mass movement. Achievement in two counties, Juichin and Posheng are the greatest, and they have searched out two thousand and several hundred households of landlords and rich peasants, while the counties, Shengli, Yutu, Which'ang, Tingtung, Ch'angting, Shihch'eng and Nighua, all have achieved initial results. In all the districts and hsiang that have achieved results in the land investigation a broad mass struggle has been unleashed. Many stalemate situations which prevailed in the past in the soviet work and in the party work have now become active. Many undesirable elements in the Soviets have been washed out, and the counter-revolutionary elements who were hidden in the countryside have been dealt with severe punishments. In a word, the feudal remnant forces have suffered disastrous defeat before the broad masses. On this basis various activities are ever more unfolded. In the regions where some results were achieved in the land investigation, the expansion of the Red Army and local armed forces, the promotion of economic construction bonds, and the growth of cooperatives, as well as the programs of culture building like clubs, evening classes, and primary schools, all have gained extremely great achievements and all the work is being carried through ever more smoothly. Based on the activeness of the masses, large numbers of activists have joined the party on their own, and are drawn into the soviet's work. The best example is Jent'ien District of Juichin. With the assistance of the Central Government Work Corps the land investigation campaign in Jent'ien has spurred the masses of the entire district who have in fifty-five days, thoroughly stamped out the feudal remnants, searched out some three hundred landlord and rich peasant families, twelve counter-revolutionaries, for execution and suppressed counter-revolutionary activities; they have arrested among the soviet war personnel, the class heretics who have sneaked into the [district] soviet. The entire district has searched out a land of 22,000 mou (mou—0.0614 ha) and some 20,000 toiling masses in the district have each acquired in average an additional land of one mou and two mou and were distributed countless belongings of the haoshen and landlords. Relying on the unprecedented height of mass activism, they have expanded the Red Army [detachments] in fifty-five days by some 700 people, who have joined the Juichin Model Division, without a single person deserting. They have saved grains, to sell to the Red Army, which amounted to some 1900 tan. No other district of the whole county can match it. At the instance of various hsiang the entire district assumed the promotional sale of economic construction bonds worth 40,000 yuan. Landlord fines and rich peasant taxes which were collected totalled 7,500 yuan and those that can be continually raised will be 10,000 yuan. Cooperatives have grown rapidly and the institutions of culture and education such as clubs, study classes, evening classes also have increased. The number of party members has expanded and the leadership of the party has been strengthened. The labour union work, too, has moved forward. The entire district has transformed, to breath a fresh spirit. From one of the backward district of Juichin, it has altered its status in fifty-five days and became a first rate district comparable to Wuyang. We now want to ask: Why has Jent'ien District achieved such a great result? That we should point out: because of their understanding of the import of the task of land investigation and because of their formula of mobilization, their class line and their mass work, which have been resolutely carried out according to the correct directives of the Central Bureau [of the Soviet Areas] and the Central Government, they have performed a genuine Bolshevik work. In the way of appreciating the task, they were aware that the land investigation campaign and the revolutionary war are closely linked together. Hence, they have carried through this task in earnest, firmly grasped the leadership of the land investigation campaign, and developed the local work systematically. In the way of the mobilization formula, they firmly grasped the work of the most and relatively backward seven hsiang among the eleven hsiang of the entire district. In these seven hsiang Soviets they mobilized the labour unions, poor peasant corps and other mass organizations through which they went out to mobilize the broad masses. In the way of the class line they resolutely executed the tactic of relying on the hired hands and poor peasants in alliance with the middle peasants, thus broadly developing the poor peasant corps. They explained that land investigation is not land distribution and that class examination is not to examine the class of the middle and poor peasants and hired hands. The work of "class talk" has been done very sufficiently. When the landlords and rich peasants of Wofeng hsiang intimidated the middle peasants and drove a section of them into panic, our comrades paid a visit to several middle peasants and talked to them individually. After they had relayed [the talk] to other middle peasants, the middle peasants of Wofeng hsiang began to quiet down immediately. Actively supported by the land investigation policy of the [hsiang] Soviet they [the middle peasants] have moved into a joint attack on the landlords and rich peasants, from whom they have endured extortions previously, along with the poor peasants and hired hands. Comrades in Jent'ien District have once incorrectly classified the status of several peasant families but they have promptly corrected the mistake. As for directing the mass work, they first of all conducted widespread propaganda. What they held was not a district-wide or hsiang-wide meeting but a village or residence meeting. Thus they got access to the broader masses for whom they have repeatedly conducted propaganda and agitation. Therefore, the masses of the entire district have come to understand that the landlord investigation and class examination are their own responsibility and that they are for their own interests. They then went on to investigate class status, they spurred many people to go out to investigate, gathering data in detail on each status was decided first through the analysis of the land investigation committee, which was then referred to the poor peasant corps for discussion and confirmation. It was further sent to the District Soviet for approval. Again, it was sent back to the concerned village to hold a meeting for further explanation and approval by a show of hands, and then the confiscation was executed. In distributing the property as well as the land, all the working personnel understood that they ought to be exemplary, not to take things but to distribute them entirely among the masses, allocate more to the village directly involved in the confiscation, and less to other villages. Thus they obtained complete satisfaction from the masses. The land was also promptly distributed. While the land elsewhere was distributed only after a prolonged delay, there was no such phenomenon in Jent'ien District. Hence, it promptly spurred the masses. Their method of first breaking into large and backward villages, was also correct. They had no fear of these large villages, nor did they employ barbarous methods to deal with them. What they did with regard to the large villages was to concentrate fire power on them, making more and more propaganda beginning with local activists, to unite and educate them, and through them they reached out to other masses. With great patience they went on to carry through the village, the work of this nature. In appearance it looked tedious but in practice it was fast. In a period of fifty-five days they have spurred without exception all the large backward villages of Jent'ien District and in a very short time stamped out backwardness of these villages. They could not break into a village of Pok'ang hsiang. There were previously two "big tigers" who were restive all the time. They took a different method. First they captured these two rascals and convicted them in circuit court held in the locality. With the masses' enthusiastic support they were executed by a firing squad. Thereupon the mass struggle became intensive like a violent fire. They held ten mass tribunals and three circuit courts. All these followed the extremely broad mass line with many residents of the hsiang attending and other hsiang sending representatives from each village--a small hsiang sending a score of people or so, a large hsiang forty to fifty people. Therefore, every public trial and the result of a tribunal were all at once relayed to the hsiang and all villages of the entire district. It enabled them not only to punish or execute individuals who deserved it, but also to think immediately that the same dealing will have to be accorded to similar evil doers in their own locality. The land investigation campaign in Jent'ien District can truly be regarded as a model for all the Soviet areas! The work in Chiupao District of Juichin has achieved an extremely great result. They first firmly grasped three hsiang to work on. They called members of the land investigation committee of each hsiang to attend a three-day training session in the District Soviet, where the mobilization formula, the class line, and the method of winning the masses were clearly discussed. They initiated a measure for the problem of confiscation and distribution. Their measure has been that, in confiscating a landlord household, they called upon the masses of the village and the household to go together to a mass meeting where a confiscation and distribution committee was selected. Under the surveillance of the masses they proceeded to the confiscation, piling up the confiscated items on the terrace. Again with the masses' consent, they immediately distributed them to the masses who deserved them. Edible items also called for disposal, that is, letting the people have a hearty eating together, slaughtering hogs and cooking rice. This measure in Chiupao District has scored the maximum effectiveness. Since their confiscation and distribution committee was not a standing organization but a provisional one, it has greatly enhanced intimate relations with the masses (with regard to the confiscation and distribution of land, it was still assumed by the regular land committee.) It did not require all the items to be carried to the hsiang soviet nor did it have to concentrate on a certain number of households only before taking up the distribution in others. It has thus avoided the shortcoming of being procrastinated and things being stolen away in the meanwhile. Like the class line and the work method in Chiupao District they were also generally correct. Therefore, they could spur the broad masses to commence the class examination on their own. They have carried it through in such a way that not a single landlord or rich peasant came to the hsiang Soviet or District Soviet to dispute his status; it was completely different from the land investigation of the past. In the past there were after all many landlords and rich peasants who had been classified, came to the Soviet for nuisance, arguing that they had been incorrectly classified. Not only the persons themselves but also even a hsiang representative and the man in charge of the poor peasant corps came on their behalf to testify. This time, naturally, not only did they make no nuisance, but they could not do so even if they wanted to. There was no possibility for them to make fuss as their power was shorn off. This even proves that Chiupao District has been extremely thorough in spurring the masses. Otherwise, it was impossible to carry it through to this extent.
All these glorious exemplary instances (the instances of this type are still many elsewhere.) have given a Bolshevik reply to the call of the party and the Central Government and have proven the absolute correctness of the directives of the Central Bureau and the Central Government. Whenever these directives were completely carried through, great victory was at once won. Whoever betrayed or ignored these directives, however he committed mistakes in his work, achieved little or no result. Let me prove it again with facts.
Some Places Have Given Up the Leadership of the Land Investigation Campaign 
In the combat task of the land investigation campaign, after the Central Bureau issued the resolution on the land investigation, after the Central Government decreed the land investigation, and after the Eight-County Conference on Land Investigation was convened, the land investigation campaign in various counties has not spread to all the places. For instance, the result of the land investigation in the entire province of Fukien was comparable only to that of one county alone i.e. Posheng. The result even in each of the counties Shengli, Yutu, Huich'ang, and Shihch'eng was comparable only to that of one or two best districts of Juichin [County]. Many land investigation committees in various districts, as well as a few counties, have not firmly grasped the work of a [district-wide or] county-wide land investigation (Huich'ang, Yutu, Shihch'eng, and Ninghua). In many districts and hsiang land investigation committees, district and hsiang [soviet] chairmen did not assume leadership on the plea of being preoccupied elsewhere and left the land investigation unattended. As for the Party's leadership in the land investigation, in places where achievements were made in land investigation it has been clearly demonstrated that the party's leadership role has been resolute. The majority of the rank and file of the party has engaged in numerous combat programs with Bolshevik bravery under the leadership of the branch and district committees. In places where little or no achievement was made, however, it has been demonstrated that the party organs have ignored the land investigation campaign. For instance, after the Central Bureau's resolution on the land investigation was issued, the Huich'ang County Committee has not even once discussed the land investigation work for nearly two months. Not until the end of July did it hold a meeting to discuss the land investigation. The Hsiahsiao District Committee of Juichin [County] has entirely left the land investigation campaign unattended over a period of time. Ward committees of Juichin City, though they held a meeting once, did not push forward the suburban branches to head the leadership of land investigation, while each branch did not hold any meeting on the land investigation campaign. At other places like Yutu, Shengli, Shihch'eng, and Ninghua, the county committees and many district committees have not likewise exerted real efforts at paying attention to the land investigation work. The party and the Central Government stated that: "The land investigation campaign has become a struggle to spur the masses and deeply penetrate the rural classes and a powerful method to thoroughly resolve the land question and purge the feudal and semi-feudal [forces]" (the Central Bureau's Resolution); that "the land investigation campaign is the task, which the soviets in various places cannot allow to relax a moment" (the Central Government's Decree); and that "the land investigation campaign is a most principal link of the present work" (Conclusion of the Eight-County Conference). Nevertheless many of our comrades stated that they . . . "were very busy and have no time to attend to the land investigation campaign." The Party Resolution stated: "To handle the land investigation campaign with a perfunctory attitude of bureaucratism and formalism is most harmful." Notwithstanding, these comrades handled the land investigation campaign with the style of bureaucratism.
In Certain Places the Party has Surrendered to the Landlords and Rich Peasants 
In places where the land investigation campaign has been unleashed, there are yet many individual but serious mistakes. That is to say, in these local Party organs and soviets there appeared frequently some individual comrades who have manifested their opportunistic vacillations in the land investigation campaign which is a violent class struggle. Mainly, when the land investigation campaign was undergoing violent development they could not forsake clannish and parochial relations and covered up the landlords and rich peasants of the same clan and the same village, or they made an incorrect analysis of class status by classifying a landlord as a rich peasant and a rich peasant, a middle peasant. Some comrades working in the tribunal department have accepted, out of their extreme inadvertence, slanderous charges against those who were active in the land investigation, made by the landlords and rich peasants in the false name of the masses. On the other hand, we had some comrades in the security bureau as well as the tribunal department who could not keep up with the masses in pushing forward the struggle for class examination and in suppressing the counterrevolutionaries vigorously. Even when the masses made a request for arrest and execution by a firing squad of the landlords and rich peasants who had resisted the land investigation, some of them did not honor their request. For instance, the tribunal department of Juichin made many mistakes like this.
The Tendency to Encroach upon the Middle Peasants is the Most Serious Danger 
The tendency of "left" opportunism occurred again in very many places during the land investigation of July. What should be pointed out emphatically here is the tendency to encroach upon the middle peasants, though it was clearly stated in the Central Bureau's Resolution that: "Special attention must be focused on the alliance with the middle peasants who will be the broadest basic masses in rural soviets after the revolution. All our treatments and policies must win their approval and support. Every decision of the poor peasant corps and the soviet must have the support of the middle peasantry, secured through a village or residence meeting. All the voices of the middle peasant masses must be heard with care, and any attempt to encroach upon the interests of the middle peasantry must be severely dealt with". In the summary of the Eight-County Conference it was pointed out that: "The aim of the land investigation is to examine classes and not to redistribute the land", "alliance with the middle peasantry should start with non-encroachment of the interests of the middle peasants", "in the beginning of the land investigation we should make widespread propaganda to the effect that the soviet policy is to ally with the middle peasantry, not to encroach upon them. In the process of land investigation we should carefully determine the uncertain elements between the middle peasants and the rich peasants as not to misplace them." But these directives were not heeded by comrades in many places. The land investigation in the confines of Juichin, once under way, has proceeded to examine the middle peasants, house by house and mou by mou so much so that it drove them to panic. In the end they rushed to the soviet to ask for reclassification of their status into poor peasants. They argued that: "To be a middle peasant is very dangerous, for one would become a rich peasant if stretched. Change to a poor peasant, for it is a bit far away from becoming a rich peasant." Does not such a despairing voice merit out attention? Comrades in Yangku hsiang of Huangpo District have told the masses: "Class examination is not for examining others, but only to examine the middle and rich peasant and landlord classes". Comrades in T'aching District have investigated so exhaustively by putting up markings, that it has caused the same panic among the middle peasants. In the Conclusion of the Eight-County Conference it was already stated that such an idea as to assume that the land investigation is one of putting up markings is not correct." However, these comrades did not pay heed to it at all. This method of such an exhaustive investigation by markings has appeared in every county. This is an extraordinarily serious situation. They have mixed up the land investigation for the land distribution. But if this method is to be employed in the land investigations campaign it would confound the objective of the struggle in the villages. In the past we pointed out that: "Land investigation and land distribution must be strictly distinguished. Such a distinction is to be made not only for consolidating the land ownership of peasants so as not to cause panic out of the ill-defined land distribution, but also for victory in the struggle for class examination. We must concentrate all our energy, particularly in alliance with the middle peasants, to cope with the resistance of the landlords and rich peasants. In such an event we should not allow any dispute to take place within the ranks of peasants themselves" (Conclusion of the Eight-County Conference). Such a tactic is a most important part of the whole strategy in our leadership of the struggle of land investigation. Nevertheless it was what many comrades had still neglected. Such a negligence cannot be tolerated again, even for a moment. Those who have been admonished but still deliberately continue these mistakes, must be meted out with severe punishments by the higher soviet of the locality. We need to wage thorough struggle within the party and youth league against the idea and action of any party or youth league members who encroach upon the interests of the middle peasants and violate the energy of alliance with the middle peasants. In places where mistakes are already committed by confiscating, for example, the property and land of the middle peasant, the soviet personnel should publicly admit their mistakes to the middle peasants in the locality and should redeem them forthwith. That Hsiangkuo County reinstituted many lands of the middle peasants last year, thus to win their satisfaction, is a very valuable lesson.
Closed-Door-ism of the Poor Peasant Corps and Its Negligence of the Leadership Role of the Hired Hands are Wrong 
"Poor peasant masses are the pillars of the party and the proletariat in the countryside and are the resolute supporters of a thoroughgoing execution of the land revolution." "To rely on the poor peasants" is one of our important policies in the land investigation and in all the struggles for land, the poor peasant corps is the organization that plays an extremely important role [here]. The Eight-County Poor Peasant Corps Representatives' Conference has already pointed out that the past tendency of closed doorism of the poor peasant corps was wrong, and that the system of introduction should be discarded, and that the door should be kept wide-open to the poor peasants and workers so that they, male and female, old and young, can all apply and join. In many places, however, the old method is still being followed and remains unchanged; without introduction one still cannot join the poor peasant corps. Worse still, when non-member poor peasant masses in T'aching District of Juichin had rushed to attend a poor peasant corps meeting, the man-in-charge of the corps simple refused to admit them. In Chuchajen District of Pocheng, the poor peasant corps did not admit even a single person during the month of July. In all the districts and hsiang where the land investigation has gained results, the poor peasant corps has developed broadly and in places where the land investigation has gained no or little result, the phenomenon there is that the poor peasant corps is in the state of closed doorism. Likewise, the great leadership role of the hired hands in the land investigation campaign was not appreciated by many comrades. The Party Resolution stated: "The masses of the hired hands, who are brothers of the urban proletariat in the countryside, are the vanguard of the land revolution. Hence, the working personnel in the soviets must maintain close contact with the [rural] labour unions through which activism of the masses of the [rural] workers can be developed and organized in order to make them the vanguard of the land investigation campaign." Our Comrades who have carried work according to this directive are still few in number. The principal method here is to have the rural workers join up the poor peasant corps and set up within it individual small groups of workers. Through these workers' small groups [hsio-tsu] we should go out to unite poor peasant activities, develop the poor peasant corps, and promote advancement of the land investigation campaign. The experience in Shanho hsiang of Huangpo District is valuable. When our comrades there twice failed to convene a poor peasant corps meeting, they held a joint meeting of the rank-and-file members of the agricultural labour union and the handicraft labour union and spurred a few dozen workers to arise actively so that they each bring a poor peasant to join the poor peasant corps. On the following day the poor peasant corps again convened a meeting to which all attended as anticipated, and thus unleashed the land investigation campaign. This experience in Shanho hsiang should be employed in all the villages. The high-level leadership organs of the labour unions here should provide the low-level labour unions with positive leadership so as to regard the task of land investigation as one of the most important tasks of the labour unions.
The Incorrect Idea about the Question of Rich Peasants 
Our entire strategy in the agrarian struggle is to depend on the poor peasants, to resolutely ally with the middle peasants, to enable the poor peasants to play the vanguard