Source: From Peking Review, no. 50, December 9, 1966, pp. 5-9
HTML Markup: Mike B. for MIA, November 2013
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From the Peking Review article "Literature and Art Workers Hold Rally for Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution"
Important speeches were made by Comrades Chou En-lai, Chen Po-ta and Chiang Ching.
The rally called upon the revolutionary fighters in literature and art throughout the country to hold high the great red banner of Mao Tse-tung's thought, give prominence to proletarian politics, resolutely implement the proletarian revolutionary line represented by Chairman Mao, thoroughly criticize and repudiate the bourgeois reactionary line, unite on the basis of the principles of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Tse-tung's thought, complete the tasks of struggle, criticism and transformation and strive to create the most splendid new proletarian literature and art in human history.
The Military Commission of the Party's Central Committee appointed Comrade Chiang Ching adviser on cultural work to the Chinese People's Liberation Army and decided to incorporate the No. 1 Peking Opera Company of Peking and three other units into the P.L.A.
More than 20,000 revolutionary workers in the field of literature and art from Peking and other parts of China held a rally for the great proletarian cultural revolution in the magnificent Great Hall of the People in Peking on the evening of November 28.
Comrade Chou En-lai, Standing Committee Member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and Premier of the State Council; Comrade Chen Po-ta, Standing Committee Member of the Political Bureau and leader of the cultural revolution group under the Party's Central Committee; and Comrade Chiang Ching, first deputy leader of the cultural revolution group under the Party's Central Committee and adviser on cultural work to the Chinese People's Liberation Army, attended the rally and made important speeches.
The rally took place amid the excellent situation which prevailed following the eight separate reviews of a total of more than 11 million members of the mighty army of the cultural revolution by Chairman Mao Tse-tung, the great teacher, great leader, great supreme commander and great helmsman of the Chinese people, and at a time when tremendous victories had been won by the proletarian revolutionary line represented by Chairman Mao. The rally became a pledge of a general offensive by China's mighty revolutionary contingents in literature and art against the handful of persons in authority in literary and art circles who took the capitalist road, and against the counter-revolutionary revisionist line in literature and art which they represented. It is bound to push the great proletarian cultural revolution forward in the world of literature and art with great vigor and guide the victorious advance of the mighty revolutionary contingents in literature and art throughout China in the direction indicated by Chairman Mao Tse-tung.
Comrade Chen Po-ta presided over the meeting. In his opening address he said:
Today's meeting is one of great significance. Historically, cultural revolutions, in most cases, begin in the field of literature and art. This is also true of the great proletarian cultural revolution we are now carrying out.
Mao Tse-tung's thought is the guide for China's great proletarian cultural revolution. Comrade Mao Tse-tung has creatively developed the Marxist-Leninist theory of literature and art. Using the proletarian world outlook, he has systematically and thoroughly solved the problems on our literary and art front. At the same time, he has systematically and thoroughly blazed for us a completely new trail for the proletarian cultural revolution.
At the Tenth Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party in 1962, Chairman Mao Tse-tung called for taking firm hold of the class struggle in the ideological field. Following this great call and under the direct guidance of Mao Tse-tung's thought, there has been an upsurge in reforming Peking opera, ballet, symphonic music and other art forms — revolutionary reforms designed to make the ancient serve the present, to make foreign things serve China and to weed through the old to let the new emerge. Peking opera and other art forms have been used to portray the epic of the heroic struggles of the masses led by the Chinese proletariat. This new creation has given Peking opera, ballet, symphonic music and other art forms a new lease of life, not only making them completely new in content but greatly improved in form and different in appearance from before. Plays on contemporary revolutionary themes have appeared on the stage everywhere. The new proletarian literature and art has an unprecedented appeal for the masses. The reactionaries and counter-revolutionary revisionists, however, revile and bitterly hate this new literature and art for no other reason but because the role of this new literature and art will greatly enhance our people's political consciousness and will greatly strengthen the dictatorship of the proletariat and the socialist system in our country.
I want to say here that, among the comrades who have persisted in this policy of revolution in literature and art and waged unremitting struggles against the reactionaries and counter-revolutionary revisionists. Comrade Chiang Ching has made outstanding contributions.
History has smashed the pipe dream of the reactionaries and counter-revolutionary revisionists. The revolution in literature and art after the Tenth Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee of the Party became the real beginning of our country's great proletarian cultural revolution
The history of literature and art is full of sharp conflicts. The conflicts between the new and the old and between the modern and the ancient are reflections of the class struggle in society. The bourgeois in the period of the bourgeois revolution used the new literature and art of the time as an important weapon in destroying feudalism. Likewise, the proletariat today must use its own new literature and art serving the workers, peasants and soldiers as a weapon in destroying the bourgeoisie and all other exploiting classes. After the conquest of political power by the proletariat, the bourgeoisie is not reconciled to quitting the stage of history. Chairman Mao has often pointed out to us that the overthrown bourgeoisie is trying, by all methods, to use the position of literature and art as a hotbed for corrupting the masses and preparing for the restoration of capitalism. Therefore, our tasks in the field of literature and art are not lighter but heavier. Our leadership on the literary and art front should not be weakened but, on the contrary, strengthened still further. In order to fulfill their glorious tasks, our revolutionary literary and art organizations must carry the great proletarian cultural revolution through to the end!
It is utterly wrong to deny that there are conflicts in literature and art so long as classes still exist. In the future communist society, when classes have been eliminated and class contradictions and struggles no longer exist, there will still be conflicts between the new and the old, conflicts which we cannot yet foresee completely or are impossible for us to foresee now. Such conflicts, naturally, will also find their expression in literature and art.
See also: Jiang Qing's (Chiang Ching's) speech from the same rally