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 Keep to the Correct Orientation and Uphold the Philosophy of Struggle

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Keep to the Correct Orientation and Uphold the Philosophy of Struggle

-- Notes on studying Chairman Mao's Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art

by Chu Lan

Source: Beijing Review  17, no. 22, 31 May 1974, 13-15.

Thirty-two years ago, Chairman Mao published his Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art in the thick of a fierce struggle between the two lines. This brilliant work thoroughly criticized the opportunist line pushed by Wang Ming and his followers and one of its important ideological origins -- the doctrines of Confucius and Mencius. It penetratingly repudiated Wang Ming and company's reactionary political stand in opposing progress and persisting in retrogression and its manifestations in literature and art, and has inherited and carried forward the Marxist world outlook and theory on literature and art. Over the past 32 years, the Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art has all along been a sharp ideological weapon in our struggle against various opportunist trends of thought and it remains so in our current criticism of Lin Piao and Confucius.

In the Talks , Chairman Mao states at the outset that the problem of "for whom" is a problem of fundamental importance and of principle. He points out explicitly: "All our literature and art are for the masses of the people, and in the first place for the workers, peasants and soldiers; they are created for the workers, peasants and soldiers and are for their use." The orientation of serving the workers, peasants and soldiers indicated here applies not only to revolutionary work in literature and art but to all other aspects of our revolutionary work as well.

Adherence to this orientation means, in the final analysis, adherence to Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution initiated and led personally by our great leader Chairman Mao is a great political revolution carried out under the conditions of socialism by the proletariat against the bourgeoisie and all other exploiting classes. It aims at upholding the Party's basic line which Chairman Mao has formulated for the historical period of socialism and at "consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat, preventing capitalist restoration and building socialism." The renegade and traitor Lin Piao, however, worked overtime to follow in the footsteps of Confucius in preaching "restrain oneself and return to the rites" and viciously attacked and negated the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in a futile attempt to change the Party's basic line and politics, subvert the dictatorship of the proletariat and restore capitalism. Lin Piao wanted to "revive states that were extinct, restore families that had lost their positions, and call to office those who had fallen into obscurity," so as to have the landlord and capitalist classes ride roughshod over the labouring people again. This was tantamount to fundamentally negating the orientation of serving the workers, peasants and soldiers.

The current movement to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius is a development in depth of the socialist revolution. It is also a continuation of the protracted struggles which the Chinese Communist Party and the revolutionary people under its leadership have waged against domestic and foreign enemies since the May 4th Movement. The revolution led by the proletariat in China is always linked with criticism of the doctrines of Confucius and Mencius. For more than half a century since the May 4th Movement -- during both the new-democratic revolution and the socialist revolution -- Chairman Mao has, in close connection with struggles against domestic and foreign reactionaries and with struggles against "Left" and Right opportunist lines within the Party, used the dialectical and historical materialist world outlook to repeatedly criticize [p. 14] the doctrines of Confucius and Mencius and the worshippers of Confucius, politically and ideologically. Such criticism constitutes an important content of the two-line struggles in our Party. The current struggle to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius is a political and ideological struggle in the superstructure, through which Marxism will triumph over revisionism and the proletariat over the bourgeoisie. This struggle is of great immediate significance and far-reaching historic importance for consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat and preventing capitalist restoration. On the literary and art front, this is a great struggle to keep to the correct orientation of serving the workers, peasants and soldiers, use the proletarian revolutionary line on literature and art to defeat the revisionist line and carry the proletarian revolution in literature and art through to the end. In his Talks , Chairman Mao enjoins us to uphold everything that "encourages the masses to be of one heart and one mind, that opposes retrogression and promotes progress" and oppose everything that "foments dissension and discord among the masses and opposes progress and drags people back." To make revolutionary literature and art a weapon for upholding revolution and opposing retrogression and restoration, it is imperative to criticize the doctrines of Confucius and Mencius and criticize revisionism. Revolutionary literary and art workers must deepen their understanding of the protractedness and complexity of the struggle between restoration and counter-restoration in the historical period of socialism, arm themselves with Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and take an active part in the struggle.

The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution has led to profound changes in the political, ideological, cultural, and economic fields and the emergence of many new socialist things which in themselves are a deep criticism of the doctrines of Confucius and Mencius. The Lin Piao anti-Party clique had a bitter hatred for these new things and was bent on undermining them. We, on the contrary, should warmly support these new things, promote their growth and further consolidate and expand the achievements of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. In the Talks , Chairman Mao urges revolutionary literary and art workers to extol "the new people and the new world." In accordance with this instruction, an important task for proletarian revolution literature and art at present is to adhere to the Party's basic line as the key link, conscientiously learn from the experience in creating the model revolutionary theatrical works, make every effort to reflect the magnificent struggle of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, profoundly reflect the socialist revolution and construction and sing the praises of new socialist things, and, at the same time, expose all the dark forces that harm the masses of the people. What to extol and what to expose has never been a question that concerns literature and art alone, but is first of all an important political question. While the proletariat wants to praise the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, the bourgeoisie is bound to negate and oppose it. We must determine our attitude towards all literary and art works only after examining their attitude to the people . We must wholeheartedly support and foster works that extol with full revolutionary enthusiasm the proletarian revolution, especially the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, even if they are not so perfect artistically or have some shortcomings. We must do so as long as their political orientation is correct. At the same time, we must take a realistic approach and, through analysis, point out the problems they still have and help the writes improve and revise their works. This will encourage our professional and amateur literary and art workers to reflect practical struggles in the era of socialism still better and give full play to the militant role of revolutionary literature and art as a weapon "for uniting and educating the people and for attacking and destroying the enemy." On the other hand, we must relentlessly criticize works that take an extremely hostile attitude towards the proletarian revolution, especially the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and viciously distort and smear it.

Because of his political needs for counter-revolution, Lin Piao politically advocated the Confucian precept "restrain oneself and return to the rites" and the "doctrine of the mean," and in literature and art he preached the theory of human nature of the landlord and capitalist classes, the "theory of no conflicts" and other fallacies. These were in fact nothing new. As far back as more than 30 years ago when the War of Resistance Against Japan was at a critical point, Wang Ming and Liu Shao-chi and company clamoured that works of literature and art should depict "love of humanity," in an attempt to disarm the Chinese people ideologically before national and class enemies. Refuting that reactionary fallacy, Chairman Mao in his Talks makes this incisive remark: "There is absolutely no such thing in the world as love or hatred without reason or cause. As for the so-called love of humanity, there has been no such all-inclusive love since humanity was divided into classes. All the ruling classes of the past were fond of advocating it, and so were many so-called sages and wise men, but nobody has ever really practised it, because it is impossible in class society." In these words, Chairman Mao thoroughly bares the hypocrisy, deceitfulness and reactionary nature of the nonsense about "love of humanity." Didn't Confucius rant that one "should love all men"? This was sheer humbug! Not only did he never show any love for the labouring people, but he bitterly hated even the new emerging landlord class. What he loved was only a handful of diehards from the slave-owning class. Whatever Lin Piao and his followers trumpeted, be it the "doctrine of the mean," the theory of human nature of the landlord and capitalist classes or the "theory of no conflicts," all of them were nothing more than weapons for the overthrown landlord and capitalist classes to attack the proletariat under the conditions of socialism. They wanted only [p. 15] the proletariat and other working people to deal with landlord and capitalist classes in accordance with the "doctrine of the mean" and "love of humanity," and refrain from coming into "conflict" with and struggling against them. But on their part, Lin Piao and company energetically practised revisionism and splittism and engaged in intrigues and conspiracy in a futile bid to change the Party's basic line and policies, subvert the dictatorship of the proletariat and restore capitalism. In doing all this, they did not in the least follow the "doctrine of the mean," the principles of "love of humanity" or the "theory of no conflicts." In the political sphere, while rattling their sabres they waited for the opportune moment to launch a counter-revolutionary coup d'etat; and in the field of art and literature, they did not let a single day pass without dreaming of getting monsters and demons to dominate the stage again and without viciously attacking our model revolutionary theatrical works. As Lu Hsun wrote, when the reactionaries "see others can do nothing about them . . . . they are always ferocious, arrogant and unbridled like tyrants, and never act upon the doctrine of the mean; when they glibly talk of the 'doctrine of the mean,' they have in fact already lost their influence and have to resort to the 'doctrine of the mean.' "

Chairman Mao has pointed out: "Between the opposites in a contradiction there is at once unity and struggle, and it is this that impels things to move and change." Social contradictions propel history forward only through struggle to bring about a revolutionary transformation. The philosophy of the Communist Party is the philosophy of struggle. Struggle means advance; giving up struggle means retrogression, collapse and revisionism. Our literary and art works must correctly reflect the revolutionary life and struggle of our time and, as the model revolutionary theatrical works do, apply the method of combining revolutionary realism with revolutionary romanticism in creating images of proletarian heroes. To achieve this, we must thoroughly criticize the reactionary and decadent doctrines of Confucius and Mencius and such fallacies spread by Lin Piao as the "doctrine of the mean," the theory of human nature of the landlord and capitalist classes and the "theory of no conflicts." We must fervently praise the new socialist things that have emerged in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, dare to reflect the acute contradictions and conflicts in class struggle and the struggle between the two lines and be good at depicting them.

In this Talks , Chairman Mao points out: "In the world today all culture, all literature and art belong to definite classes and are geared to definite political lines." The struggle in the field of literature and art is a manifestation of the class struggle in society and the two-line struggle in the Party. Chairman Mao has always attached great importance to the Party's leadership over the work in literature and art. He has personally initiated and led the various struggles in the superstructure, art and literature included. With every attention from the Party Central Committee headed by Chairman Mao, revolutionary artists began with the revolution in Peking opera and, after overcoming numerous difficulties and surmounting many obstacles, created a number of model revolutionary theatrical works scintillating with the radiance of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought. These works have set for us an example in grasping the revolution in literature and art and in the superstructure as a whole. Party committees at all levels should give full attention to literary and art work, strengthen their leadership and use the struggle to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius to further push the revolution in literature and art forward. Historical experience shows that the struggle in the field of literature and art is invariably linked with the struggle between political lines. Didn't the renegade, hidden traitor and scab Liu Shao-chi and his gang trot out Hai Jui Dismissed From Office to reverse the correct decisions passed on Peng Teh-huai? Didn't Going Up to Peach Peak Three Times [see Peking Review , No. 11, 1974, p. 8 -- Tr. ] make its appearance in co-ordination with the political trend of negating the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution? If the proletariat does not exercise dictatorship in the superstructure, including the various cultural fields, the bourgeoisie inevitably will carry out restoration in these fields.

Chairman Mao has pointed out: "Either the East Wing prevails over the West Wind, or the West Wind prevails over the East Wind; there is no room for compromise on the question of the two lines." The bourgeoisie always stubbornly tries to express itself and remould the Party and the world in its own image. But this simply won't work. To yield to them would actually be to run the risk of undermining our Party and our country. Whom then must we yield to? We can mould the Party and the world only in the image of the proletarian vanguard. This is a life-and-death struggle concerning who moulds whom and who will win out. Party committees at all levels must rely on the masses of workers, peasants and soldiers who are armed with Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, persist in exercising the dictatorship of the proletariat in the superstructure, including the various cultural fields, and carry the struggle to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius through to the end. All Communists, revolutionary cadres, revolutionary intellectuals and literary and art workers should engage in "the study of Marxism-Leninism and of society" in the course of struggle and continue to remould their own world outlook. So long as we adhere to Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line, keep to the orientation of serving the workers, peasants and soldiers and uphold the Communist philosophy of struggle, we are sure to win great victories in the struggle to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius and still greater victories in the proletarian revolution in literature and art. Thus the dictatorship of the proletariat in China will become more consolidated and the cause of socialist revolution and socialist construction more prosperous than ever.
  
  
  

 
 
顶端 Posted: 2009-03-05 03:34 | [楼 主]
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