Gutian Congress

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Classroom where the meeting was held.

The Gutian Congress or Gutian Conference (古田会议) was the 9th meeting of the Chinese Communist Party and the first after the Nanchang Uprising and subsequent southward flight of the insurrectionist troops. It was convened in December, 1929, at Gutian in Shanghang County, then in Tingzhou Prefecture (now for the most part Longyan Municipality) in western Fujian Province.

Most of the delegates to this congress were army men (the insurrectionists having been renamed the 4th Army of the Chinese Workers' & Peasants' Red Army). Mao Zedong (毛泽东), voted out six months earlier but moving from his success at the little-known Jiaoyang Congress (also in Shanghang), addressed the Zhu-Mao 4th Army (朱毛四军) as its Comintern-anointed political commissar and chaired the congress.

The Gutian Congress Resolution (古田会议决议), also titled On Correcting Mistaken Ideas in the Party, has its ostensive source here. One of the selections from this significant text later included in Lin Biao's Little Red Book is as follows:

In the sphere of theory, destroy the roots of ultra-democracy. First, it should be pointed out that the danger of ultra-democracy lies in the fact that it damages or even completely wrecks the Party organisation and weakens or even completely undermines the Party's fighting capacity, rendering the Party incapable of fulfilling its fighting tasks and thereby causing the defeat of the revolution. Next it should be pointed out that the source of ultra-democracy consists in the petty bourgeoisie's individualistic aversion to discipline. When this characteristic is brought into the Party, it develops into ultra-democratic ideas politically and organisationally. These ideas are utterly incompatible with the fighting tasks of the proletariat.

It was thus that Mao greatly diminished the likelihood of further voting in the Red Army.


Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung, Lin Biao, ed., East is Red Publishing (Beijing, 1964, April), pp.309-11.