Turbulent Decade: A History of the Cultural Revolution

By Yan Jiaqi; Gao Gao et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 18

The United Flotilla and
the 5-7-1 Project

ALTHOUGH THE 1970 Lushan Conference spelled the failure of Lin Biao's plan to become president of the country, his thirst for more power was beyond quenching. He knew clearly that, even though the Lushan Conference had concluded with the exposure of Chen Boda, in Mao's eyes the struggle between Lin Biao and Mao Zedong had only begun. After the Lushan Conference, then, the Lin-Mao struggle was to develop, with Lin Biao's actions intermittently obvious and obscure, but always fed by his persistent lusting for the highest power.

Lin Biao had long before laid plans for attaining the highest power. At the enlarged meetings of the Politburo on May 18, 1966, on the question of the seizure of power Lin Biao had said,

The fundamental question of a revolution concerns political power. With political power, the proletariat and the laboring masses will have everything else; without political power, they lose everything. Relations of production form of course the foundation, but it is the seizure of power that brings changes in them, that strengthens them, and that develops them. Therefore, no matter how complex the myriad things, never forget direction and lose the center. Never, never forget political power. To forget political power is to forget politics, to forget the basic views of Marxism, and to pass into economism, anarchism, and utopianism. This would be muddleheadedness, losing one's head without even knowing how.

Here we can see that from the very beginning of the Cultural Revolution Lin Biao was bent upon seizing power. He had also pondered how to get it. With the help of historical scholars, he gathered materials on political coups throughout world history and studied them assiduously. From these he concluded that political coups d'etat tended in the main to be palace coups, starting from within. Lin Biao did not mind putting that knowledge into practice.

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