I have discussed the dissemination of Mao Zedong Thought in Shandong and Tianjin and later discussed the subject with other comrades of the central leading bodies. Yesterday I mentioned this matter to Chairman Mao and he agreed with the following views. First, the major problem at present is that Mao Zedong Thought has been vulgarized. Every success is being attributed to Mao Zedong Thought. For instance, when a shop does a greater volume of business, people say it is a development of Mao Zedong Thought, and Mao Zedong Though is even said to be applicable to table tennis. Second, people say little about Marxism-Leninism. This tendency can be found to varying degrees in more than a few newspapers. Who do we need to raise this question? Because Mao Zedong Though, if we understand it correctly, involves two aspects: one, upholding and safeguarding Marxism-Leninism, and the other, developing Marxism-Leninism. Mao Zedong Thought and Marxism-Leninism are one and the same thing. Mao Zedong Though not only adheres to the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism, but also adds much new content to the treasure house of Marxism-Leninism. Therefore, we should not separate Mao Zedong Thought from Marxism-Leninism as if the two were different things. In disseminating Mao Zedong Thought, we must follow the directive of the Central Committee,181 attaching equal importance to "studying Marxism-Leninism" and "studying the works of Comrade Mao Zedong". Of course, we may mention Mao Zedong Thought alone, but we should never forget the fundamental teaching, Marxism-Leninism.
Recently some comrades suggested that Mao Zedong Thought serve as the guide for the study of political economies. It is true that Comrade Mao Zedong has developed the theory on political economics. However, the theories of Marx and Engels or Capital should always be used as the guide for studying capitalism at its initial and developing stages, and Lenin's Imperialism, the Final Stage of Capitalism for studying imperialism. In the study of socialism, Lenin and Stalin as well as Comrade Mao Zedong have made important contributions to its development. Therefore, Mao Zedong Thought cannot be regarded as the sole guide for studying political economics. What if someone should ask you which works of Mao Zedong's would best serve as a guide for studying imperialism? It would be hard to give a definite reply. Of course, Comrade Mao Zedong has contributed to the exposition of imperialism, adding such ideas as the thesis that imperialism is a paper tiger. However, Capital and Imperialism, the Final Stage of Capitalism have already dealt with the basic theories concerning capitalism and imperialism. How to regard Mao Zedong Thought is a serious matter of principle. We should see to it that Mao Zedong Thought is not vulgarized, which would bring harm to ourselves and to the international communist movement.
The Central Committee has issued a directive concerning the dissemination of Mao Zedong Thought. It will issue another one when more material has been gathered. The banner of Mao Zedong Thought should be held aloft. However, if we lay stress on Mao Zedong Thought to the neglect of Marxism-Leninism, it may seen as if we are building it up, but we are actually diminishing its importance.
The question of collective leadership should also be discussed at appropriate meetings. Our Party practices collective leadership, and Comrade Mao Zedong is representative of this collective leadership and leader of our Party. His position and role are different from those of ordinary members of the collective leadership. However, we should never separate him from the Central Committee; we should regard him as a member of the Party's collective leadership and appraise his role in the Party in a realistic manner. Comrade Mao Zedong himself values collective leadership. He said yesterday that the wording used for the dissemination of Mao Zedong Thought should accord with reality lest it become untenable. We should disseminate Mao Zedong Thought in this spirit.
(Excerpt from a speech given at the Tianjin Meeting of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.)