Talks concerning Issues on the Ideological Front

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Deng Xiaoping

17 July 1981

Recently, I have discussed with Comrade Hu Yaobang, that we must call the Propaganda Department to talk about problems on the ideological front, and especially problems in literature and art. The Party’s leadership over the ideological front and the literature and art front has clear achievements, this must be confirmed. Some tendencies of simplification and crudeness also exist in the work, this can also not be denied or overlooked. But at present, the problem requiring even more attention, I believe, lies in the existence of lax and weak attitudes, not daring to criticize erroneous tendencies, and as soon as there is criticism, people say it is persecution. Now, launching criticism is not easy for us, self-criticism is even less easy. One of the Party’s three main work styles is self-criticism, this is one of the main symbols distinguishing us from other parties, but, where a lot of people are concerned, this is very hard to achieve.

Since the 6th Plenum, the General Political Department has put forward the question of criticising “Bitter Love”. Recently, I read a few materials, and felt very shocked. There was a young poet at Beijing Normal University who wantonly made a speech. Some students reacted: the Party organization has done much ideological and political work among students, which has been blown away by one speech. The school’s Party Committee paid attention to this matter, but has not taken measures. Actually, a female student wrote a letter to the school’s Party Committee, and criticized our appearing weak and feeble on the ideological front. Also, in Urumqi city, Xinjiang, there was a Literary Federation preparatory committee convener, who freely aired his views over the past few days, and many of his words greatly exceeded some anti-Socialist discourse from 1957 in terms of level of error. There are many more affairs like this. In short, this is wanting to separate from the Socialist track, separate from the leadership of the Party and engaging in bourgeois liberalization. Let’s recollect the historical experience: the Anti-Rightism from 1957 has been magnified, magnification is wrong, but at the same time, anti-rightism is truly necessary. Everyone also still remembers those rightists and that kind of murderous atmosphere of those days, now, there are some people who are similarly murderous. We will not engage in anti-rightist campaigns in the future, but cannot but conduct strict criticism of any sort of erroneous tendency. Not only the literature and art world, but also other areas have similar problems. Some people’s ideological path is amiss, they sing a different tune from the Party, their work style is not upright, but some people appreciate them, and enthusiastically publish their articles, this is not right. Some Party members do not stress the Party nature but persist in factionalism. The influence of this sort of people can absolutely not be spread, and they can absolutely not be allowed in to lead. Now, there are people who believe they are heroes. When they do not receive criticism, nothing is the matter, once they are criticized, even more people welcome them. This is a sort of very irregular phenomenon, and must absolutely be earnestly turned around. Naturally, this sort of phenomenon has it social and historical causes, which mainly are the aftermath of the decade of chaos, and at the same time, they are erosion by bourgeois ideology coming from abroad. The situation of this sort of people must be concretely analyzed. But the main problem at present does not lie with these phenomena, but with the fact that our dealing with these phenomena lacks strength, and lax or weak attitudes exist. Naturally, in dealing with problems popping up at the moment, the lessons from the past must be learned, and we cannot engage in campaigns. Concerning these people making mistakes, what is the nature of everyone’s mistakes, what is the level, how to understand it, how to deal with it, must all be differentiated appropriately. Methods of criticism must be meticulous, restraint must be proper, we must not engage in sieges of campaigns. But not doing ideological work and not engaging in criticism or self-criticism will certainly not work. The weapon of criticism may absolutely not be lost. After that young poet gave his speech in Beijing Normal University, some students said that going on like this will be the bane of the nation. He and we stand on opposed viewpoints. “The Sun and the People” is a film shot on the basis of the script of “Bitter Love”, I have looked at it. Regardless of what the motivation of the writer is, after having seen it, it can only leave people with this impression: the Communist Party is not good, the Socialist system is not good. Defaming the Socialist system like this, where has the Party spirit of the writer gone? Some people say that this film’s artistic level is relatively high, but just because of this, its poison is also larger. Works like this and that sort of so-called “democratic party” discourse, have in reality produced similar effects.

The core of persisting in the Four Cardinal Principles is persisting in the leadership of the Communist Party. Without the leadership of the Communist Party, there will certainly be great chaos in the world, disintegration and separation. Historical evidence proves this. Chiang Kai-shek has never unified China. The core of bourgeois liberalization is opposing the Party’s leadership, and without the Party’s leadership, there can be no Socialist system. In dealing with this problem, we cannot walk the old roads again, and cannot conduct some sort of political campaign again, but must absolutely grasp the weapon of criticism.

Criticizing “Bitter Love” and “Liberation Army Daily” was necessary. First and foremost, we must affirm it should be criticized. The flaw was that comment articles’ reasoning was not sufficiently satisfactory, some methods and wordings were not thoroughly considered enough. The “Literature and Art Newspaper” must organize some high-quality articles commenting on “Bitter Love” and other relevant problems. It cannot be that because the method of criticism is not good enough, it can be said that criticism is wrong.

A part of the youth is not satisfied with some present conditions in society, this is not strange and not frightening, but attention must absolutely be paid to guidance, without good guidance, they may be harmed. In the past few years, many young writers have emerged, and they have written not a few good books, this is a good phenomenon. But it should be acknowledged that, among some young writers and middle-age writers, a sort of unhealthy tendency actually exists, this sort of tendency also influences a batch of young readers, viewers and listeners. Old writers persisting in the Socialist viewpoint have a responsibility to unite as one and bring along the new generation, otherwise this generation will be led astray. If this is not done well, it may intensify contradictions, and may engender great turmoil. To summarize, we must persist in the leadership of the Party, and must persist in the Socialist system. Party leadership and the Socialist system must both be improved, but we cannot engage in bourgeois liberalization, or engage in anarchy. Just think, if “The Sun and the People” were to be openly screened, which kind of influence would it engender? Some people that not loving Socialism does not equal not loving the country. Is the motherland than abstract? If you do not love the Socialist new China led by the Communist Party, then what di you love? Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and overseas patriotic compatriots, cannot be required to all endorse Socialism, but at least, they can also not oppose the  Socialist new China, otherwise, what does loving the motherland mean? As for every citizen and every young person under the leadership of the People’s Republic of China, our requirements naturally must be a bit higher. First and foremost, the writers, artist and ideology or theory workers among our Party members must be required to observe the discipline of the Party, as many problems now emerge inside our Party. If the Party does not implement discipline over Party members, how can it lead the masses? We persist in implementing the policy of letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools contend, persist in correctly dealing with contradictions among the people, this cannot be changed. “Leftist” tendencies still exist in our ideological and cultural leading work, this must be firmly rectified and prevented. But this is not to say in the slightest that not conducting criticism and self-criticism is permitted. Start from the aspiration of unity, and achieve a new unity through criticism and self-criticism, this is the main method for correctly dealing with contradictions among the people. Persist in the policy of the “Two Hundreds” can also not be separated from criticism and self-criticism. A democratic and reasonable attitude must be adopted in criticism, this is indispensible, but criticism may absolutely not be seen as persecution, this question must absolutely be made clear, it relates to the issue of fostering the next generation. The works and viewpoints of which I just put forward that they must be criticized are only some examples, there still are some other, similar articles, and the theoretical circles also have some bourgeois liberalization tendencies, which will not be elaborated in detail. Why are there still a number of people who support “Bitter Love” and the speech of that young poet? This merits deep thought from our comrades on the ideological front.

After putting forward to persist in the Four Cardinal Principles, our ideological circles have become a bit more sober, moreover, firm banning measures have been taken against illegal organizations and illegal publications, hence, the situation has improved. But we still must maintain our guard. Now, some people lift the banner of supporting Comrade Hua Guofeng, who want to overthrow such and such, attention must be paid to this. This reflects the complexity of the present situation of the struggle, and stimulates us to raise our guard.

Concerning criticism of “Bitter Love”, the “Liberation Army Daily” does not need to be criticized any more, the “Literature and Art Newspaper” must write high-quality, good articles, criticizing “Bitter Love”, when you have finished them, publish them in the “Literature and Art Newspaper”, and they will be republished by the “People’s Daily”.

To summarize, our entire Party, entire army and the people of all ethnicities in the entire country must unite as one, fall in line, and work hard under the firm leadership of the Party Centre, and on the basis of the “Resolution concerning Some Historical Questions of the Party since Founding the Nation”, ensuring our victory on the ideological front, literature and art front and other fronts.

 

关于思想战线上的问题的谈话
(一九八一年七月十七日)
邓小平
前些时候我同胡耀邦同志说了,要找宣传部门谈谈思想战线上的问题,特别是文艺问题。党对思想战线和文艺战线的领导是有显著成绩的,这要肯定。工作中也存在着某些简单化和粗暴的倾向,这也不能否认和忽视。但是,当前更需要注意的问题,我认为是存在着涣散软弱的状态,对错误倾向不敢批评,而一批评有人就说是打棍子。现在我们开展批评很不容易,自我批评更不容易。党的三大作风有一条讲的是自我批评,这是我们区别于其他政党的主要标志之一,但是,现在对不少人来说,这一条很难做到。
六中全会以前,总政提出了批评《苦恋》的问题。最近我看了一些材料,感到很吃惊。有个青年诗人在北京师范大学放肆地讲了一篇话。有的学生反映:党组织在学生中做了很多思想政治工作,一篇讲话就把它吹了。学校党委注意了这件事,但是没有采取措施。倒是一个女学生给校党委写了一封信,批评了我们思想战线上软弱无力的现象。还有新疆乌鲁木齐市有个文联筹备组召集人,前些日子大鸣大放了一通,有许多话大大超过了一九五七年的一些反社会主义言论的错误程度。像这一类的事还有不少。一句话,就是要脱离社会主义的轨道,脱离党的领导,搞资产阶级自由化。回忆一下历史的经验:一九五七年反右派是扩大化了,扩大化是错误的,但当时反右派的确有必要。大家都还记得当时有些右派分子那种杀气腾腾的气氛吧,现在有些人就是这样杀气腾腾的。我们今后不搞反右派运动,但是对于各种错误倾向决不能不进行严肃的批评。不仅文艺界,其他方面也有类似的问题。有些人思想路线不对头,同党唱反调,作风不正派,但是有人很欣赏他们,热心发表他们的文章,这是不正确的。有的党员就是不讲党性,坚持搞派性。对这种人,决不能扩散他们的影响,更不能让他们当领导。现在有的人,自以为是英雄。没受到批评时还没有什么,批评了一下,欢迎他的人反而更多了。这是一种很不正常的现象,一定要认真扭转。当然,这种现象有它的社会历史原因,主要是十年动乱的后遗症,同时也是由于外来资产阶级思想的侵蚀。对各种人的情况需要作具体分析。但是当前的主要问题不在于有这些现象,而在于我们对待这些现象处置无力,存在着涣散软弱的状态。当然,对待当前出现的问题,要接受过去的教训,不能搞运动。对于这些犯错误的人,每个人错误的性质如何,程度如何,如何认识,如何处理,都要有所区别,恰如其分。批评的方法要讲究,分寸要适当,不要搞围攻、搞运动。但是不做思想工作,不搞批评和自我批评一定不行。批评的武器一定不能丢。那个青年诗人在北京师范大学讲话以后,有一部分学生说,这样下去要亡国的。他和我们是站在对立的立场。《太阳和人》,就是根据剧本《苦恋》拍摄的电影,我看了一下。无论作者的动机如何,看过以后,只能使人得出这样的印象:共产党不好,社会主义制度不好。这样丑化社会主义制度,作者的党性到哪里去了呢?有人说这部电影艺术水平比较高,但是正因为这样,它的毒害也就会更大。这样的作品和那些所谓“民主派”的言论,实际上起了近似的作用。
坚持四项基本原则的核心,是坚持共产党的领导。没有共产党的领导,肯定会天下大乱,四分五裂。历史事实证明了这一点。蒋介石就从来没有统一过中国。资产阶级自由化的核心就是反对党的领导,而没有党的领导也就不会有社会主义制度。对待这些问题,我们不能再走老路,不能再搞什么政治运动,但一定要掌握好批评的武器。
关于《苦恋》,《解放军报》进行了批评,是应该的。首先要肯定应该批评。缺点是,评论文章说理不够完满,有些方法和提法考虑得不够周到。《文艺报》要组织几篇评论《苦恋》和其他有关问题的质量高的文章。不能因为批评的方法不够好,就说批评错了。
一部分青年人对社会的某些现状不满,这不奇怪也不可怕,但是一定要注意引导,不好好引导就会害了他们。近几年出现很多青年作家,他们写了不少好作品,这是好现象。但是应该承认,在一些青年作家和中年作家中间,确实存在着一种不好的倾向,这种倾向又在影响着一批青年读者、观众和听众。坚持社会主义立场的老作家有责任团结一致,带好新一代,否则就会带坏一代人。弄不好会使矛盾激化,会出大乱子。总之,必须坚持党的领导,必须坚持社会主义制度。党的领导和社会主义制度都需要改善,但是不能搞资产阶级自由化,搞无政府状态。试想一下,《太阳和人》要是公开放映,那会产生什么影响?有人说不爱社会主义不等于不爱国。难道祖国是抽象的吗?不爱共产党领导的社会主义的新中国,爱什么呢?港澳、台湾、海外的爱国同胞,不能要求他们都拥护社会主义,但是至少也不能反对社会主义的新中国,否则怎么叫爱祖国呢?至于对中华人民共和国领导下的每一个公民,每一个青年,我们的要求当然要更高一些。对我们党员中的作家、艺术家、思想理论工作者,那就首先要求他们必须遵守党的纪律,而现在的许多问题正出在我们党内。党如果对党员不执行纪律,还怎么能领导群众呢?我们坚持实行百花齐放、百家争鸣的方针,坚持正确处理人民内部矛盾,这是不会改变的。我们在思想文化的指导工作中还存在着“左”的倾向,这也必须坚决纠正和防止。但是,这丝毫不是说可以不进行批评和自我批评。从团结的愿望出发,经过批评和自我批评,达到新的团结,这就是正确处理人民内部矛盾的主要方法。坚持“双百”方针也离不开批评和自我批评。批评要采取民主的说理的态度,这是必要的,但是决不能把批评看成打棍子,这个问题一定要弄清楚,这关系到培养下一代人的问题。我刚才提出的需要进行批评的作品、观点,只是一些例子,还有一些其他类似的文章,理论界也有某些资产阶级自由化的倾向,不一一列举了。《苦恋》和那个青年诗人的讲话,为什么还有那么一些人支持?这值得我们思想战线上的同志深思。
提出坚持四项基本原则以后,我们的思想界比较清醒了一些,再加上对非法组织、非法刊物采取了坚决取缔的措施,所以情况有了好转。但是我们现在仍然要保持警惕。现在有些人打起拥护华国锋同志的旗帜,要打倒谁和谁,要注意。这反映出当前斗争情况的复杂性,促使我们提高警惕。
关于对《苦恋》的批评,《解放军报》现在可以不必再批了,《文艺报》要写出质量高的好文章,对《苦恋》进行批评。你们写好了,在《文艺报》上发表,并且由《人民日报》转载。
总之,我们全党、全军和全国各族人民一定要在党中央的坚强领导下,在党的六中全会通过的《关于建国以来党的若干历史问题的决议》的基础上,团结一致,整齐步伐,努力工作,使我们的思想战线、文艺战线和其他战线都不断取得新的胜利。

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