This article was originally published in Red Flag Manuscripts on 24 September.
What is Chinese red culture?
Everyone knows that, in study and daily life, it seems as if we can come into contact with words or things such as these: red flag, red songs, red five stars, red films, red tourism, putting on red flowers, etc. From this, it is not difficult to understand that red culture is a sort of cultural category where colour symbolises its intrinsic nature. Speaking from the angle of optics, red is the colour of the long wave of the visible spectrum, at a wavelength of about 630 to 750 nm. Because it is similar to the colour of fresh human blood, the Chinese people have often endowed with symbolic meanings such as hope, enthusiasm, courage, creation, struggle, sacrifice, etc. This specific colour and its symbolic meanings have coincidentally formed an extraordinary perfect “isomorphic” relationship with the common ideals, moral sentiments and spiritual disposition of our Party and people. The thoughts and language of the Chinese people is good at using “rhetoric”, and consequently, people call the advanced culture that has been created through the process of the Chinese Communist Party’s leading the people of all ethnicities in the entire country in a long period of reform, construction and reform, with Sinified Marxism at the core, concisely “red culture”. Obviously, this concept itself is a magnificent cultural creation of the popular masses!
It should be said that in comparison with terms that we regularly use such as revolutionary culture, war of resistance culture, liberated areas culture, new democratic culture, Socialist culture, etc., red culture has a broader connotation. Among a number of comrades, as soon as China’s red culture is mentioned, it is only associated with Shanghai, Jiaxing, Nanchang, Jinggangshan, Yan’an and Xibaipo, in fact, this is an incomplete understanding, because that is only historical red culture. The red culture we talk about not only can be traced back to history, or includes the present, it also extends into the future. This is a culture that presents a splendid sight, which has emerged through historical eras on a great scale. Its upper limit must be traced back to the historical period in which Marxism-Leninism was introduced to China on the eve of the May Fourth New Culture movement. The sound of October Revolution bombs rent the air, and brought us Marxism-Leninism. From the victory of the Russian people, the Chinese people saw a hope to realize the rejuvenation of the nation. After a while, Socialism became a hot word in Chinese society. Even so, not all people talking about Socialism at that time were creators of Chinese red culture, and not all writings involving Socialism were fountainheads of Chinese red culture. For example, Liang Qichao and Zhang Dongsun from the Study Clique and Wang Yitang from the Peace and Prosperity Clique, the opportunistic politician Jiang Kanghu, and the reactionary warlord Cheng Jiongming all talked about Socialism. But these were either empty echoes, or separated in spirit although looking the same, or a start that fell flat, and there is no relationship of inheritance whatsoever with the Chinese red culture that was formed afterwards. There are two kinds of people that can truly be called the creators of Chinese red culture: the first are representatives of advanced Chinese intellectuals of that time, who afterwards became the first leaders of the CCP, such as Li Dazhao, Chen Duxiu, etc.; the second are Chinese workers who returned from Russia. There are two kinds of works that can be called the source of Chinese red culture: the first are written or spoken by advanced intellectuals, such as Li Dazhao’s “The Victory of the Common People” and “The Victory of Bolshevism”, Chen Duxiu’s “Where is Justice”, etc.; the second are oral narrations by workers returning from Russia about the victory of the “poor people’s Party” in Russia, among the toiling masses. As for the lower limit of Chinese red culture, at present, a correct estimation cannot be made, but it can be inferred that even after the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has been achieved, it will continue into endless days. This is the most glorious and resplendent culture in Chinese history and will inevitably become even more glorious and resplendent, this is the cultural peak of human history that has won people’s souls and will inevitably win people’s souls even more! A future is opening up, and even if humankind comets to a stage of Communism where classes wither away and nations wither away, it will be a majestic cultural monument of humankind’s march towards the true, the good and the beautiful, and will stand tall for all generations. In front of this monument, posterity will spill hot tears of emotion and respect.
Chinese red culture is not a spirit that leaps out from within stones, and it is not an extra-terrestrial guest that came down from imagination. Its emergence and development has profound cultural sources and social sources. There are three cultural sources:
The first is the advanced culture that emerged from the International Socialist Movement. The core of this sort of advanced culture was undoubtedly Marxism-Leninism, and especially the historical materialism that explained “the enigma of history” as well as the scientific Socialist theory that revealed the capitalist secret theory of surplus value and bade farewell to fantasy. Outside of the core, there is the proletarian culture created by Communist Party members in various countries and other revolutionaries. After the “Internationale” was translated for our country in the beginning of the 20th Century, it became a strong pillar for Chinese revolutionaries’ selfless struggle for ideals. When the Chinese Soviet Republic was established in 1931, it made it into the national anthem, making the depth of its influence on the early CCP visible. Its retranslator Qu Qiubai as well as many other revolutionary martyrs all marched to the execution ground singing this song. Even in the present, where the smoke of gunpowder has dissipated, whenever we hear that solemn and profound melody, we still cannot help burning with righteous indignation and shedding a few tears. Fucik’s essay “Report from Under the Gallows” continues to profoundly move, educate and inspire the sons and daughters of China. Its warning, “people, I love you. You must be vigilant”, returns to our ears as a morning bell and an evening drum.
The second is China’s excellent traditional culture (including folk culture). In terms of institutional arrangements, the “Book of Rights” put forward that “the world is a common weal”, and “there are caring and protection for the aged until their last day; there is appropriate employment for the able-bodied; and there are nourishment and education for the children and youth. There is kindness and compassion for the widows and widowers, for the orphans, for the childless and for all who find themselves alone in the world, as well as for the disabled and sick.” In the abstract sense, this sort of thinking has a deep inherent unity with the ideals of Communism. To a certain degree, Marxism was able to be disseminated in China and to become increasingly Sinified, because it relied on this cultural background. In terms of foreign affairs, “Mozi” advocated that “a large country does not attack a small country, a large family does not usurp a small family, the strong do not plunder the weak, and the wealthy are not arrogant over the mean.” It is not difficult to see that this is the traditional cultural basis for the Chinese government’s putting forward the five fundamental principles of peaceful coexistence. In terms of the relationship between humans and nature, the “Book of Changes” put forward the principle that “the sovereign, fashions and completes his regulations after the courses of heaven and earth, and assists the application of the adaptations furnished by them”. It is very clear that this is an important ideological source for our Party’s ecologic civilization construction. As for Chinese Communist Party members and other advanced elements, they have merged the excellent moral character and spirit of the Chinese nation into their own blood, where it became a driver for their valiant struggle. In the darkest the dark times, true revolutionaries don’t have to worry about losing their heads. The high spirits of Zixu preserved, they will come back for a successful revenge against the King of Chu in three years.” This is a song that was sung by the revolutionary martyr Yang Chao when he died in 1927. The heroic spirit of Zixu rose to the lofty plane of avenging the popular masses, this is the inheritance and development of traditional Chinese culture by the Chinese Communist Party.
The third is global excellent culture. The Communist Party member Bai Mang ardently loved the great Hungarian poet and heroic warrior in the European revolution of 1848, Petöfi, and translated quite a few of his work. After Bai Mang, Rou Shi and the other five martyrs of the Left-Wing Coalition of writers were murdered, Lu Xun painstakingly and completely brought Petöfi’s exhorting poem “Freedom and Love” into his text “Remember to Forget”, implicitly telling the truth of the five martyrs dying for the sake of the people’s freedom and liberation, and placing his hope on the feelings of reverence towards them. The famous writer Li Erzhong’s monumental work “New War and Peace”, themed along the War of Resistance, not only consciously borrowed from Tolstoy in its creative and structural aspects, but even the name of the book reveals that it is a successor to “War and Peace”. After entering the new era, Foucault’s “power-knowledge” theory, Saïd’s “Orientalism”, etc., all provided nutrients and assistance to enriching and developing our cultural theory.
Who says that Chinese Communist Party members and the Chinese People are fossilized and conservative? When taking a broad look at the development history of Chinese red culture, it can be said with a clear conscience that Chinese Communist Party members and the Chinese people are the excellent inheritors and developers of an outstanding culture among all of humankind.
There is one social origin for this, which is that the Chinese Communist Party led the people of all ethnicities in the entire country to conduct the magnificent practice of revolution, construction and reform. Where the development and flourishing of Chinese red culture is concerned, this origin is more fundamentally important than other cultural origins. All cultural inheritance and learning must be united around this magnificent practice. Practice is the discriminator, we can separate which culture must be brought in and which culture must be rejected on the basis of need; practice is a manufactory, it can transform and manufacture culture that is brought in, to form new cultural patterns. Marxism-Leninism is a science, but only if it is integrated with Chinese reality, can it become a guideline to guide China’s revolution, construction and reform. Using dogma in a one-size-fits-all manner, like Wang Ming, using mere books to tailor China’s revolutionary reality can only result in harm to China’s revolution as well as harm to Marxism-Leninism. When he described the Chinese Revolution, Stavrianos said: “From the beginning, Mao Zedong was an acute observer of social reality. This was not only because he had grown up in a peasant household, but also because he lived together with peasants, and struggled for them almost his entire life. This sort of deep knowledge of the hardships of the people and the live experience of living among the common people for a long time, enabled him in the end to acutely understand that it was necessary to Sinify Marxism, and adapt it to the situation and needs of the millions of people that had hitherto been overlooked in China.” The formation of Mai Zedong Thought was the basic project of Sinifying Marxism. Exactly because it had this firm basis, it was possible to form Socialism with Chinese characteristics, this new result of the Sinification of Marxism, under new historical circumstances and new social practice. Practice is developing, and culture also develops incessantly following developments in practice, but the development of culture and practice is not simply a synchronized relationship. High tides and victories of practice require fostering a new culture; low tides and defeats in practice do not bring about the shrivelling or withering away of culture. In 1927, as the reactionary Guomindang clique under Chiang Kai-shek’s leadership started their counterrevolutionary coup, and engaged in frenzied military suppression and cultural suppression of the Chinese Communist Party members and revolutionary masses, China’s revolution entered a low tied. Even so, it was in this time that Chinese Communist Party members, with Mao Zedong as representative, created the scientific theories of encircling the cities from the countryside and of seizing political power through arms, revolutionary martyrs and idealists left magnificent poems and stories that move people’s hearts, revolutionary writers in the Guomindang-controlled areas, represented by Lu Xun, created a batch of famous writings handed down through the times, and the revolutionary bases’ red songs developed and flourished unprecedently. This was because the lower the tide became, and the more defeats were suffered, the more it was necessary to innovate theoretical guidance and spiritual support. From the sprouts of Chinese red culture until today, there has been nearly a century of circumstances. Looking back, the practice of the revolution, construction and reform are bumpy and uneven, but red culture is a path full of fresh flowers, which eyes cannot all take in.
Chinese red culture is a system with a complex structure and a huge scale. Analysing the structure of this system can be done through many angles and methods. For example, when looking at it historically, there is new democratic culture and Socialist culture; when looking at the general cultural structures, there is material culture, mental culture, institutional culture and behavioural culture; when looking at it scientifically, there is philosophy, economics, politics, theory, Party building, history, news, literature, art, and so on, there are numerous ways. But, analysing its ideological structure is an even more fundamental work, I’m afraid. In this area, the newest expression that is rich in its generality is the Socialist core value system. Within this, the guiding ideology, Marxism, is the soul. Marxism here mainly refers to Sinified Marxism, it is the most magnificent achievement obtained through a century of arduous construction of Chinese red culture. The common ideal of Socialism with Chinese characteristics is the main theme. This common ideal in fact is the Chinese dream of realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. It is a world wonder of scientific Socialism on the Chinese mainland that is currently being created and is finally about to be completed, and it is a stage-type historical task that the Chinese Communist Party members and the Chinese people must undertake in moving forward the magnificent undertaking of Communism. The spirit of the nation with patriotism at the core and the spirit of the time with reform and innovation at the core is the quintessence. Every step forward in China’s revolution, construction and reform, every development of Chinese red culture, is a victory of the spirit of innovation, and is a magnificent flower growing out of the spirit of patriotism. Without these two kinds of spirit, there would be no Sinification of Marxism, there would not be the spirit of the Red Ship, there would be no Jinggangshan spirit, Yan’an spirit, Yimeng spirit, Xibaipo spirit, anti-US and pro-Korea spirit, Daqing spirit, spaceflight spirit, flood-fighting spirit, earthquake relief spirit, etc. The Socialist view of honour and disgrace is the basis. As a moral standard, it has accumulated profound historical content and real content. “Beheading means nothing, as long as the ism is true”; “I despise I did not die resisting Japan, that I remain today shames me”; “The good 8th Company, famous across the land … resisting corruption, and never being stained, “altruists from head to toe, a bright example for the whole Milky Way”… It can be seen from the above few examples that glory and greatness grow from action. From this, it can be confirmed that the millions of Communist Party members and popular masses are the first creators and faithful practitioners of the Socialist view of glory and dishonour. The above four areas are mutually influencing, mutually penetrating, and mutually interacting, they form a united whole, and thereby scientifically and completely reveal the fundamental characteristics of Chinese red culture.
Chinese red culture is the spiritual garden of the Chinese people, it is the happiness of the Chinese people’s eternal farewell to suffering, and is a strong spiritual driver and ideological guarantee to create a glorious future.
Why must we carry Chinese red culture forward?
Sincerely speaking, regardless of how complex and changeable domestic and international circumstances are, we have not even for a day suspended the work of carrying Chinese red culture forward. Even so, it must be seen that this work is clearly more urgent today than at any time in the past.
After the tremendous changes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the Eighties and Nineties of last century, the global Socialist movement entered a low tide, and the myth that capitalism would remain forever and that world history had come to an end filled the air in the entire world for a while. Exactly at this time where ten thousand flowers were withering away, Socialist China resembled a large tree that remained standing independently, it resisted storms coming from all sides, it won glory for scientific Socialism and preserved a flame of hope for the future of humankind with its arduous practice of persisting in scientific Socialism and developing scientific Socialism. More than twenty years have passed, and the contention between Socialism and capitalism has again entered a new historical stage. Capitalism’s energy for self-adjustment seems to be nearly exhausted, and there is no more flourishing and grandeur in the development process of capitalism, the basic contradictions of capitalism have intensified again, and capitalist economies are facing the eruption of a global crisis again. even the US scholar Francis Fukuyama no longer believes in the myth of the “end of history” that he was preaching in those years, in the beginning of 2011, he stated that “Ten years ago, on the eve of the puncturing of the dotcom bubble, the US held the high ground. Its democracy was widely emulated, if not always loved; its technology was sweeping the world; and lightly regulated “Anglo-Saxon” capitalism was seen as the wave of the future. The US managed to fritter away that moral capital in remarkably short order: the Iraq war and the close association it created between military invasion and democracy promotion tarnished the latter, while the Wall Street financial crisis put paid to the idea that markets could be trusted to regulate themselves.” As for the response of the people, that was even stronger. In September 2011, the US Fox News published a public opinion poll that shocked the world: 74% of citizens believed that the US political system had already collapsed. A clear contrast to the capitalist depression that took shape was the flourishing development of Socialist China. This was not only reflected in the area of huge economic achievements, but also manifested itself in other aspects of institutional superiority. On 16 May 2008, an article in the “New York Times” pointed out after contrasting the success of disaster relief between Chain and the US that “if the Chinese government can deal with natural disasters better than the US government, then the superiority of the Chinese system means that not only a rapidly growing economy can be shown to people around the world, but that effective government abilities can be shown as well.” [Translator’s note: I have tried to find this quote and have been unable to] In correspondence with the waxing and waning of Socialist China and the capitalist world, the balance of soft power is changing as well. Capitalist soft power is decreasing, and Socialist culture’s soft power is increasing, this is a fact that is not denied by even the US right wing scholar Joseph Nye. This is mainly reflected in two aspects: first, the great development of the upsurge of red culture within China, second, the increase of Socialist thinking trends on a global scale and the admiration of Chinese red culture. From “Occupy Wall Street” to “Occupy Washington” and other such movements, elements of Chinese red culture can be seen. Therefore, all of these hugely inspire us to persist in and develop Chinese red culture, and provide beneficial conditions for our further carrying red culture forward.
At the same time, we must also soberly understand that the economic, political and military structure, and the cultural structure in which “the West is strong and we are weak” will still be difficult to fundamentally change for a while. Especially the crisis of the capitalist world and the development of Socialist China inevitably will hugely provoke international capital, and prompt them to intensify their implementation of Westernization and separation strategies. Apart from incessantly scheming to further suppress China’s living space in economic, political and military terms, they conduct ideological and cultural infiltration in a breadth and depth hitherto unseen. Some domestic pro-Western forces form “Holy Alliances” for their own interest, and jointly form unprecedented challenges to Chinese red culture. This is mainly concentrated in the following areas: first, through preaching pluralization of the guiding ideology and the so-called “universal values”, to the extent that they bring in democratic Socialism and Chinese degenerate culture and applaud it, subvert the guiding position of Marxism and especially Sinified Marxism, become spiritual vagrants among the Party and the people, and then convert to Western “Pure Land” thinking. Second, they preach liberalism, subvert the basic economic system of Socialism, implement thorough privatization, then they strip the private economy’s right to life and right to development away, and remove all barriers for international capital to occupy Chinese resources and markets. Third, they preach the so-called “Constitutionalism”, indiscriminately copy Western multi-party systems, subvert the governing position of the Chinese Communist Party, disintegrate the basic political system of Socialism, and let China become a mere young donkey that only follows the West’s lead. Fourth, they preach the so-called “modern civil society” theory, they scheme to weave new political forces outside of grass-roots Party organizations and governments, and then from small to large, from low to high, consolidate and build an opposition party step by step, which in the end will “covet the throne” of the Chinese Communist Party that holds the governing position. Fifth, they preach the so-called “public intellectual” theory, they build momentum and expand influence through the annual election events, and so sever the natural relationship of responsibility between intellectuals and the motherland, and the people, this creates a doctrinal basis and a public opinion space for the dissemination of mistaken thinking trends by “dissenting” intellectuals. Sixth, they preach the Western news view, and use “Western absolute press freedom” falsehoods to confuse people’s minds, in order to dispel the ideological nature of news, evade the social responsibility of news and deny the principle that the Party manages news, changing news that originally was a positive energy into mouseshit that can spoil an entire pot of soup. Seventh, they preach historical nihilism. “To eliminate a man’s country, one must first remove its history.” To this end, they either distort history by removing its head and tail, or forge history by new-fangled approaches, but embellishing aggression, partiality and selling the country, eulogizing backwardness, blackening heroes and martyrs, slandering the Revolution and denying progress are their uniform principles. Dispelling the history of struggle of the people of all ethnicities of the entire country under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party inevitably will aim the main spearhead at the personified representatives of this history, the older generation of proletarian revolutionaries. Their heaviest of heavies is the leader Mao Zedong, loved and respected by the Party and the people. In order to slander this spiritual pillar of the Chinese people, their methods seemingly go to any length. For example, regardless of whether someone is “leftist” or rightist, regardless of whether someone is Lin Biao or Chiang Kai-shek, as long as they oppose Mao Zedong, they are good people, and are people that are depicted crowned with an aureole, for example, Lin Like’s “little navy” can actually be said to be “a group of people who are prescient about China’s future”. Denying Mao Zedong inevitably means denying the historical basis of the Chinese Communist Party, denying the historical basis of the Chinese Communist Party inevitably means denying the Chinese Communist Party, denying the Chinese Communist Party inevitably means implementing a multi-party system, this is the logic that they don’t plan to tell the people about yet and will never have the chance to tell people about. The comrades can imagine, if on one morning, we would see that this bizarre thing had become the dominant climate, it would indicate that China would have begun to fall back to a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. Any independence of the nation or liberation of the people, any wealth and strength for the country or happiness for the people and all achievements of the struggles of the modern Chinese people would be irrevocably lost, and realizing the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the nation would certainly change into a pipe dream.
The problem is put forward as follows: under such complex and variable domestic and international circumstances, and in the face of large questions of right and wrong relating to the future and destiny of the Party and the country, all unconcerned arguments, shilly-shally arguments, and arguments that drift with the currents are ungrounded. Persisting in red culture, inheriting red culture and carrying forward red culture is a solemn mission entrusted to us by history. If we do not dare to or are unable to fulfil this mission, we will become historical criminals despised by the next generation!
How is Chinese red culture to be carried forward?
Being based on reality, defending history and creating the future are the basic principles and methods of carrying Chinese red culture forward. Within that, being based on reality is central, on one end, it links up to history, and on the other hand, it points towards the future. If real matters are not handled well, history will be proclaimed to be suspended and the future will come to nothing. Being based in reality means that we must start from the present development needs and the popular will, look for entry points to unearth, arrange, research and propagate red culture, let red cultural heritage be recovered and become a positive energy that overwhelms the mountains and the seas, serves the grand development and grand flourishing of Socialist culture, serves the consolidation of the governing position of the Chinese Communist Party, serves the larger picture of Party and State work, and in the final analysis, serves the fundamental interests of the broadest popular masses. History is the basis. If the foundations of a high building are excavated, it will inevitably collapse, if the roots of a large tree are cut off, it will certainly wither and die, this is the complete basis for our putting forward the necessity to defend red history. Here, history no only refers to people and things of the past, it also refers to the sum of all culture created by our Party’s leading the people. Defending history does not mean completely affirming history, but we must have a historical materialist scientific attitude, and affirm the general picture of things that are right, and recognize the partial things that are wrong, in other words, this requires that we defend the essential aspects of red culture. If we would even affirm a number of extreme “leftist” things that happened in history for the sake of defending red culture’s history, the result could only be climbing trees to catch fish, and opposing our own objectives. Creating the future is the objective. Without the great rejuvenation of the nation, and without a Communist society, the struggle of the past and the struggle of the present will not have any value, and we will become lambs who have lost our way, who pace back and forth in a vast wilderness without an idea of what to do. In fact, all struggles of the previous generations were not only just for the sake of today’s moderate prosperity, they were for the sake of thoroughly eliminating the opposition between people and other people, and between nature, and creating a perpetually peaceful and happy world. Grasping this future means we will have the stamina to continue to advance, and we will be able to push Chinese red culture from flourishing to even greater flourishing. Therefore we say that persisting in the communist faith is the basic spiritual quality that red culture workers must have.
Abiding by these basic principles and methods, we may adopt many kinds of methods from different sides and different angles, as input into carrying forward red culture work. Starting from real needs, we shall pay special attention to the following areas.
First, we must be good at using this precious mirror of red cultural heritage. For example, those things about “constitutionalism and democracy”, no one did this in the past. People kept away from this and did not discuss it, only the various political parties who marched “the third way” after victory in the War of Resistance were examples. The so-called “third way” meant demanding the Communist Party to abandon struggle on the one hand, and demanding the Guomindang to open up political power on the other hand, to “realize Euro-American-style democratic politics” in China. What is different with those people who preach “constitutionalism and democracy” today is that the absolute majority among them was sincere and hoped to push China towards progress. But good intentions can be shattered by the merciless reality. From the “One December” murders in November 1945 to the Xiaguan massacre in June 1946, and again to the “18 May” and “20 May” murders of May 1947, the Guomindang reactionary government repeatedly used sinister and ruthless means to attack the democratic parties. Subsequently, they successively closed the Shanghai “Wenhui Daily”, “Xinmin Daily” and “Lianhe Daily”, and arrested democratic personalities on a large scale in Shanghai, Beiping, Tianjin, Wuhan and Chongqing. On 27 October 1947, the Guomindang reactionary government thoroughly ripped apart the mask of renovating politics, and simply declared that the China Democratic League was an illegal organization. The China Democratic League representative Ma Xulun who had been gravely wounded by Guomindang special agents during the Xiaguan massacre, tightly grasped Zhou Enlai’s hand on his sickbed and said: in the past, I always urged you to have a few less soldiers, and have a few less guns, looking at things today, you cannot miss one of your soldiers, one of your guns, or one of your bullets. In January 1948, the Democratic League convened the third plenum of its first committee in Hong Kong, where it declared that it stood on the side of the Communist Party, and would thoroughly overthrow the Guomindang reactionary government, and struggle to the bitter end to build a democratic, peaceful, independent and united New China. These past events enlighten us: in a class society, there are no democratic politics that exceed the class interest. Parties that represent big landlords and the big bourgeois can absolutely not engage in a multi-party system with parties that represent the proletariat of the nation, the petty bourgeoisie, the peasant class and the working class. This is the case in China, this is the case in the US as well. There, who really runs the show are the capital-monopolizing cliques represented by Wall Street financial oligarchs. They can use the Democratic and Republican Parties’ campaigning for office to manufacture a semblance of democracy, but they absolutely do not permit parties of the middle class, the petty bourgeoisie or the working class to come on stage and take power. The “Occupy Wall Street” movement only stirred up trouble for a few days, and the big shots were sitting on pins and needles, they repeatedly sent out warnings to prevent the US Communist Party to come onto the stage and take power. Naturally, China’s political system must reform, but it can only reform in the direction of consolidating the governing position of the Chinese Communist Party, reform in the direction of restoring and strengthening the flesh-and-blood relationship between the Party and the popular masses, and reform in the direction of the people truly being master of their own affairs. In his book “The Challenge of Red China” US journalist Günther Stein minutely narrated the democratic political situation of the “three-three” system that was implemented in Yan’an: on an autumn day in 1944, the in a small meeting room of the Yan’an municipal government, fourteen people held a meeting together with the major. These fourteen people were municipal councillors elected by the Yan’an electorate, among them, there were Communist Party members, ordinary peasants, intellectuals, merchants and liberal-minded gentlemen. The mayor reported on previous work, and put forward an implementation plan for the next half year. The councillors represented the people of all layers in Yan’an, and put forward all sorts of frank criticism and suggestions to the mayor’s earlier work and the plan that was about to be implemented. In the end, the mayor revised the plan according to the councillor’s opinions. Because true democracy was implemented, Yan’an became the cleanest and highest-efficiency government in the Far East. After seeing masses of such things with his own eyes, Günther Stein emotionally wrote that: the Chinese Communist Party “has built an administrative structure that does not constitute a heavy burden on the people and at the same time dares to undertake major tasks, namely a government that emerges from among the people, is elected through democratic means and is responsible to them.” It is very clear that this sort of sincere attitude to implement popular democracy and the spirit of creating a democratic system on the basis of historical condition will never go out of date. We must do this, make red cultural heritage into a mirror, penetrate through the gorgeous outer coat woven from lies by of all sorts of anti-Marxist thinking trends, and restore the true features of the rush of international capital to them, and at the same time clarify the direction for progress and draw further strength and wisdom from this.
Second, we must have grace and magnanimity with regard to red culture. Grace and magnanimity are the clear style of Chinese red culture. Grace means having well thought out plans, acting calmly and without hurry. Insults and threats absolutely do not constitute a struggle, flustering and frustration only serve to show shallowness. In the cultural struggle, mature Chinese red culture workers always display a natural, unrestrained and certain attitude of “between talking and laughing, letting masts and oars disappear into the dust”. They rely on their nobility of the morality of the subjects of practice, the wealth of cultural power and on the excellence of their struggle skill. On this aspect, the Central Documentary Research Institute researcher Zhang Suhua has provided a good model for us. In recent years, some media have spread that in 1950, Mao Zedong himself added “Long Live Mao Zedong” when checking and approving the “May Day Slogans”, and from this derived the conclusion that “actually, Mao himself wanted people to shout ‘Long Live Mao Zedong’, this slogan that was shouted by hundreds of millions of people for decades.” In the face of these untrue words, Zhang Suhua was not anxious about expressing righteous indignation, and he attentively went to consult the original dossiers of the “May Day slogans” drafted by the Centre that year and other materials, and wrote an article afterwards pointing out that “Mao Zedong did not add ‘Long Live Mao Zedong’ to the ‘May Day slogans'”. This slogan emerged in 1943, it was shouted out by Wu Manyou, Zhao Zhankui and 45 other worker heroes in the Shaan-Gan-Ning border area. The whole article was succinct and not written in an ornate style, its writing style was gentle, its tone moderate, but even so, it had a fighting strength heavier than a thousandweight. Magnanimity means that we must have a broad mind and a noble vision, this is the way in which the public-minded and selfless character of the Chinese Communist Party is manifested in culture. We must see that following the deep development of global multipolarization and economic globalization, the interactions and clashes between all sorts of ideologies and cultures are becoming more frequent on a global scale; and the deep reform of the domestic economic structure, the deep adjustment of patterns of interests, the deep changes in ideological concepts will inevitably lead to the independence, selectivity, variability and differences of people’s ideological activities becoming more prominent every day, the plurality and variability of ideology and culture is an indisputable fact. In the fact of such a complex cultural structure, we can neither lose principles and standpoints, nor can we follow the example of Russia’s “proletarian cultural faction”, see all non-red culture as inimical, close the door to seek a living for itself. People with different principles will not make common cause, but when principles are similar, a common cause can be made. We must, like the older generation, be good at all kind of all kinds of healthy and progressive cultural cooperation, form a united front opposing degenerate and regressive culture, and create more opportunity and open up a broader space for the development and flourishing Socialist culture. We must, like the older generation, have the daring to embrace the whole country, the force to renew ourselves, the attitude to be sharp and flexible, catch, differentiate and accept cultural information from all times and all countries, in order to nourish and expand our Socialist culture. Within this, cultures that are inimical to Socialist culture are included. For example, liberalism is a bad thing, but does it not contain things that merit our study? The answer is affirmative. Since the Great Depression that occurred in capitalist economies during the Thirties of the previous century, and especially after WWII, Keynesianism held the advantage, and neoliberalism got bogged down in an awkward predicament, but a batch of core members led by Hayek are not resigned to lose, in 1947, he organized the Mount Pelerin society, on the one hand, this adjusted itself, on the other hand it waited for an opportune moment, and by the Eighties and Nineties of the past century, it freed itself and realized the “anti-Keynesian counterrevolution”, afterwards, the huge changes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe became a battle honour for international capitalism (naturally, their good times did not last long, this is to be told later). It faced forty years of adverse circumstances with fortitude, at least, this tenacious energy is something that we should study. In short, in terms of breadth of mind and magnanimity, we must strive to do better than the older generation, at least, we cannot say like a nine-pound old women: this generation is not like the previous generation.
Third, we must exert efforts in practice. Fundamentally speaking, red culture is a spiritual existence. It can only be transformed into a material force for historical progress through people’s practice. And only if it transforms into a material force, and brings a period of true benefit to the country and the people, can it become cultural soft power, and can it become a culture that will make even more people actively accept it and make even more of the country and the nation want to share it. In one sentence, carrying red culture forward means strengthening and expanding the soft power of red culture! Even so, red culture’s transformation from a sort of spiritual existence to it becoming cultural soft power is a complex process, at least, it requires undergoing a number of segments: excavation -> production (research, creation, etc.) -> dissemination (paper media, electronic media, three-dimensional media, etc.) -> acceptance -> action -> effect -> influence. And around these central links, there are also a number of side-chains, such as organization and management, financial support, technology and equipment, etc., Regardless of on which chain or which segments efforts are made, for example writing books, performing plays, teaching classes, or tilling land, doing manual work, standing guard, they can all be said to fully deserve the title of developers of Chinese red culture.
“Without accumulating small steps, a thousand miles will not be reached; without accumulating small steams, rivers and seas will not be formed”. Let us start with ourselves, start from the present, and start from every little bit, use our blood and seat to create a boundless sea of red culture soft power, and run towards a glorious future exceeding hundreds and thousands of miles!
(The author is the President of the Chinese Red Culture Research Association)