January 31, 1945
[Comrade Mao Tse-tung wrote thus editorial for the Liberation Daily, Yenan.]
It is already admitted and there is no longer any doubt that production campaigns can and must be conducted in the army and among the people in the relatively stable bases of the Liberated Areas behind the enemy lines. But whether they can be conducted in the guerrilla zones and in the furthermost areas behind the enemy lines has not yet been settled in many people's minds for want of proof.
But now we have proof. In 1944 production was undertaken on a considerable scale in many guerrilla zones and with excellent results, according to Comrade Chang Ping-kai's report on the production campaign of the guerrilla units in the Shansi-Chahar-Hopei border area, published in the Liberation Daily of January 28. The districts and units listed in his report are: in central Hopei, the sixth sub-region, the fourth district contingent of the second sub-region, the eighth district contingent of the fourth sub-region, the Hsushui-Tinghsien detachment, the Paoting-Mancheng detachment and the Yunpiao detachment; and in Shansi, the troops in the counties of Taihsien and Kuchsien. Conditions in those areas are most unfavourable:
The place bristles with enemy and puppet strongpoints and blockhouses and is criss-crossed with ditches, walls and roads, and taking advantage of his military superiority and communication facilities, the enemy often launches surprise attacks and encirclement and "mopping-up" campaigns against us. Under such conditions the guerrilla units often have to shift their positions several times a day.
Nevertheless, the guerrilla units have managed to carry on production in the intervals between fighting. The results are:
Everybody is now better fed--each person has 0.5 liang of cooking oil and salt and 1 chin of vegetables per day, and 1.5 chin of meat per month. Furthermore, tooth-brushes, tooth-powder and reading primers, which for years were unavailable, are now all provided.
Just look! Who says that production is not possible in guerrilla zones? Many people claim that there is no spare land in the densely populated areas. Is there really no spare land? Again please look at the Shansi-Chahar-Hopei border area:
First, the land problem has been settled in accordance with the policy of giving primary attention to agriculture. They use nine methods in all: (1) razing walls and filling in ditches used by the enemy for blockade purposes; (2) destroying motor roads the enemy may use and planting crops along them; (3) making use of small pieces of waste land; (4) helping the people's militia by providing armed protection when, on moonlit nights, crops are planted in the fields around the blockhouses in defiance of the enemy; (5) ploughing the fields in partnership with peasants who are short of labour power; (6) ploughing the fields around the enemy's strongpoints or blockhouses more or less openly, using soldiers dressed as peasants; (7) making use of river banks by building dykes, removing the sand and turning the banks into fields; (8) helping peasants bring dry land under irrigation; and (9) helping in the farm work in every village in which they are active.
But if agriculture is possible, perhaps handicrafts and other production remain impossible? Is that actually the case? Please look at the Shansi-Chahar-Hopei border area:
The troops in the vicinity of the enemy's blockade lines or blockade ditches do not confine their production to agriculture but, as in the stable areas, have also developed handicrafts and transport. The fourth district contingent has set up a felt-cap workshop, an oil press and a flour mill, and in seven months has netted a profit of 500,000 yuan in local currency. Not only has it settled its own difficulties but it is satisfying the needs of the people in its guerrilla zone. The soldiers can now provide all their own woollen sweaters and socks.
Since military operations are so frequent in the guerrilla zones, perhaps fighting is affected if the troops engage in production? Is that really so? Please look at the Shansi-Chahar-Hopei border area:
Applying the principle of integrating labour power and armed strength, they give equal importance to the tasks of production and fighting.
Take, for instance, the fourth district contingent of the second sub-region. When they began their spring ploughing, they sent a special detachment to attack the enemy and at the same time launched a powerful political offensive. Precisely because of this, there was greater activity in the military sphere, too, and the combat effectiveness of the troops increased. From February to early September this small detachment fought 71 encounters, took the strongholds of Chutungsheh, Shangchuang, Yehchuang, Fengchiachai and Yaitou, inflicted 165 casualties on the enemy and puppet troops, and captured 91 puppet soldiers, 3 light machine-guns and 101 rifles and pistols.
Co-ordinating military activity with propaganda for extensive production, they immediately launched a political offensive with the watchword: "Smash anyone who tries to wreck the great production drive!" In the county towns of Taihsien and Kuohsien the enemy asked the inhabitants: "Why has the Eighth Route Army become so tough recently?" They replied: "Because you are trying to wreck the great production drive in the border area." The puppet troops said to one another: "Better not go out while they are carrying out this great production drive."
Is it possible to get the people in the guerrilla zones to launch a production campaign too? Are the peasants interested in increasing production in such zones, where rents have perhaps not yet been reduced or the rent reduction has not been thorough? This has been answered in the affirmative in the Shansi-Chahar-Hopei border area:
Furthermore, the troops in the vicinity of the enemy's blockade lines or blockade ditches give direct help to the local people by spreading the production campaign. On the one hand, they provide armed protection for the masses engaged in production and, on the other, they render extensive help by their labor. Some units have made it a rule to assign 50 per cent of their manpower to provide free help for the masses during the busy farming seasons. Thus, the enthusiasm of the masses for production has become very much greater, the relations between the army and the people have become still more harmonious, and the masses have enough to eat. Hence the sympathy and support of the masses in the guerrilla zones for the Communist Party and the Eighth Route Army have grown.
All doubts have thus been answered as to whether the army and the people in the guerrilla zones can and must conduct large-scale production campaigns. We demand of all Party, government and army cadres in the Liberated Areas, and especially in the guerrilla zones, that they should attain full comprehension of this point, for once the "can" and the "must" are understood, production will be set going everywhere. It was precisely from this point that the start was made in the Shansi-Chahar-Hopei border area:
In the production campaign the troops in the vicinity of the enemy's blockade lines or blockade ditches were not only able to fulfil their production plan on schedule in the short space of five months, but what is more, they introduced a number of practical innovations. This was because the cadres re-orientated their thinking, paid serious attention to production and to integrating labour power with armed strength, and brought forward labour heroes and model workers from among the masses (sixty-six labour heroes and model workers according to a preliminary summing-up).
In 1945, the Liberated Areas must carry out a bigger army and civilian production campaign than ever before through the united efforts of all, and in the coming winter we shall compare the achievements of all the areas.
War is not only a military and political contest but also an economic contest. In order to defeat the Japanese aggressors, in addition to all the other tasks we must apply ourselves to economic work and must master it within two or three years; in the present year, 1945, we must achieve greater results than ever before. This is what the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party eagerly expects of all our cadres and all the people throughout the Liberated Areas, and we hope this objective will be attained.