Shanghai Writing Group for Revolutionary Mass Criticism
(Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1971)
To Trumpet Bourgeois Literature and Art Is to Restore Capitalism
English translation of an article originally published in Hongqi (红旗, Red Flag), No. 4, 1970. The main target of this text is Zhou Yang (1908-1989, in this publication the old transcription 'Chou Yang' is used), the Party's most influential official in the field of arts and literature after 1949. Before the Cultural Revolution, he held many high positions, such as vice-minister of culture, vice-director of the Department of Propaganda of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, and vice-chairman of the All-China Federation of Literary and Art Circles. In 1955 he led the campaign against Hu Feng, the literary critic who opposed the supremacy of ideology over the arts as advocated by Mao Zedong. Later, Zhou became more liberal. He was the co-author of the so-called Ten Points on Literature and Art (1962) that allowed for more artistic freedom and warned against undue political interference. In 1966, he was among the first senior officials to fall. He was humiliated many times at mass meetings and ruthlessly persecuted. After the Cultural Revolution, he was rehabilitated and regained his position.
To Trumpet Bourgeois Literature and Art Is to Restore Capitalism
- A Repudiation of Chou Yang's Reactionary Fallacy Adulating the "Renaissance", the "Enlightenment" and "Critical Realism" of the Bourgeoisie
By the Shanghai Writing Group for Revolutionary Mass Criticism
FOREIGN LANGUAGES PRESS PEKING 1971
Printed in the People's Republic of China
Quotation from Chairman Mao Tsetung
One of our current important tasks on the ideological front is to unfold criticism of revisionism
THIRTY years ago, in summing up the struggle on the ideological and cultural front since the May 4th Movement,1 our great leader Chairman Mao pointed out: "Everything new comes from the forge of hard and bitter struggle. This is also true of the new culture which has followed a zigzag course in the past twenty years, during which both the good and the bad were tested and proved in struggle." (On New Democracy) It is precisely the struggle of those twenty years that gave birth to the epoch-making document of the Marxist ideological and cultural movement - Chairman Mao's Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art.
The thirty years since have witnessed an even more violent and tortuous strug-
gle between the two classes, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, and the two cultures, proletarian and bourgeois. The outcome of the test further confirms that Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line in literature and art is the only correct line for the movement of proletarian revolutionary literature and art.
"The four villains" Chou Yang, Hsia Yen, Tien Han and Yang Han-sheng, agents of the renegade, hidden traitor and scab Liu Shao-chi in literary and art circles, stubbornly pushed a sinister counter-revolutionary revisionist line in literature and art which opposed Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line. This sinister line advertised bourgeois and revisionist theories and works of literature and art for the purpose of restoring capitalism. In Chou Yang's eyes the Renaissance between the 14th and 16th centuries, the 18th century
Enlightenment and the 19th century literature and art of critical realism of the bourgeoisie in the West were "peaks, both ideologically and artistically".2 He claimed that there were so many "masters" standing on these "peaks" that "it is impossible to enumerate them".3 There was no need therefore for China's proletariat to make revolution in literature and art; all that was needed was to take the classical literature and art of the bourgeoisie in the West as the "goals to strive for",4 to create a "renaissance in the East".5 Over the decades, Chou Yang publicized numerous reactionary theories in praise of the bourgeois Renaissance, Enlightenment and critical realism, as poison arrows aimed at Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line in literature and art. We must thoroughly criticize these reactionary fallacies.
Make Bourgeois Literature and Art "Goals to Strive for" or Bring About Proletarian Revolution in Literature and Art?
What was the purpose of the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and critical realism? They all served the purpose of preparing public opinion for developing capitalism, establishing and consolidating the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and rescuing capitalism from extinction. The bourgeoisie had just stepped onto the political arena during the Renaissance, then it seized political power from the feudal class and gradually established its capitalist rule during the Enlightenment. But in the 19th century when critical realism came to the fore, the capitalist system fully revealed its intrinsic contradictions. The proletariat, as the bourgeoisie's gravedigger, now mounted the political arena. Doesn't the history of the development
from the Renaissance through the Enlightenment to critical realism reflect the process of the bourgeoisie from birth, development, to its downfall on a world-wide scale?
Chairman Mao has penetratingly pointed out: "Except for the revolution which replaced primitive communes by slavery, that is, a system of non-exploitation by one of exploitation, all revolutions ended in the replacement of one system of exploitation by another"; "Our revolution, the revolution of the masses of the people led by the proletariat and the Communist Party, is the only revolution aiming at the final elimination of all systems of exploitation and all classes." (Introductory note to Material on the Hu Feng Counter-Revolutionary Clique) In order to achieve this goal, the proletariat, in continuing the socialist revolution after it has won political power, has the important task of thoroughly criticizing
all reactionary bourgeois and other ideologies which serve the exploiting classes and the system of exploitation. The proletariat must not take bourgeois literature and art as a "model" or a "goal". To do so is to restore capitalism.
Can we still take the bourgeois Renaissance as a "goal to strive for" under the dictatorship of the proletariat? The exponents of the Renaissance did their utmost to advocate humanism, that is, humanitarianism, and were said to have been the first to "discover" and "affirm" the worth of the human being. The feudal class was also a type of human being, yet it did not talk of "humanity" but of "divinity". Its "divinities" were none other than the haloed feudal rulers themselves. The bourgeoisie used "humanity" to oppose the "divinity" of the feudal class, and its "humanity" refers to precisely the bourgeoisie itself. As for the hundreds of millions of working people, the creators of world
history, they were not "discovered", still less "affirmed". The humanists preached the paramountcy of happiness in the present world, opposing the feudal class's abnegation, that is, hidden self-indulgence, with their open bourgeois self-indulgence. They claimed, "My mind centres only around myself." Thus they described bourgeois egoism, epicureanism and the compulsive drive for possessions as "universal humanness" endowed by "nature". If a "renaissance" of these is to be brought about, what place would there be for the working people! Where would the red political power of the proletariat be!
Can we still take bourgeois Enlightenment as a "goal to strive for" under the dictatorship of the proletariat? Everywhere Chou Yang urged: "Use scientific truth to enlighten the masses."6 This mirrored the bourgeoisie's reactionary viewpoint of regarding itself as a "saviour" and the masses as "the mob".
Truth has its class character. What is "scientific truth"? In the history of mankind, only Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought is genuine scientific truth that will enable mankind to win complete emancipation. Where did Marxism come from? It was established on the basis of practical experiences in the proletarian revolutionary movement in various countries summarized by Marx and Engels. This is as Chairman Mao says "from the masses". The advanced elements of the proletariat introduced Marxism to the working people and continuously educated them in its truths. "Once the correct ideas characteristic of the advanced class are grasped by the masses, these ideas turn into a material force which changes society and changes the world." (Mao Tsetung, Where Do Correct Ideas Come from?) This is as Chairman Mao says, "to the masses". Marxism developed precisely along the line of "from the
masses, to the masses", "and so on, over and over again in an endless spiral, with the ideas becoming more correct, more vital and richer each time." (Mao Tsetung, Some Questions Concerning Methods of Leadership) Marxism, Leninism and Mao Tsetung Thought mark the three stages in the development of Marxism. In advocating the so-called Enlightenment the bourgeois democratic revolutionaries not only presented themselves as saviours but used such bourgeois slogans as "liberty, equality, fraternity" hypocritically to deceive the masses, to help establish or consolidate the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. To the proletariat, the "Enlightenment" means "hoodwinking" the masses pure and simple. Taking such literature and art as a "goal" was to create counter-revolutionary public opinion for Liu Shao-chi's bourgeois reactionary line. What of the character Lei Huan-chueh
in the reactionary film Plains Ablaze* fabricated by Chou Yang's sinister line in literature and art at the cue of Liu Shao-chi, in order to erect a monument to his renegade self? Lei Huan-chueh is homophonic with the Chinese characters which mean "His advent gives enlightenment." This scab appears as a "saviour" to "enlighten" the masses. For many years the renegade, hidden traitor and scab Liu Shao-chi pushed the bourgeois reactionary line aimed at misleading and suppressing the worker and peasant masses. It allowed the bourgeoisie to exploit and oppress the working people while forbidding the
* A reactionary feature film which distorted the revolutionary struggle of the railway workers and miners of Anyuan in 1922. Entirely concealing the fact that it was Chairman Mao who led the workers' movement, the film played up the scab Liu Shao-chi, who sold out the interests of the working class, as the "hero", "saviour" and "leader" of the strike.
worker and peasant masses to rise up in revolution!
Can we still take the literature and art of bourgeois critical realism as a "goal to strive for" under the dictatorship of the proletariat? The proletariat criticizes the bourgeoisie in order to destroy it completely. Bourgeois writers, however, when "criticizing" capitalism dare not negate its essence of exploitation, dare not touch the fundamental question of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Not only this but on the contrary, they try to consolidate bourgeois dictatorship and dream of prescribing nostrums for the incurable capitalist system. Their criticism of the capitalist society never goes beyond, nor can it go beyond, the limits set by the capitalist system. The modern revisionists, represented by the Soviet revisionist renegade clique, laud critical realism to the skies because they are also spokesmen for the decadent bourgeoisie and
want to maintain their bourgeois reactionary rule with it. Introduced into socialist New China from the Soviet revisionist renegade clique by Chou Yang and company, these bourgeois trends of literature and art branched out into theories on "truthful writing", "the deepening of realism" and "the broad path of realism".7 Chou Yang and company openly exhorted bourgeois intellectuals to "boldly expose the truth of life"8 and "expose the seamy side of the socialist system"9 so as to undermine and destroy the dictatorship of the proletariat. Therefore, if we wish to further consolidate and strengthen the proletarian dictatorship ideologically and culturally we must criticize bourgeois critical realism with the proletarian world outlook.
In fact, even at the time when the "renaissance" was advocated, the bourgeoisie used the slogan merely as a means, not as its real goal. Did it ever
intend to revive the slave-owners' culture of ancient Greece and Rome? Not at all. Chairman Mao points out: "A given culture is the ideological reflection of the politics and economics of a given society." (On New Democracy) The "ideal realm" of the bourgeoisie then was capitalist society; it had no intention of going back to the social order of slavery. In attacking feudal rule, it unfurled the banner of "renaissance" because it aimed, apart from rousing the militant enthusiasm of its own ranks, chiefly to disguise the paltry content of the bourgeois revolution, so as to cheat and mislead the broad masses of the people. It is clear that the bourgeoisie brought out the "renaissance" in the period of its rise to satisfy certain bourgeois political demands with some progressive significance - to replace the old system of exploitation with a new one, and achieve the transition from feudal to capitalist society.
But in making the bourgeois Renaissance a "goal to strive for" under the conditions of the dictatorship of the proletariat, Chou Yang and company fully unmasked themselves as entirely representing the overthrown bourgeoisie and suiting their counter-revolutionary needs of capitalist restoration. In other words, by reviving the old bourgeois ideas and culture they sought to restore the old politics and economics and the old system of exploitation, cause our socialist society to revert to a capitalist society and the socialist New China to become once again semi-colonial and semi-feudal old China.
The resistance the reactionary class puts up to the law of historical development only hastens its own downfall. Engels said, "It is the epoch which had its rise in the last half of the fifteenth century ... and while the burghers and nobles were still grappling with one another, the peasant war in Germany
pointed prophetically to future class struggles, by bringing on to the stage not only the peasants in revolt - that was no longer anything new - but, behind them, the beginnings of the modern proletariat, with the red flag in their hands and the demand for common ownership of property on their lips." (Selected Works of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Chinese ed., Vol. III, p. 492) The forerunners of the modern proletariat were already challenging the bourgeoisie uncompromisingly with "common ownership of property" at a time when the bourgeois Renaissance and Enlightenment were in progress. Today when Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought is being widely spread throughout the world, when imperialism is heading for total collapse and socialism is advancing to world-wide victory, it is as vicious and inane for Chou Yang and company to copy the same old bourgeois tricks in a bid to
revive capitalism as trying to stop the earth from turning.
Refute National Betrayal in Culture
In lauding bourgeois literature and art, Chou Yang specially explained: "Friends of foreign countries very much hope to see a renaissance in the East."10 The renegade and enemy agent Chou Yang's "foreign friends" could only be the handful of imperialists and social-imperialists. What "hopes" have they for socialist New China? "Basing themselves on the changes in the Soviet Union, the imperialist prophets are pinning their hopes of 'peaceful evolution' on the third or fourth generation of the Chinese Party." (Quotations from Chairman Mao Tsetung, Eng. ed., p. 277) Chou Yang is a traitor who faithfully implemented the counter-revolutionary "hopes" of the imperialist "prophets".
Chou Yang fabricated various sorts of counter-revolutionary hypotheses in order to push his line of national betrayal in literature and art.
There was the so-called theory of "absolute conformity".
Chou Yang held that the interests of the bourgeoisie in the period of its rise were "in conformity with the interests of the entire labouring people", hence bourgeois literature and art at the time of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment "made great contributions to mankind".11 And in the 19th century, when the bourgeoisie was already decadent and in decline, the critical realist writers, as "representatives of the bourgeoisie", were claimed to be "prodigals" who had betrayed their class and "did not favour capitalism".12 Thus literature and art of this kind again became the "pride of all civilized mankind".13 In one terse sentence: All bourgeois literature and art was "in
absolute conformity with" the interests of the labouring people!
This is downright class capitulation in culture.
The bourgeoisie has indeed always tried to pose as representing the interests of "all mankind". But even at the time when it started attacking the feudal class, it never for a moment stopped its cruel exploitation and oppression of the labouring people ; moreover, its aim in attacking the feudal class was to seize the power of controlling and exploiting the labouring people. Therefore, immediately after political power was in its hands, it invariably allied with the feudal class to ruthlessly suppress the labouring people who sought to carry the revolution forward. In modern world history, has the bourgeoisie not taught us enough of these lessons in blood?
Chairman Mao has a most penetrating generalization: "Whatever is under
the leadership of the bourgeoisie cannot possibly be of the masses." (Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art) This comment goes to the quick, punctures every lie spread by the bourgeoisie and revisionists, such as "literature and art of the whole people" and "literature and art of all mankind". This is because whatever is led by the bourgeoisie is remoulded according to its exploitative nature.
The whole of bourgeois culture in which Chou Yang and company took such "pride" was created on the basis of the bourgeoisie's ruthless plunder of the labouring people, and serves the political interests of the bourgeoisie. This is true of the literature and art of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment and also true of the 19th century literature and art of critical realism. The only difference is that in the former period the bourgeoisie was still in its "golden age" and projected such char-
acters as Robinson Crusoe, "conqueror" and ambitious colonialist, in a tale by Defoe; while in the latter period, the bourgeoisie was "sinking fast, like the sun setting beyond the western hills", and producing the writers of critical realism from Balzac to Tolstoy, plus a number of others who wrote obsessively of "superfluous man". Did these writers really "not favour capitalism"? By no means! They were trying might and main to forestall the doom and extinction of their class's decadent and reactionary rule. Marxists can never acclaim defenders of bourgeois rule as spokesmen of the working people but must make a class analysis of their works and help people to recognize them for what they are, free themselves from the bourgeoisie's web of lies and overthrow the capitalist system and its entire superstructure by means of violent revolution.
Then there was the so-called theory of being "unsurpassable".
Chou Yang touted the bourgeois Renaissance, the Enlightenment and critical realism as "peaks, both ideologically and artistically" and ordered that it was not allowed and "not necessary to surpass" them.14, Not only not "surpass", but the Chinese proletariat was not even to think of "comparing" with such "peaks", that only after it had crawled at snail pace behind the Western bourgeoisie "for a few centuries" could it think of "comparing".
Marxism - Leninism - Mao Tsetung Thought holds that no specific thing in the world has an unsurpassable limit. Bourgeois representatives, from their bourgeois viewpoint, have time and again declared that their idealistic and metaphysical ideological systems are "unsurpassable" and the "last word in theory", but the development of Marxism and of the revolution long ago
nailed this lie which the bourgeois representatives use to resist proletarian revolution and maintain bourgeois reactionary rule. Chou Yang's theory of being "unsurpassable" was in essence touting the "unsurpassableness" of the capitalist system.
Proletarian culture, which serves the workers, peasants and soldiers, is the greatest culture in human history. How can it be compared with bourgeois culture, the whole lot of which serves exclusively the exploiting classes? Compare the creation of typical characters. Open any of the works of the Renaissance, the Enlightenment or critical realism; those characters portrayed, acclaimed and glorified are only those of the exploiting classes and their intellectuals. The few characters who chance to appear from the worker and peasant masses are either distorted as ne'er-do-wells or maligned as servile robots. The exploiters and bloodsuckers
of every stripe are cast as principal characters in works of literature and art, swaggering on stage and screen, in novels and poems. Here, history's truth and the essence of historical development are reversed. Chou Yang, of course, refuses to admit this.
His concept is that bourgeois writers have not only created countless "typical characters true to life",15 but also created images of the "new people" of "imminent socialism".16 Time and again he heaped praises on the Russian bourgeois writer of the novel What Is to Be Done?, Chernyshevsky, for painting not only a superb "picture of socialist society",17 but also creating a group of typical "new people". One of these is named Vera. The "new" in her is that she hypocritically veils her obviously odious egoism with "rationalism". Unquestionably a woman factory capitalist, she dupes the workers by letting them think they're the "bosses", and
thus engages in "civilized exploitation". Vera's first husband remarks that he has long ago "seen in America"18 such a tactic.
We of the Shanghai working class had more than enough experience before liberation with such "new people" who let workers be "straw bosses" and whom Chou Yang lauded to the skies. Their so-called "civilized exploitation" was actually not only a means the big factory owners used to throw a few crumbs as pay to hired scabs and to swindle the workers but, like in the "welfare state" boasted by Nixon and Brezhnev, all this served the purpose of consolidating the capitalist system. Just dress up capitalism and call it "socialism" and you have at once the typical "new people" of "imminent socialism", so close to Chou Yang's heart. This is what he called unsurpassable "ideological and artistic peaks"!
"To find men truly great and noble-hearted we must look here in the present." History has long since testified that only the proletariat which has grasped Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought can produce brilliant images of true proletarian revolutionary heroes. The model revolutionary theatrical works which Comrade Chiang Ching painstakingly fostered under the guidance of Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line, are truly works with which no bourgeois literature and art can compare. How pallid the representatives of the exploiting classes in bourgeois literature and art when faced with Li Yu-ho, Yang Tzu-jung, Fang Hai-chen, Kuo Chien-kuang, Wu Chinghua, Hung Chang-ching and other proletarian revolutionary heroes and heroines in these theatrical works! Chou Yang said tremulously: "You'll hit snags if you want to surpass in everything."19 Does this not reveal the
fear of the bourgeoisie confronted with the magnificent victory of the proletarian revolution in literature and art?
Just as our great leader Chairman Mao pointed out long ago: "The great, victorious Chinese People's War of Liberation and the great people's revolution have rejuvenated and are rejuvenating the great culture of the Chinese people. In its spiritual aspect, this culture of the Chinese people already stands higher than any in the capitalist world. Take U.S. Secretary of State Acheson and his like, for instance. The level of their understanding of modern China and of the modern world is lower than that of an ordinary soldier of the Chinese People's Liberation Army." (The Bankruptcy of the Idealist Conception of History) Please note, "stands higher than any in the capitalist world", including their capitalist culture! This is the most thorough refutation of Chou
Yang's theory of "unsurpassable" and the most powerful reply to it!
Then there was the so-called theory of "total Westernization".
Chou Yang hooted to "turn to the Western legacy"20 and "preserve the ideologies of the olden times in today's literature and art in systematic form".21 "Old", "systematic", "preserve" - isn't this "total Westernization"? He also spread the falsities that China's "techniques in every artistic field are traditionally weak", "those of the West are certainly far more advanced and scientific than China's old, traditional techniques"; therefore "it is always profitable to assimilate as much as possible, that with every bit we assimilate, we shall benefit that much more".22 He indeed "forgot his ancestors while numbering the classics", as an old Chinese saying goes. How low he had stooped! Had he any semblance of a Chinese? Not a shred! His was the
manner of a vassal with hand extended to the Western bourgeoisie.
The Chinese people are a great, industrious and brave people, the Chinese nation is a great and highly cultured nation. From the May 4th Movement in 1919 there had arisen under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party with Chairman Mao Tsetung as leader a new cultural force and a new cultural orientation represented by Lu Hsun, which put an end to the old bourgeois democratic culture in the land of China.
Today we are building proletarian culture - the greatest and most revolutionary culture in mankind's history. Our firm and unalterable policies are: "Make the past serve the present and foreign things serve China" and "Weed through the old to bring forth the new". As regards ideological content, old Chinese art and foreign art express the political aspirations, thinking and
feelings of the exploiting classes of bygone times and other lands. It is necessary to thoroughly criticize and completely break with these things. As for certain aspects of the art forms of certain works, we must use Mao Tsetung Thought as our weapon to criticize and remould them, and enable these art forms to serve the creation of proletarian literature and art.
"There is no construction without destruction. Destruction means criticism and repudiation, it means revolution. It involves reasoning things out, which is construction. Put destruction first, and in the process you have construction." If these art forms are to be used, they must first be criticized; without being criticized they cannot serve us, to say nothing of weeding through the capitalist old to bring forth the socialist new. The model revolutionary theatrical works produced by the revolutionary literary and art
workers under the leadership of Comrade Chiang Ching are brilliant examples of applying Chairman Mao's great policies: "Make the past serve the present and foreign things serve China" and "Weed through the old to bring forth the new". These model revolutionary theatrical works are having ever more far-reaching influence on the practical question of method in approaching and dealing with the cultural legacy.
But Chou Yang's eyes saw only the "foreign" and not the "Chinese", the "past" and not the "present", the bourgeoisie of the West and not the proletariat of the East. If one allows bourgeois literature and art to lead oneself by the nose like Chou Yang, then "with every bit one assimilates" one would be playing the reactionary role of rendering service "that much more" to Liu Shao-chi and company's plot of national betrayal.
Chairman Mao penetratingly points out: "Class capitulationism is actually the reserve force of national capitulationism." (The Situation and Tasks in the Anti-Japanese War After the Fall of Shanghai and Taiyuan) From "absolute conformity" to "unsurpassable" and then to "total Westernization", Chou Yang crawled along after Liu Shao-chi onto the road of reneging the Party and betraying the country!
Springing from and maturing on semi-colonial, semi-feudal soil, the Chinese bourgeoisie was extremely weak and backward in both politics and culture. Its right wing, the comprador bourgeoisie, tailing after the Western bourgeoisie at every move, sank to the criminal perfidy of selling out the motherland. Chou Yang was precisely a representative of the bourgeoisie who pushed the line of national betrayal in culture. Of course he was not the only one. In China's contemporary cultural
history, Hu Shih was Chou Yang's forerunner. Hu Shih and company said that even the moon looked more beautiful in the United States. In the same tone Chou Yang prated that the bourgeois culture of the West was most advanced, most scientific and excellent, and that we could never aspire to such heights. Forerunner and disciple are indeed a pair of sworn brothers in the same boat. Is there any difference between them? Yes. It is this. Hu Shih was a cultural comprador peddling wares made in the U.S.A. exclusively while Chou Yang retailed a notions counter of miscellaneous imported goods. There is no other difference.
Carry the Revolution Through to the End on the Ideological-Cultural Front
"There is no construction without destruction, no flowing without damming
and no motion without rest." (Mao Tsetung, On New Democracy) If the current struggle-criticism-transformation mass movement on the literary and art front is to be carried forward, we must smash Chou Yang's reactionary theories which lauded bourgeois literature and art to the skies.
We must solve the question of correctly appraising Western classical literature and art. The so-called Renaissance, the Enlightenment and critical realism are all bourgeois classicism. Viewed from the historical materialist viewpoint, just as imperialism and social-imperialism are the highest stage of capitalism, so literature and art of the bourgeois modernist school represent the last stage of bourgeois literature and art, which is heading for extinction.
But the revisionists in China and other countries have long placed the bourgeois literature and art classics
against the bourgeois modernist literature and art, as if the former were not bourgeois but fine examples of "literature and art of the whole people", whose prestige was sullied by the modernist school. What a fraud! The two types of bourgeois literature and art do have some differences in artistry, the classics providing us with possible examples of artistic form while there is nothing for us to learn from the modernist school. Viewed from class nature both are the same, the latter being a malignant outgrowth of the former. This is the inevitable, logical result of the political and economic crises of the bourgeoisie in the 20th century, the era of imperialism and of proletarian revolution.
Under the dictatorship of the proletariat, the bourgeoisie adopts two methods in attacking the proletariat on the ideological-cultural front. One is simply to take over literature and art works of the modernist school, the other
is to use the so-called classics of literature and art. What the bourgeoisie seeks in the classics is precisely the "paradise" it has lost and is trying a thousand and one ways to "regain". There are still a number of people in society, particularly the young, who are not sufficiently aware of the class essence represented by the classics and fall easy prey to them. The proletariat must therefore use Marxism to thoroughly criticize the bourgeois classics of literature and art.
Negative example shows the necessity of such criticism: We need only touch the "masters" of bourgeois classical literature and art and the Soviet revisionist renegade clique gets its back up. Soviet revisionist culture, which sanctifies the "masters" of bourgeois classical literature and art, is also ridden with "jazz", rock'n'roll and the whole gamut of rubbish of the Western modernist school, and has made all this
"the thing" in the Soviet Union. It is clear that the revisionists intend not only to develop the carrion of the modernist school for their own purposes, but also to use the dead "classics" to exercise dictatorship over the proletariat and restore capitalism. They resort to these counter-revolutionary dual tactics simultaneously on the cultural front. Sometimes they argue among themselves and even make a big row. Some opt for the modernist school while others would throw it out. Some rant about the "sanctity" of the old tsars' barbarous ideology of aggression, while others rave how "civilized" the rotten culture of U.S. imperialism is. These are essentially only spats over the type of butcher's knife better for killing people. The people can learn much from this type of historical lesson. For a long time Chou Yang and company, sanctifying the "masters" while donning the cloak of Marxism-Leninism,
spread a lot of poison in literature and the social and natural sciences. We must have a big ideological clean-up in order to deflate the arrogance of the Western bourgeoisie, raise the morale of the Chinese proletariat and promote socialist science and culture. This is a long-term revolutionary task, a task we must grasp firmly and carry through to the end.
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution has already achieved many great victories. A series of model revolutionary theatrical works, born of the revolution in Peking opera, ballet and symphonic music, now shine with ever greater brilliance and exert ever greater influence, inspiring us to further revolutionizing and creation in every phase of literature and art, as Chairman Mao directs. The counter-revolutionary revisionist line in literature and art preached by Chou Yang has been shattered but the struggle between the two
classes and two lines on the ideological-cultural front is by no means over. Old ideologies and cultures will put up a desperate fight for survival. New poisonous weeds may sprout in various bourgeois modernistic or classical art forms and vie with the proletariat for supremacy. All these decadent manifestations are detrimental to the dictatorship of the proletariat.
We must, therefore, continue fighting under the guidance of Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line in literature and art, and unfold the revolutionary mass criticism on a still larger scale. We must criticize Liu Shao-chi's counter-revolutionary revisionist line in politics and in literature and art, criticize the four bourgeois villains Chou Yang, Hsia Yen, Tien Han and Yang Han-sheng, criticize Confucius, Hu Shih and the "masters" they praised and all varieties of bourgeois reactionary thinking. This will enable the masses of
revolutionary literary and art workers to steel and remould themselves in the revolutionary mass criticism. We hope all comrades on the various fronts will pay closer attention to and take a greater part in this revolutionary mass criticism movement so as to carry the class struggle in the ideological sphere through to the end and strive persistently to establish and consolidate the allround dictatorship of the proletariat in the superstructure, including all fields of culture. Let us raise high the great red banner of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and plunge into the heat of battle to greet the new high tide of proletarian revolution in literature and art !
- From Hongqi (Red Flag), No. 4, 1970
1 The May 4th Movement was an antiimperialist and anti-feudal revolutionary movement which began on May 4, 1919. In the first half of that year, the victors of World War I, i.e., Britain, France, the United States, Japan, Italy and other imperialist countries, met in Paris to divide the spoils and decided that Japan should take over all the privileges previously enjoyed by Germany in Shantung Province, China. The students of Peking were the first to show determined opposition to this scheme, holding rallies and demonstrations on May 4. The Northern warlord government arrested more than thirty students in an effort to suppress this opposition. In protest, the students of Peking went on strike and large numbers of students in other parts of the country responded. On June 3 the Northern warlord government started arresting students in Peking en masse, and within two days about a thousand were taken into custody. This aroused still greater indignation throughout the country. From June 5 onwards, the workers of Shanghai and many other cities went on strike and the merchants in these places shut their shops. Thus, what was at first
a patriotic movement consisting mainly of intellectuals rapidly developed into a national patriotic movement embracing the proletariat, the urban petty bourgeoisie and the bourgeoisie. And along with the growth of this patriotic movement, the new cultural movement which had begun before May 4 as a movement against feudalism and for the promotion of science and democracy, grew into a vigorous and powerful revolutionary cultural movement whose main current was the propagation of Marxism-Leninism.
lacies on literature and art put forward by Chou Yang and company, agents of the renegade, hidden traitor and scab Liu Shao-chi in literary and art circles. They vainly tried to negate the principle of Party spirit of proletarian literature and art and opposed literature and art serving the workers, peasants and soldiers, opposed it serving proletarian politics. The nub of these fallacies is to oppose praising the revolutionary heroism of the proletariat and working people, oppose creating heroic images of workers, peasants and soldiers, so as to undermine the dictatorship of the proletariat and pave the way for the restoration of capitalism. For example, "truthful writing" openly instigates bourgeois reactionary writers to "boldly expose the truth of life", that is, to seek out the seamy side of life in socialist society for the purpose of smearing bright socialism.
"The deepening of realism" advocates that writers collect "old things" from the masses and then create complicated "middle characters" and describe the contradictions of the innermost world of the "middle characters", that is, the backward characters. In the eyes of Chou Yang and company, through writing such works, realism
would be "deepened". The essence of advocating this reactionary fallacy is to pour out and spread their scepticism of and dissatisfaction with the socialist system and to oppose socialist revolution and socialist construction.
"The broad path of realism" alleges that the most correct and the broadest road of serving the workers, peasants and soldiers is too cramped, for "it confines writers to a narrow unalterable path". It advocates that authors write whatever they like according to "their own experience, cultivation, temperament and artistic individuality", in an attempt to make writers abandon the political orientation of serving the workers, peasants and soldiers for the exploration of "a vast area to bring their creativeness into full play". This fully reveals the vicious aims of Chou Yang and his like to disintegrate the dictatorship of the proletariat and to restore capitalism.