January 11 1966: How to Organize Agricultural Collectives on a National Scale: Wuhan University Professors Discuss: January 11, 1966

“To Study Dazhai, One Must Pay Close Attention to Class Struggle”

“Labor should not only be amassed before carrying out the modernization of agriculture, it must also be amassed during the process of carrying out modernization, especially in the early stage of carrying out modernization.”

Recently, a discussion was held by a group of professors from Wuhan University’s Economics Department to discuss the the issue of amassing labor in a collective economy…
At Stake at the Time:
Many critiques of the shortages during the Great Leap Forward period (1959-1961) argued to emphasize de-collectivization and private plots. However, those on the left argued that while the GLF mistakes must be acknowledged, the drive towards collectivization itself should not be repudiated. Subsequent models, such as Dazhai put an emphasis on self-reliance, local agricultural conditions, and the gradual scaling up of labor pools towards larger size communes to realize productive gains. In contrast general Great Leap Forward plans had ofte put an emphasis on rapid industrialization and labor accumilation. The discussion below points to some of the key areas of inquiry along the new “Dazhai” way of thinking.
  1. The scale of amassing labor, speed, and development
One opinion believes that the research of labor amassing and scale, speed, and quality, is about how to satisfactorily use the labor resources in a collectivized society, how to properly divide labor power between production and basic construction in order to ensure the premise that basic construction does not impair the relative fast development of production.  The scale and speed of amassing labor is obtained by both objective needs and by subjective possibilities. The objective needs refer to the conditions within a unit or team. Different productive conditions within a unit or team result in different labor massing requirements. Subjective potential refers to that amount of surplus labor available after satisfying the present productive needs. In particular, the ratio between labor used for productive works and labor used for basic construction determines the scale of amassing labor, as well is the key to its speed.
Another opinion put forward is that one should not superficially say that units and teams with worse off conditions for production hence have an ever greater need for amassing labor. As long as one sees the present amount of amassed labor, this will will determine the future needed amount of amassing labor going ahead. It should be seen that man’s ability to transform nature is limitless, and the requirement to transform the backward appearance of out country’s agriculture is not accomplished in one day. Labor should not only be amassed before carrying out the modernization of agriculture, it must also be amassed during the process of carrying out modernization, especially in the early stage of carrying out modernization. The many aspects of transforming natural conditions have many tasks, and all still must be accomplished through  the accumulation of labor.
There is yet another opinion, which puts forward that with the gradual achievement of agricultural modernization, agricultural labor productivity will gradually increase, and and the productive use of labor possibly will decrease, and hence there will be an increase on the use of labor for basic construction. As a result, the trend for the development of labor accumulation will possibly be that its absolute quantity will not decrease.
  1. The relationship between amassing labor and amassing resources
One opinion believes, that if present productive conditions are poor, units and teams with great productive potential can first put forth labor accumulation, in order to boost their accumulated funds. In contrast, where present productive conditions are good, units and teams without good productive potential should consider their accumulated funds, and gradually implement agricultural modernization while not accumulating as much labor.
Yet another opinion believes that although areas with different conditions can have many differences in the scale of labor accumulation, from the perspective of the general situation at present, every unit and team should increase its amassing of labor.  The transformation of nature and of productive conditions can be accomplished, by increasing the amount of labor accumulation, and increase productivity of agricultural labor. And through increasing the amount of agricultural products, there will be a gain in the amount of accumulated funds.

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