A Great Revolution That Touches the People to Their Very Souls
[This article is reprinted from Peking Review, Vol. 9, #24, June 10,
1966, pp. 8-9. Thanks are due to the WWW.WENGEWANG.ORG
web site for some of the work done for this posting.]
CHINA today is in a new era of great change after the seizure of political power by the proletariat and is in a new situation in which the socialist revolution becomes deeper every day. It finds itself in the strong current of a great socialist cultural revolution which touches people to their very souls.
The gradual deepening of the socialist revolution and of the socialist education movement inevitably brings the question of the proletarian cultural revolution to the fore. Whether or not you are genuinely in favour of the socialist revolution or whether you are even against the socialist revolution is bound to manifest itself in your altitude towards the proletarian cultural revolution. This is a question that touches people’s souls, in other words, their world outlook, a question of whether the proletarian or the bourgeois world outlook dominates people’s minds. It is a struggle between the two antagonistic world outlooks.
Like two armies facing each other in battle, the two antagonistic world outlooks, that is, the antagonistic world outlooks of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, are locked in a struggle which invariably results in one vanquishing the other. Either you crush me, or I crush you. Either the East wind prevails over the West wind, or the West wind prevails over the East wind. There is no middle road.
The Party and Chairman Mao leach us to arm ourselves with the proletarian world outlook to change our subjective world while changing the objective world. But the representatives of the bourgeoisie and the bourgeois “scholars and authorities” insist on dragging us into the quagmire of the bourgeois world outlook and subverting socialism. Confronted by our sworn enemies, we must rally under the great banner of Mao Tse-tung’s thought and wage resolute and relentless struggles against the anti-Party and anti-socialist bourgeois representatives and “scholars and authorities.” Only by resolute struggle against them and dissipating the evil bourgeois winds can people free themselves from the influence of bourgeois ideology, traditions and force of habit, pass the great test of socialist revolution and march forward in giant strides along the broad road of socialist revolution.
It is erroneous, contrary to Marxism-Leninism and at variance with dialectics to say that there are no contradictions in socialist society. How can there be no contradictions? There will still be contradictions after 1,000 or 10,000 or even 100 million years. Contradictions will exist in the universe even after the destruction of the earth and the extinction of the sun. All things are in a flux of contradiction, struggle and change. This is the Marxist-Leninist outlook. The essence of Marxism is critical and revolutionary. Its basic spirit is criticism, struggle and revolution. This alone can constantly propel our socialist cause forward. Chairman Mao often quotes the saying, “the tree may prefer calm, but the wind will not subside,” to tell us that class struggle is an objective fact and is independent of man’s will. The bourgeoisie is daily trying to influence us and corrupt us. The current struggle has been provoked entirely by the representatives of the bourgeoisie. Moreover, they have been preparing and waging it for many years. We cannot avoid it even if we want to. Struggle is life. If you don’t struggle against him, he will struggle against you. If you don’t hit him, he will hit you. If you don’t wipe him out, he will wipe you out. This is a life-and-death class struggle. It is dangerous to lose vigilance in such a struggle.
Chairman Mao says. “... while we recognize that in the general development of history the material determines the mental and social being determines social consciousness, we also — and indeed must — recognize the reaction of mental on material things, of social consciousness on social being and of the superstructure on the economic base.”
Bourgeois ideology is still very powerful and exerts an immense influence in our country. The question of who will win out in the ideological sphere, the proletariat or the bourgeoisie, has not yet been settled.
We must have a firm grip on ideology and the superstructure, theoretical and academic work, literature and art, etc., so as to consolidate the ideological positions of the proletariat, strengthen the dictatorship of the proletariat and consolidate the economic base of socialism.
The representatives of the overthrown bourgeoisie are still trying to tighten their grip on ideology and the superstructure, theoretical and academic work, literature and art, etc. On the cultural front, they have worked hard to let emperors and kings, generals and prime ministers, scholars and beauties, foreign idols and dead men dominate the stage and have carried on anti-Party and anti-socialist propaganda with a view to moulding public opinion in preparation for the restoration of capitalism.
We must never regard our struggle against them as mere polemics on paper which do not affect the general situation. It was a number of revisionist literary men of the Petofi Club who acted as the shock brigade in the Hungarian events. The turbulent wind precedes the mountain storm. This is the prelude to the vain attempt of the revisionists at a counter-revolutionary restoration.
Therefore, the current sharp class struggle we are engaged in on the ideological and cultural front is a struggle to shatter all schemes for capitalist restoration ideologically and to dig out the ideological roots of revisionism, a struggle to strengthen the dictatorship of the proletariat and defend Mao Tse-tung’s thought. This struggle must end in victory, and there is no doubt that it can and will end in victory.
We should attach great importance to the role of ideology, of proletarian and socialist ideology, of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Tse-tung’s thought. For us Communists, to attach no importance to the role of ideology would be philistine or mechanical materialism. We must arouse the enthusiasm of the people and broaden their horizon about the future by means of the great thought of Mao Tse-tung and our great just cause, so that they will unswervingly march ahead! The Chinese people must rid themselves of the influence of all the traditions and forces of habit of thousands of years left over by the exploiting classes and the influence of imperialism. Once freed from all these influences, they will generate a mighty force and play a powerful role. We must enhance our communist consciousness and consciously foster communist ideology. We must not be waverers, we must be thoroughgoing revolutionaries. We must always hold high the great red banner of Mao Tse-tung’s thought, sweep away all monsters and carry the great proletarian cultural revolution through to the end.
(“Renmin Ribao” editorial, June 2.)
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