1966 - China’s Literary and Art Workers Advance Firmly and Triumphantly Along the Road Pointed Out by Chairman Mao
Response to the Militant Call of the Literary and Art Circles’ Rally for the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution
THE new and militant call from the literary and art circles’ rally for the great proletarian cultural revolution recently held in Peking has given tremendous inspiration and strength to the broad masses of literary and art workers in the capital and provinces and in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. They have said: The speeches made by Comrades Chou En-lai, Chen Po-ta and Chiang Ching at the rally fully expressed Chairman Mao’s deep concern for us and expectations of us, and the great strength and victory of the invincible thought of Mao Tse-tung on literature and art. We are determined to forge ahead victoriously along the road pointed out by Chairman Mao.
The rally in the Great Hall of the People on the evening of November 28 was held in the excellent situation brought about by the great victory won by the proletarian revolutionary line represented by Chairman Mao. Leading members of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and various fields with more than 20,000 literary and art workers from Peking and other places took part (see Peking Review, No. 50, 1966, p. 5).
Peking’s revolutionary literary and art workers and revolutionary teachers and students of art institutions have excitedly discussed it. Hailing its militant revolutionary spirit, they have said: This rally has ordered us to mobilize for a general offensive against those in authority in literary and art circles who were taking the capitalist road, and against the counter-revolutionary revisionist line in literature and art which they represented. Reviewing the sharp struggle between the two classes—the proletariat and the bourgeoisie—and the two lines on the literary and art front in the past decade and more, they angrily denounced the former Peking Municipal Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, the former Propaganda Department of the Party’s Central Committee and the former Ministry of Culture which dominated literary and art circles and pursued a counter-revolutionary revisionist line in literature and art in opposition to Chairman Mao’s line on literature and art. Hoisting “red flags” in opposition to the red flag, they resorted to double dealing and all kinds of sinister and vicious tricks, they did their utmost to resist and oppose the orientation given by Chairman Mao—that literature and art should serve the workers, peasants and soldiers—and to prevent by all means the staging of plays on contemporary revolutionary themes so that emperors and kings, generals and ministers, scholars and beauties, ancients and foreigners should continue to dominate the stage, with the aim of preparing public opinion for a bourgeois restoration.
Many revolutionary fighters from various literary and art organizations spoke from personal experience about the epoch-making new achievements in the past few years in the reform of Peking opera, the ballet and symphonic music. Revolutionary dancers of the Ballet Troupe of the Central Opera and Dance Drama Theatre, describing the birth of the ballet Red Detachment of Women, told of how Comrade Chiang Ching led them in carrying out Chairman Mao’s instruction to “make foreign things serve China” and reforming the ballet, smashing all kinds of underhand obstruction on the part of leaders of the former Propaganda Department of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and the former Ministry of Culture. Young fighters in the operatic world declared that the exemplary Peking operas Red Lantern, Shachiapang, Taking the Bandits’ Stronghold and Raid on the White Tiger Regiment were all successfully completed under the personal guidance of Comrade Chiang Ching, who shared weal and woe with the masses. Each of these operas bears the marks of her care and interest. The revolutionary musicians of the Central Philharmonic Society characterized the symphonic work Shachiapang as a young shoot of the new, proletarian music nurtured by Mao Tse-tung’s thought. For the first time in the history of music, symphonic music has successfully reflected and extolled the great thought of Mao Tse-tung. They called the work an important result of the revolution in symphonic music.
The masses of revolutionary fighters on the literary and art front and amateur worker and peasant activists in literature and art throughout the country have given a unanimous and resolute response to the call of the rally. Members of the Amateur Troupe of Hopei Peasants who were at the time performing for those working on the Haiho River project said: In the past Chou Yang, chief of the pernicious counter-revolutionary revisionist line in literature and art, and the reactionary bourgeois “authorities” were contemptuous of items performed by us poor and lower-middle peasants; they opposed our portraying the revolutionary heroism displayed by the poor and lower-middle peasants in battling the forces of nature. But Chairman Mao gives us the staunchest support; he had us take part in the National Day performances in Peking this year. This is indeed a new era in which we workers, peasants and soldiers are occupying a position of honour. We shall always sing the praises of Chairman Mao, who has led us to liberation, the Communist Party and the invincible thought of Mao Tse-tung. Amateur worker activists in literature and art who took part in the “Harbin Summer” music festival declared: We workers and peasants are the creators of spiritual as well as material wealth, and we are the main force disseminating and defending Mao Tse-tung’s thought. In the great proletarian cultural revolution, we are determined to wield the powerful weapon that is Mao Tse-tung’s thought and completely smash the pernicious counter-revolutionary revisionist line in literature and art.
The important speeches at the rally were carefully studied on the following days by the broad masses of professional and spare-time literary and art workers of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. Everyone speaking in the discussions said that these speeches give a most penetrating exposition of the literary and art line and orientation laid down by Chairman Mao, and most timely guidance to the mighty army of revolutionary literary and art workers of the whole nation in their victorious march along the road pointed out by Chairman Mao. The field of literature and art is an important battle front in the class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. If the proletariat is to carry the socialist revolution through to the end and root out revisionism, a great revolution in the sphere of literature and art must be carried out, the old literature and art must be thoroughly reformed, and a new socialist literature and art of the proletariat must be created by weeding through the old to let the new emerge. All this is to enable culture to better serve the economic base of socialism. Members of the team that made the film Great Wall Along the Southern Sea, an August First Film Studio production, declared that the bourgeois ladies and gentlemen, scholars and beauties must be swept clean off the stage and screen to let the workers, peasants and soldiers take over these socialist positions and become the real masters of the new, proletarian culture. We are firmly convinced that with the invincible thought of Mao Tse-tung to guide us we will sweep away the old literature and art of the exploiting classes, shoot good films which the broad masses of workers, peasants and soldiers will like to see and make Mao Tse-tung’s thought prevail in socialist film art.
The decision of the Military Commission of the Party’s Central Committee appointing Comrade Chiang Ching adviser on cultural work to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army was enthusiastically supported by all the literary and art workers in the army. They paid tribute to Comrade Chiang Ching’s special contributions in resolutely persisting in the literary and art line of Chairman Mao, in personally taking part in the struggle against the pernicious counter-revolutionary revisionist line in literature and art and in the practical struggle to create a new, proletarian literature and art. This decision of the Military Commission appointing her as adviser on cultural work to the P.L.A. will greatly strengthen leadership in the cultural work of the P.L.A. and greatly speed up the revolutionization of cultural work in the P.L.A.
As they cheered the great Peking rally, revolutionary literary and art workers expressed resolute determination to further study and apply Chairman Mao’s writings creatively, to take the “three constantly read articles” as their maxims, to diligently remould their world outlook, and never cease to be revolutionary, to stage revolutionary plays and be propagators of Mao Tse-tung’s thought throughout their lives.