Challenging the Anti-Communist LIES Told About the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution

May 9, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


Editors’ note: The 50th anniversary of the Chinese Cultural Revolution begins on May 16. The Chinese revolution came to power in 1949 and brought about immense and liberatory changes. But by the mid-1960s, the revolution was facing the danger of being reversed. In 1966, Mao Zedong launched the Cultural Revolution to prevent the restoration of capitalism and to carry the revolution forward. On the occasion of the anniversary, the bourgeois rulers, reactionaries, and ideologues of the status quo will be stepping up their ideological offensive. The mainstream media are now beginning to pump out vicious anticommunist distortion—and so, too, in the universities. The recent program at the New School in New York City was an opening shot to spread lies and misrepresentations. But it became a two-sided affair!


From a member of the Revolution Club New York City:

This May 16 marks the 50th anniversary of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution initiated by Mao Zedong and led by Mao and the revolutionary forces within the Communist Party of China. The New School in NYC held a program to mark this anniversary, with Professor Xu Youyu, a University in Exile Scholar at The New School for Social Research. Over 200 people attended. Prof. Xu Youyu is a former Red Guard (one of the youths who were mobilized during the Cultural Revolution in China) and so-called “expert of the Cultural Revolution.” The professor essentially came to denounce the Cultural Revolution, give his personal perspective on it, and to promote “constitutional democracy” as the ultimate solution to what he described as the “the horrors of communism.”

I went to the program along with Raymond Lotta and a couple of others to set the record straight.

Raymond Lotta Sets the Record Straight on the 50th Anniversary of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, The New School, New York City, May 2, 2016

Prof. Xu Youyu opened his presentation with the “HORROR” of the universities during the Cultural Revolution abolishing the entrance exams! He complained that life experience, including manual labor, was taken into account instead of just tests! The fact that the professor found this horrifying should have immediately tipped the audience off that this guy was summing some things up based only on his personal experience, his personal gripes, and frustrations. I mean, why else would anyone see this change as a negative thing!? For hundreds of years peasants had been denied education. They lived in conditions of horrific poverty, with young daughters being sold by their families in order to feed the remaining children, no access to health care, etc. During the Cultural Revolution it was recognized that there were still vast sections of the country that needed to be brought into things. Peasants and other poor and oppressed people were now being given an education, being exposed to a new liberating culture and new ideas, and overall they were being brought into the process of remaking society in extremely important and meaningful ways. The speaker acknowledged none of this.

The presentation continued to give a totally ahistorical perspective on the entire Cultural Revolution. Stats were given as to the “injuries, deaths, persecutions,” and images were shown of people who had been beaten up or publicly shamed; all without any context. The speaker gave no sense of what this revolution was all for, what the actual goals were, what caused the violence, if the violence and repression was actually the main character of things or not, whether the Party was actually calling for this or whether it was a result of some people using the revolution to take out revenge on others.

Another indication of the speaker’s personal frustrations was how he presented the whole campaign that sent students into the countryside to learn from and bring the revolution to the peasants. He explained how frustrating it was for him that the students and youth were able to ride the public transportation for free to go to the countryside because it caused such terrible traffic... GIVE ME A BREAK! This was something called for by Mao and the Party as part of bridging the gap between those who worked with their backs and those who worked with ideas; to bring much needed education and health care to the isolated countryside. And this was part of a whole revolution aimed at transforming world outlook and to enable the masses of people to more deeply and scientifically understand society and the world (an extremely important element of things, which the speaker failed to mention) and, yes, that needed to include the peasants in the countryside as well!

Thank goodness Raymond Lotta was in the audience to spit some truth! He spoke from the floor during the Q&A and immediately called out this anticommunist slander for what it was. He went on to say what the Cultural Revolution actually was—a real revolution within the revolution aimed at defeating new capitalist forces from taking things backwards, and continuing on the socialist road towards communism; how it involved hundreds of millions of people; and how it was one of the most liberating times in human history. He went on to ask why the professor had not addressed what the actual aims and objectives of the Cultural Revolution were and why he had “completely obliterated the accomplishments of the Cultural Revolution,” including by denying that it had succeeded for 10 years in preventing the restoration of capitalism—which is what happened after Mao’s death. Most of the audience didn’t even realize that China today, with all its vast networks of sweatshops and poverty alongside pockets of obscene “development” and wealth for a few, was the result of the overthrow of socialism and the reversal of everything Mao fought for. Raymond let people know that Bob Avakian has summed up and built on this revolutionary experience and forged a new synthesis of communism because the world still cries out for revolution. And he challenged the room to put the historical experience in perspective and pointed out that during the same period that Mao was leading the liberating Cultural Revolution to continue to overcome oppression and exploitation, the United States was carrying out a genocidal war that killed two million in Vietnam.

What was the response from the professor? He essentially sidestepped the substance of what Raymond raised, instead arguing that because he had been there personally, he knew best and that all that really mattered was his own personal experience.

In summing up the whole presentation, including the Q&A, the lack of a scientific method in approaching any of these questions really stood out. It is so incredibly irresponsible to look at a period in human history like this, where millions of people were making revolution and transforming all of society, and sum it up based on individual experience, or just personal opinions. There is too much at stake. It was good that quite a few people came up to talk to Raymond and others of us after the program. People have been lied to and they need to know the truth.



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