1966 - In Praise of the Red Guards
The revolutionary people throughout China are now vying with each other in praising the Red Guards.
The revolutionary initiative of the Red Guards has shaken the whole world.
The Red Guards are something new that has emerged in the tempest of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution; they were born and are growing up in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.
The Red Guards have been nurtured in their growth by Mao Tse-tung’s thought. The Red Guards say, and say it well: Chairman Mao is our red commander and we are the young, red soldiers of Chairman Mao.
What our Red Guards love most of all is to read Chairman Mao’s works and follow his teachings, and their love for Mao Tse-tung’s thought is most ardent. They carry with them copies of Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-tung. They take as their highest obligation the study, dissemination, application, and defence of Mao Tse-tung’s thought.
In the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution which was personally started and is being personally led by Chairman Mao, the Red Guards have resolutely carried out courageous and stubborn struggles against those in authority who take the capitalist road and against all ghosts and monsters, and they have become the path-makers in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.
After the publication of the “Decision of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party Concerning the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution,” which was drawn up under his personal direction, Chairman Mao, the great leader, and Comrade Lin Piao, his close comrade-in-arms, reviewed the Red Guards in the Chinese capital on August 18. With the direct encouragement of the great supreme commander Chairman Mao, the Red Guards and other revolutionary organizations of the young people set going a new high tide in the Great Cultural Revolution.
Coming out of their schools and into the streets, the tens of millions of Red Guards formed an irresistible revolutionary torrent. Holding aloft the red banner of the invincible thought of Mao Tse-tung and displaying the proletarian, revolutionary spirit of daring to think, to speak, to act, to break through, and to rise up in revolution, they are cleaning up the muck left over by the old society and sweeping away the rubbish accumulated over thousands of years of history.
The Red Guards have done many good things and put forward many good suggestions. In accordance with Chairman Mao’s teachings, they have achieved brilliant results in the struggle to eradicate the old ideas, culture, customs, and habits of the exploiting classes and to foster the new ideas, culture, customs, and habits of the proletariat.
The Red Guards are the shock force of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Their revolutionary actions have roused revolutionary fervour among the masses, bringing about a vigorous mass movement on a still greater scale. Such a sweeping revolutionary mass movement has engulfed in the vast sea of the revolutionary masses the handful of persons in power who have wormed their way into the Party and have taken the capitalist road. Without such a large-scale mass movement, it would be impossible to destroy the social basis on which the handful of bourgeois Rightists rests and to carry through the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution thoroughly and in depth.
The Red Guards are a new phenomenon on the eastern horizon. The revolutionary youngsters are the symbol of the future and the hope of the proletariat. Revolutionary dialectics tells us that the newborn forces are invincible, that they inevitably grow and develop in struggle and in the end defeat the decaying forces. Therefore, we shall certainly sing the praises of the new, eulogize it, beat the drums to encourage it, bang the gongs to clear a way for it, and raise our hands high in welcome.
Our Red Guards have performed immortal meritorious deeds in the course of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Chairman Mao and the Central Committee of the Party enthusiastically praise their soaring revolutionary spirit, and the broad masses of workers, peasants, and soldiers enthusiastically acclaim their revolutionary actions.
The revolutionary actions of the revolutionary young fighters are indeed excellent! Their meritorious deeds in the Great Cultural Revolution will go down for ever in the revolutionary history of the proletariat.
The Red Guards are learning to swim by swimming, are learning to make a revolution by taking part in it. What they demand of themselves is not only to have the daring to struggle and make revolution, but to be good at struggle, good at revolution. On the basis of the experience they themselves have gained in practice, they are now further studying the 16-point decision of the Party’s Central Committee concerning the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, grasping it, and applying it.
Having received the warm praise of Chairman Mao and the broad masses of the workers, peasants, and soldiers, the revolutionary young fighters are now reminding themselves to guard against conceit and rashness and to learn modestly from the People’s Liberation Army and the masses of the workers and peasants. They are determined to raise their political consciousness still further and heighten their sense of organization and discipline, in accordance with the “three-eight” working style of the People’s Liberation Army and the Three Main Rules of Discipline and the Eight Points for Attention. They are resolved to temper themselves in the furnace of revolution so as to become revolutionary fighters of the type of Lei Feng, Wang Chieh, Mai Hsien-teh, and Liu Ying-chun, to become Communists who are utterly devoted to others without any thought of self, to become the successors to the revolutionary cause of the proletariat.
Different classes take different views of the revolutionary actions of the Red Guards. The revolutionary classes regard them as extremely good while the counterrevolutionary classes look upon them as extremely bad.
Revolutionary people throughout the world have applauded these revolutionary actions and paid high tribute to the Red Guards. On the other hand, the imperialists, the reactionaries of all countries, the modern revisionists, and the Chiang Kai-shek bandit gang are cursing the Red Guards in the most venomous language. They have vilified the Red Guards as “young fanatics” and attacked their revolutionary actions as “violating human dignity,” “destroying social traditions,” and so on and so forth.
Chairman Mao has taught us that to be attacked by the enemy is not a bad thing but a good thing. It is still better if the enemy attacks us wildly and paints us in the worst colours and without a single virtue. It is indeed a great honour for the Red Guards that they have been attacked wildly by the class enemies at home and abroad.
“Young fanatics”! Invariably the enemies of revolution are extremely hostile to the revolutionary enthusiasm of the masses, and they smear it as “fanatical.” And it is precisely what the enemy hates that we love. Not only must the revolutionary young fighters maintain their exuberant revolutionary enthusiasm, they must also further display their soaring revolutionary spirit.
“Violating human dignity”! The Red Guards have ruthlessly castigated, exposed, criticized, and repudiated the decadent, reactionary culture of the bourgeoisie, and they have exposed the ugly features of the bourgeois Rightists to the bright light of day, landing them in the position of rats running across the street and being chased by all. So they shout: “This violates human dignity.” To speak frankly, we should not only violate their “dignity” but knock them down so that they can never rise up again.
“Destroying social traditions”? You are right. The Red Guards do want to destroy the traditions of the landlords and the bourgeoisie. The revolutionary young fighters want precisely to make a clean sweep of the remaining viruses of feudalism, eliminate the germs of capitalism, and dig out the evil roots of revisionism. Only by utterly destroying the various old traditions of the exploiting classes is it possible to carry on and develop the revolutionary traditions of the proletariat.
In accordance with the directives of Chairman Mao and the Party’s Central Committee, the young Red Guard fighters are concentrating all forces to strike at the handful of bourgeois Rightists, and their main target is those in power within the Party who are taking the capitalist road. In doing so, they are removing the time bombs planted in China by imperialism and revisionism. Therefore, it is quite natural that the imperialists and revisionists should feel shocked, enraged, and bitter about the revolutionary actions of the Red Guards.
That mouthpiece of the reactionary classes Pope Paul the Sixth helplessly blurted out that for them the revolutionary actions of the Red Guards were “a sign of death and not a sign of life.” Yes, indeed. The revolutionary actions taken by the revolutionary young fighters are a sure sign of final destruction for the class enemies at home and abroad. And our Red Guards are a symbol that the revolutionary cause of the proletariat is prospering and has unlimited vitality.
Like the red sun rising in the east, the unprecedented great proletarian cultural revolution is illuminating the land with its brilliant rays.
Long live the Red Guards armed with Mao Tse-tung’s thought!
Long live Chairman Mao, our great teacher, great leader, great supreme commander, and great helmsman!
[“Red Flag” (Hongqi), no. 12, 1966.]