1966 - Red Guards Destroy the Old and Establish the New
Since August 20, the young Red Guards of Peking, detachments of students, have taken to the streets. With the revolutionary rebel spirit of the proletariat, they have launched a furious offensive to sweep away reactionary, decadent bourgeois and feudal influences, and all old ideas, culture, customs and habits. This mounting revolutionary storm is sweeping the cities of the entire nation. “Let Mao Tse-tung’s thought occupy all positions; use it to transform the mental outlook of the whole of society; sweep away all ghosts and monsters; brush aside all stumbling-blocks and resolutely carry the great proletarian cultural revolution through to the end!” This is the militant aim of the young revolutionary fighters. Their revolutionary actions have everywhere received the enthusiastic support of the revolutionary masses.
In Peking. During the past week and more Red Guards have scored victory after victory as they pressed home their attack against the decadent customs and habits of the exploiting classes. Beating drums and singing revolutionary songs detachments of Red Guards are out in the streets doing propaganda work, holding aloft big portraits of Chairman Mao, extracts from Chairman Mao’s works, and great banners with the words: We are the critics of the old world; we are the builders of the new world. They have held street meetings, put up big-character posters and distributed leaflets in their attack against all the old ideas and habits of the exploiting classes. As a result of the proposals of the Red Guards and with the support of the revolutionary masses, shop signs which spread odious feudal and bourgeois ideas have been removed, and the names of many streets, lanes, parks, buildings and schools tainted with feudalism, capitalism or revisionism or which had no revolutionary significance have been replaced by revolutionary names. The service trades have thrown out obsolete rules and regulations.
Support for the revolutionary actions of the Red Guards has been expressed in countless big-character posters which the masses of revolutionary workers and staff have put up in the newly renamed major thoroughfares of the capital. They have also expressed their support with street demonstrations.
Draping the many-storied front of the newly renamed Peking Department Store are gigantic banners with the words: “Resolute support for the revolutionary students’ revolutionary actions!” and “Salute to the young revolutionary fighters!” Workers of the Peking Steel Plant, encouraged by the actions of the revolutionary students, have launched vigorous attacks on old ideas, styles of work, methods and systems that hamper the revolution and production in their plant. They have put forward many revolutionary proposals and already begun reforms. Workers at the Peking No. 2 Cotton Textile Mill are emulating the revolutionary rebel spirit of the Red Guards and are attacking all old influences. The workers hold that everyone has the right to sweep away the influences of the old, not only outside, in the streets, but also in the factories and all other enterprises and in government offices. In this way, by sweeping together, the great proletarian cultural revolution will be carried through to complete victory.
Commanders and fighters of the People’s Liberation Army in the capital have unanimously expressed support for the revolutionary students’ revolutionary actions, and the carrying of the great proletarian cultural revolution through to the end. They say that the great revolutionary actions of the revolutionary students in attacking bourgeois ideology, customs and habits is another instance of the great material strength that is generated by Mao Tsetung’s thought once it grips the revolutionary masses. Speaking at a discussion meeting of the 12th company of a garrison unit in Peking commanders and fighters said that the revolutionary actions of the young fighters are smashing the old world and building a new world. Pao Hsi-ming, of a P.L.A. Navy Air Force unit who won a combat citation, second class, for shooting down a U.S. made plane of the Chiang gang, told a Hsinhua correspondent that the revolutionary actions of the Red Guards were thoroughgoing revolutionary actions as the result of their following the teachings of Chairman Mao and acting according to his instructions. “They are doing right and doing fine,” he said.
In Shanghai. In this huge city which has the largest concentration of capitalists in the country and which, until the liberation, had long been under the rule of the imperialists and domestic reactionaries, the revolutionary students and the broad masses of workers and staff have taken up their iron brooms to sweep away all old habits and customs. The show windows of the Wing On Co., one of the biggest department stores in the city, are plastered with big-character posters put up by the Red Guards and workers and staff of the store, proposing that “Wing On” (Eternal Peace) should be changed into “Yong Hong” (Red For Ever) or “Yong Dou” (Struggle For Ever). The posters point out that in the old society the boss of the store chose the name “Wing On” because he wanted to be left in peace for ever to exploit the working people. “For a long time now the store has been in the hands of the people and we are certainly not going to tolerate this odious name a day longer,” say the posters.
In “The Great World,” the biggest amusement centre of Shanghai, workers and staff together with the Red Guards took down the old name sign which was several metres long. When the last character of the sign was brought down, thousands of revolutionary people in the streets and in the windows of neighbouring buildings applauded and cheered: “Long live Chairman Mao!” and “Long live the great proletarian cultural revolution!”
The waterfront of the Whangpoo River in Shanghai was, until the liberation, the centre of imperialist plunder of the Chinese people. The buildings here have still carried many reminders of the imperialists and here the Red Guards and revolutionary workers and staff have gone in for revolutionizing in a big way. They have taken down all the imperialist signs from walls and removed the bronze lions outside one of the big buildings.
The revolutionary workers and staff of Shanghai barber shops have adopted revolutionary measures in response to the proposals of the Red Guards: they no longer cut and set hair in the grotesque fashions indulged in by a small minority of people; they cut out those services specially worked out for the bourgeoisie such as manicuring, beauty treatments and so on. In those shops which sold only goods catering to the needs of a small minority of people, workers and staff have taken the revolutionary decision to start supplying the people at large with good popular commodities at low prices.
In Tientsin. For the past several days there has been a new revolutionary atmosphere in the streets. Drums and gongs have been sounding around Binjiang Street, the business centre, and firecrackers have crackled all day long; many shops have discarded their old shop signs, and replaced them with new revolutionary ones. Inspired by the revolutionary spirit of the Red Guards, the revolutionary workers and staff members of “Quanyechang,” one of the biggest markets in the city, smashed the name sign inlaid in its wall for the past 38 years and hung up a new sign, the “People’s Market.” The “Beiyang Textile Mill” which was established in the time of the Northern warlords 45 years ago is now renamed “Four-New Textile Mill,” meaning a mill with new ideas, new culture, new customs and new habits. The “Golden Tripod,” the factory’s old trademark, has been changed for a new trademark, “Worker and Peasant.”
In Hangchow. The Tungpo Theatre, Tungpo Road, and the Su Ti (Su Dike) on Hangehow’s West Lake named after Su Tung-po, a feudal man of letters of eight centuries ago, have been given new names with revolutionary meanings. The scissors shops which used the former shop owner’s name — Chang Hsiao-chuan — as their shop sign for the past three centuries, have now taken the new name: “Hangchow Scissors Shop.”
In Sining. In the capital of Chinghai Province, western China, the broad masses of revolutionary workers and staff, revolutionary cadres and poor and lower-middle peasants are giving resolute support to the young revolutionary fighters for their revolutionary rebel spirit of defying heaven or earth. Some shops, cinemas and theatres have been given new revolutionary names. Carrying large portraits of Chairman Mao and beating drums and gongs, the workers of the Sining Transport Vehicle Plant, a model enterprise, paraded the streets, pledging their support to the young fighters. Backing up the young revolutionary fighters, the poor and lower middle peasants of the Mafang People’s Commune have changed their commune’s name into the “Workers, Peasants and Soldiers Commune.”
In Lhasa. This city’s streets have been bubbling with excitement throughout the past few days. Carrying big portraits of Chairman Mao, displaying declarations of war on the old world, and beating drums and gongs, hundreds of Red Guards and revolutionary students and teachers of the Tibetan Normal School and the Lhasa Middle School took to the streets in a vigorous offensive to destroy the “four olds” — old ideas, old culture, old customs and old habits. In their declaration, the Red Guards and revolutionary students and teachers of Lhasa Middle School proclaimed: A decade and more has rolled by since Lhasa was liberated. It was the great Communist Party of China and our great leader Chairman Mao who led us in winning our emancipation and thus we were brought to a happy life. However, the spiritual shackles put upon us by the three kinds of serf-owners were still tight around our necks. This can no longer be tolerated. It is high time for us to settle accounts with them.
Red Guards and revolutionary students and teachers in Lhasa have proposed to change the names of places, streets and houses which are tainted with feudal serfdom and superstition. They also propose that literary and art groups forbid the performance of operas and plays which reek of imperialism and feudalism. The broad masses of workers and peasants in Lhasa have unanimously pledged themselves to give strong backing to the young Red Guard fighters and battle shoulder to shoulder with them to transform the city of Lhasa into a new, highly proletarianized and revolutionized city.