Thursday, November 27, 2014

Jiang Qing (Chang Ching) Remembered by Harsh Thakor

Red Salutes to comrade Jiang Qing (Chiang Ching) in her 100th birthday year as well as to Zhang Chunqiao (Chang-Chung-Chiao)!

Long Live memories of the Gang of Four and may their names be written in letters of gold!

This article expresses the personal views of Harsh Thakor
On March 19th 1914 Comrade Jiang Qing was born.

Earlier this year on  March 19th the 100th birthday of Jiang qing, (Chiang Ching) one of the leaders of the Maoist gang of four took place.
Sadly there was no commemoration deliberately held in China as she blackened the injustice of the current C.C.P.
There was also no mention or celebration of Jiang Qing’s 100th birthday in the revolutionary camp worldwide.

A major commemorating meeting celebrating Chiang’s 100th birthday explaining the significance of her work and of ZhangChunqiao ‘ should have been held.
Without doubt she was one of the greatest women revolutionaries of all time whose contribution was immortal to  the Communist Movement.
Few women comrades were ever more daring and courageous. For 10 years she defended Mao Tse Tung’s like with the solidity of a boulder. She would traverse the steepest of cliffs and the most turbulent of seas in defending the Socialist line
She was also one of the most creative and innovative of artists in revolutionary history devising a new form of opera .She mastered artistic forms that related to the common people.

We commemorate 50 years this year since she innovated a new form of Opera in July 1964.
With Comrade Zhang Chunqiao she played the biggest role in the ten years of the G.P.C.R after Mao. She was one of the sharpest critiques of the capitalist roaders and voiced the very heart of the masses.

With the other 3 comrades she played a major role in implementing Mao’s call for supporting the line of Tachai and herself participated in agricultural production.
The phenomenal  achievements of  the G.P.C .R  in  it’s final years owe a great deal to the Gang of four especially Jiang Qing and the 1976 political rally in Tiannemen square supporting Mao ‘s line led by the gang of was one of the most significant events in revolutionary China’s political history.

A major campaign had been initiated  by Zhang Chunqiao in battle revisionism called ‘farrago on the educational front.’
This debated whether the Cultural Revolution educational policies should be followed or the conventional policies before the G.P.C.R.

Revolutionary comrades do not deny that she made grave errors and the practice of Chiang and her comrades was infested with powerful currents of left sectarianism.

The slogans raised had left adventurist overtones. This was observed by writers like William Hinton. Artists, musicians and intellectuals were subjected to persecution of phenomenal proportions.

However the 4 particularly Jiang and Zhang  initiated some of the most progressive innovation seen in any society, be it in art or production.

They withstood the 1981 trial with death defying courage.

No comrade exhibited more courage than Jiang, in spite being a women  through her historic statement .

Her speech created the sensation of  a red flame extinguishing in the court.
Sadly  the major component of the revolutionary camp in the world  in 1978 did not uphold Chiang Ching or the Gang of four as genuine exponents of Mao’s revolutionary line but clubbed them as a counter-revolutionary sect and upheld Hua Guofeng.

This included organizations like Unity Centre of Communist revolutionaries of India, C.P.Reddy-S.N.singh group, C.P.I.(M.L.) Party Unity and C.P.I.(M.L.) peoples war .

One has to credit Bob Avakian and the R.C.P.U.S.A for upholding Chiang Ching and the other comrades in 1978 itself.

In India only the Central Re-organization Commitee of the C.P.I.(M.L.)  and  the U.C.C.R.I.(M.L.)led by Harbhajan Sohi upheld the Gang of 4.

One of the strangest phenomena was the peoples rally against the gang of 4 in 1976 just after Mao’s death.

This can be attributed to weaknesses in political trends in the G.P.C.R. and the legalizing of revolutionary committees .

The masses were not educated sufficiently on who were their real enemies.

Certain writers quote Mao stating “Help Chiang correct her errors”.Mao rebuked the gang for not completely implementing the mass line not uniting the majority and resorting to factionalism and splitting.

From 1974 the revolutionary committees were morally de-activated. William Hinton stated

“The Gang of four”  was ultra-left which grossly distorted Mao’s policies and directives, carried sound initiatives to extremes that turned them inside out and upside down, and succeeded in wrecking  whatever they touched.

In the 1960’s unlike earlier periods found himself on ‘Liang Mountain’ in regard to leftism-that is so immobilized by a contradiction with the right that he felt tied his hands in dealing with the left.”

I feel this assessment grossly undervalues the situation the 4 comrades faced and hardly does them true justice. Such comrades hardly understood or respected the death-defying political struggle of the gang of 4 to save the Socialist State.

Quoting Bob Avakian

“ Another dimension is, I do think there were some errors of conception and methodology on the part of the people leading this—maybe Mao to some degree, but especially people like Chiang Ching and others who put a tremendous amount of effort into bringing forward these advanced model revolutionary cultural works, which were really world-class achievements in revolutionary content, but also in artistic quality: the ballets, and the Peking operas and so on.

But who also I think, had certain tendencies toward rigidity and dogmatism, and who didn’t understand fully the distinction between what goes into, of necessity, creating model cultural works, and what should be broader artistic expression, which might take a lot of diverse forms, and not only could not be, but should not be supervised in the same way and to the same finely-calibrated degree as was necessary in order to bring forward these completely unprecedented model cultural works.

And there needed to be more of a dialectical understanding, I think—and this is tentative thinking on my part, because I haven’t investigated this fully and a lot more needs to be learned, so I want to emphasize that—but I have a tendency to think that there needed to be a better dialectical understanding of the dialectical relation between some works that were led and directed in a very finely detailed and calibrated way from the highest levels, mobilizing artists in that process, and other things where you gave a lot more expression to a lot more creativity and experimentation, and you let a lot of that go on, and then you sifted through it and saw what was coming forward that was positive, and learning from different attempts in which people were struggling to bring forward something new that would actually have a revolutionary content, or even that wouldn’t but needed to nevertheless be part of the mix so that people could learn from and criticize various things and decide what it was they wanted to uphold and popularize and what they didn’t.

So I think there’s more to be learned there.”

The author claims this is an armchair criticism on the innovation of a great revolutionary,whatever maybe the shortcomings.

In fact the opera composed by Chiang Ching which she directed was one of the greatest developments in revolutionary art. In fact Chiang Ching brilliantly applied dialectics and

Avakian adopts an idealistic view.
Again quoting Avakian

“I also think there was a third dimension to this. There was an element, even in Mao—and I’ve criticized this, you know, it’s controversial, but I’m criticizing something that [has been pointed to] in various things I’ve written or talks I’ve given, in particular one called Conquer the World?6—that there was a tendency, even in Mao, toward a certain amount of nationalism.

And I think this carried over into some of the ways in which intellectuals and artists who had been trained in and were influenced by or had an interest in Western culture—there was somewhat of a sectarian attitude toward some of that.

You know, Mao had this slogan: we should make the past serve the present and foreign things serve China.

Well, in my opinion, that—particularly the second part of that—is not exactly the right way to pose it.

It’s not a matter of China and foreign things, it’s a matter of—whether from another country, or from China, or whatever country art comes from—what is its objective content?

Is it mainly progressive or is it mainly reactionary?

Is it revolutionary or counter-revolutionary? Does it help propel things in the direction of transforming society toward communism or does it help pull things back and pose obstacles to that?

And I think that formulation, even the formulation of “foreign things serve China”—while it has something correct about it, in not rejecting everything foreign, let me put it that way—has an aspect of not being quite correct and being influenced by a certain amount of nationalism, rather than a fully internationalist view [with regard to] even the question of culture.”

The author finds this analysis that Mao was nationalistic as baseless as Mao strived to promote proletarian Internationalism  and class outlook

As revolutionary Communist we have to defend Chiang Ching, Zhang Chunqiao and the other 2 comrades tooth and nail.

We have to refute the slander and lies of the western and bourgeois  media  on Chiang and Zhang and emphasise the magnitude of the achievements in China from 1966-76.

Sadly even comrades like Bob Avakian have reverted from their earlier stand by being critical of Chiang Ching’s artistic achievements  and dubbing the gang of 4 as dogmatic.

One of the strangest phenomena was the criticism of the gang of four of Premier Zhou En Lai.We must remember that it was the first revolution of it’s kind and Jian Qing displayed death defying courage.

She tackled every obstacle with phenomenal tenacity applying the ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism at every juncture.

We have to defend the role of the vanguard party and the concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat but strive for greater democracy even in Socialist Society. In the G.P.C.R.  There should have been greater democratic functioning within the revolutionary committees, greater scope for dissent and debate and less projection of personality cult.

Greater initiative and independence was needed in the mass organizations with less subordination of the party.Jiang and the other comrades were not able to often take a rational approach to the progressive bourgeois contributions in sport, music art or science.
In the view of Charles Bettleheim “From the time of Mao’s death the principle of revocability of the members of the revolutionary committee  by the masses was greatly reduced.

The revolutionary committee’s role was greatly minimized by the leadership of the party commitee’s.Now there was confusion with party leadership and revolutionary committee leadership. The political form of the Shanghai commune was dropped which was replaced by revolutionary committees that began to wither.

The fall of Lin Biao played a major role in strengthening the revisionists inspite  off the great effort of the Maoist  gang of four  to counter their policies.

In the view of Charles Bettleheim ‘Even the workers organs went to sleep after the first 3 years of the G.P.C.R.There was also a tendency of the gang of 4 to slander premier Zhou En lai ,the comrade most loyal to Mao.

The author differs with revolutionaries who dub premier Zhou as a revisionist like Raymond Lotta or Bob Avakian.I disagree with the gang of 4’s attacking the role of premier Zhou as a revisionist and i feel it went against the mass line.Mao’s death initiated the downfall of the gang of 4 and had he lived probably they would have triumphed.

Quoting Raymond Lotta “The attacks on the gang of 4 are unbridled attacks on Mao’s line. Having made the four the embodiment of all evil, the revisionists can now attack Mao’s line by linking it with that of the 4-which it actually was.

I recommend readers to read the article in 1993 in ‘World to Win’ paying homage to Jiang Qing and to  ZhangChunqiao in well as R.C.P,U.S.A’s book Revolution and Counter Revolution.

Mao Tse Tung’s last great battle(And Mao makes 5)They do justice to these 2 great stalwarts. Useful articles were also written in Indian journal ‘massline.’

In the 1980’s.Everyone should read the essay of  Zhang Chunqiao on ‘allround dictatorship over  the bourgeoisie which is a meticulous analysis of Marxist Leninist struggle against revisionism .

Also read Chang’s work on ‘Socialist Political Economy’ which attempted to consolidate Mao’s thesis on foundations of Socialist Society. the speeches of Chiang Ching on policies towards art and culture in July 1964 on revolutionary opera should be read.
Links at
We need to portray how much the gang of 4 or Chiang Ching are remembered in China today. as they sowed  the last seeds of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism in China.

The struggle they lodged is lesson for all revolutionary comrades in analyzing the headquarters of revisionism and how to combat it.

We have to make a critical appraisal of their line and asses their mistakes. We must meticulously study how this present Chinese regime has masterminded the capitalist line by consciously suppressing memories of the 4 comrades.
Statement of Revolutionary Worker of June 1991

On May 14, 1991 the oppressed people of the world lost a great leader. The news of Chiang Ching's death saddened the hearts of revolutionaries around the world, and those who had been inspired by Mao Tsetung and the Cultural Revolution in China felt a deep loss. But the powers have kept the significance of Chiang Ching's life and death from the broad masses of people.

And there are many who do not know anything about Chiang Ching but the lies and slander run out in the mainstream press. The powers clearly hate everything Chiang Ching stood for. But this should make the oppressed want to know about her even more. The people need to know about Chiang Ching because she was truly one of the great revolutionary leaders of our time. And she leaves behind a spirit and legacy that should be cherished by all people who dream of a world free from exploitation and oppression.

Chiang Ching's whole life was dedicated to those on the bottom of society. The oppressed masses of workers and peasants who dared to challenge tradition's chains. Who dared -- not only to seize power in China, but move on to revolutionize all of society, from top to bottom.

Mao said, ``Be resolute, fear no sacrifice and surmount every difficulty to win victory.'' And this was exactly the kind of life Chiang Ching lived from the moment she became a revolutionary until the day she died. As a woman who defied tradition's chains, she faced tremendous and added obstacles throughout her life. And she was truly an example of what it means to ``unleash the fury of women as a mighty force for revolution.''

Chiang Ching was born in Shantung Province, East China, in 1914 and joined the Communist Party in 1933 in her late teens. The party sent her to Shanghai where she became a stage and film actress and she worked with the Shanghai Work Study Troupe and taught at a workers' night school. But Chiang wanted to develop cultural works more closely linked with the revolutionary struggle. And so after a few years in Shanghai she asked to be sent to Yenan -- the revolutionary base area that had been established under the leadership of Mao Tsetung. She arrived in Yenan in 1937 and worked with the Yenan Documentary Film Unit, and it was here that Chiang Ching and Mao Tse tung met.

For the next 40 years they would be close comrades in arms, united by their common hatred of the enemy and love for the people.

Mao was intensely interested in plays, concerts, poetry and art. And he admired women artists and actresses who had emancipated themselves. He knew they had to struggle against traditional views that treated actresses as women of ``ill repute.'' And he united with their recognition of the important role of art and literature in molding public opinion.

Mao's line was that art should serve the revolutionary cause. And it was on this common ground of art to serve the people that Mao and Chiang Ching met and fell in love. Their marriage gave Mao great happiness and a deeper understanding of the problems of art and literature. And Chiang Ching was to influence him in this sphere throughout his life.

Some of Mao's enemies inside the party opposed Chiang Ching and her marriage to Mao from the very beginning. But Mao and Chiang were determined to get married and the Political Bureau of the party finally gave grudging consent -- but only on the outrageous condition that Chiang not be given any position in the party and be kept out of politics. Even within the revolutionary ranks there were men who held to feudal ideas and were appalled at the idea of a strong revolutionary woman. And from this time on, Chiang had to fight to be recognized as a leader in her own right. She became the repeated target of vicious gossip. And many times when Mao's enemies wanted to attack him but were afraid to do so openly, they would start some kind of vicious rumor about her.

In 1949 China was liberated. Power was put into the hands of the revolutionary proletariat and the masses of people began to build a whole new society. This was a socialist society with the goal of eliminating all oppression and inequality. A society where millions of people were mobilized to participate in transforming every sphere of life -- from economics and politics to philosophy and culture. And as all of society was turned upside down and radically transformed, so too did the struggle for women's liberation move forward.

For the first time, women in China were given equal rights. The brutal practice of arranged marriages was outlawed and women were given the right to divorce. Men were no longer allowed to treat their wives as household slaves. And women were encouraged to step forward and join the struggle to build a new society. This most radical and earthshaking movement produced and brought forward many women revolutionary leaders. And it was exactly this process that brought Chiang Ching to the fore as a great revolutionary leader.

``In the world today all culture, all literature and art belong to definite classes and are geared to definite political lines. There is in fact no such thing as art for art's sake, art that stands above classes or art that is detached from or independent of politics.''
Mao Tsetung, 1942 Talks at the
Yenan Forum on Literature and Art

In the 1960s Chiang Ching spent long periods in Shanghai, recovering from serious health problems. During this time she attended plays, saw films and other artistic productions. And what she discovered shocked and disturbed her. Many of the cultural works she observed were in direct contradiction to the goals of socialist society.

What she saw in the main was a ``theater of the dead'' -- a culture promoting old ideas, practices and habits of the exploiting classes. A stage dominated by forces in society opposed to the elimination of privilege and inequality.

One of the characteristics of socialist society is that classes and class struggle continue. Would China continue along the socialist path or would capitalism be re-stored? Old ideas and practices persisted -- if they weren't hit they wouldn't fall. And there were party members in high positions who acted as guardians of privilege instead of leaders of rebellion against the old. These were the forces Chiang Ching found guiding the party's cultural work. She reported:

``Our operatic stage is occupied by emperors, princes, generals, ministers, scholars and beauties, and on top of these, ghosts and monsters...There are well over 600 million workers, peasants and soldiers in our country, whereas there is only a handful of landlords, rich peasants, counter-revolutionaries, bad elements, Rightists, and bourgeois elements. Shall we serve this handful, or the 600 million? The grain we eat is grown by the peasants, the clothes we wear and the houses we live in are all made by the workers, and the People's Liberation Army stands guard at the fronts of national defense for us and yet we do not portray them on stage. May I ask which class stand you artists take? And where is the artists' `conscience' you always talk about?''

Chiang Ching gave voice to a new generation of theater-goers and actors who made urgent demands on the arts. A whole new consciousness was developing among the people and they wanted plays, ballets, music and other artistic works that reflected the new society. They wanted cultural works that exposed the old society they had fought so hard to overthrow. And they wanted a culture that would support and push forward the continuing struggle to radically transform society -- not stand in the way. Chiang Ching united with this sentiment and was instrumental in developing a new revolutionary culture that was widely taken up by the masses.

From Peking to Shanghai, she stirred up trouble and earned the hatred of the conservative forces who headed up the party's cultural work. Throughout the 1950s Chiang had been investigating and studying the art and literature scene. So by the 1960s she was ready to blast out with full force against revisionists like Chou Yang, head of the Ministry of Culture, who stubbornly opposed staging operas with revolutionary themes.

Chiang actively led and sparked this struggle. She visited artists, actors and musicians, encouraging them to carry out Mao's line on literature and art. She went boldly into the theaters and ballet troupes, speaking directly to performers. And she did this over the heads of their superiors, inciting them to criticize ``bourgeois art'' and those party leaders who promoted it. In the China Peking Opera Theater and the Peking Opera Theater of Shanghai, in the ballet schools in Peking and Shanghai, and elsewhere she encouraged talented young artists to go up against tired, conservative leaders and stage new productions.

There were many times when Chiang Ching had to ``go against the tide.'' Her work was sabotaged, she was personally attacked and slandered. And there were times when she and Mao's other close comrades were clearly in the minority. But Chiang Ching had great faith in the masses and she relied on them to wage the struggle for a new revolutionary culture. In developing a method for creating good, modern plays, she was the first to suggest the ``three-in-one combination.'' What she developed were leading groups made up of three components: leadership cadres, playwrights and the masses. The leadership would first set the theme and the playwrights would then consider it and go out to gain experience of that subject in real life. When the play was written, the masses, who knew about the play's theme from actual experience, would review, discuss and give opinions on it.

Model works were developed in this way, like the famous ``Red Detachment of Women.'' And they were then performed not only by big professional companies, but by all kinds of smaller amateur groups in the cities and countryside. This whole ``three-in-one'' method was later used as a model for the Revolutionary Committee -- the new form of leadership organization developed during the Cultural Revolution.

One of the things Chiang Ching is best known for is her role in creating a new revolutionary Peking Opera. This was one of the earliest victories of the Cultural Revolution -- an opening shot in a struggle that pitted Mao's supporters against the ``capitalist roaders'' in the party who wanted to bring back capitalism. The stakes of this battle were great. Chiang Ching knew that if Mao's enemies were able to maintain control of the propaganda and cultural departments this would give them a lot of power to promote their ideas and rally forces to their side. If ``emperors and princes'' were allowed to dominate the culture, this would eventually undermine the social and economic structure of socialist society.

Peking opera had its roots in centuries-old folk art, but it was a product of feudalism and reflected an elite class in society. Even under socialism this art form had been resistant to change. What distinguished Chiang's revolutionary model operas was that these plays took up topical political themes in modern dress, even though they used many of the artistic elements of classic opera. In developing the Peking Opera Chiang Ching found ways to give the traditional music more strength and power. Western instruments were added, including a full range of wind instruments, along with the kettle drum, the piano and the harp. And this gave the music a greater capacity to express the full range of human emotions.

The prominent characters in these works were the masses of people and revolutionary heros and heroines. All this was an example of integrating the rich cultural heritage of China into new socialist art. As Mao had said in 1963, ``Operas should develop what is new from what is old, rather than what is old from what is old.'' High party officials in charge of culture tried to block these efforts by Chiang Ching. They rejected the work of young workers and peasants, claiming they were ``technically inferior'' or ``unknowns.''

 New productions were harassed and sabotaged. There would be no vacant theaters, no place to rehearse, and no publicity. And there were repeated attempts to silence Chiang Ching's leadership. For instance, at an opera festival in the fall of 1964 Chiang Ching delivered a major speech on the revolution of the Peking Opera. But this speech went unreported until three years later, in 1967.

The intense struggle in the cultural realm tested and trained Chiang Ching for even bigger battles. The question was up: would the proletariat hold on to state power or would power be grabbed by those in the party who wanted to take China down the capitalist road? Mao understood this problem could not be solved by just kicking out a few enemies in the party. And he called on the masses in their millions to take up this struggle.

In the midst of this unprecedented upsurge Chiang Ching came forward as a leader in an all-around way. Chiang Ching helped deliver what Mao called ``the signal'' for the beginning of the Cultural Revolution. Under Mao and her leadership an article was written criticizing the play ``Hai Jui Dismissed from Office,'' which was a thinly disguised attack on the revolution.

And it was this article that sounded the call for the masses to expose and kick out those in the party taking the capitalist road.

Chiang Ching was also instrumental in writing the May 16th Circular -- a very important statement of principles which set out the goals and methods for the Cultural Revolution. On May 25, 1966, students at Peking University put up a big character poster criticizing the head of the university and other high-ranking party officials.

Mao supported this and asked that this ``first Marxist-Leninist big character poster'' be broadcast on the radio and printed in the newspapers. Mass struggle broke out on campus and quickly spread to other schools. Chiang Ching recognized the significance of this upsurge and decided to go to Peking University. She wanted to talk to the students herself and investigate the situation firsthand.

What she found was that the party ``work teams'' that had been sent from Peking to ``guide'' the struggle were really trying to put down and derail the rebel students. Chiang Ching became identified with the youth and enjoyed enormous prestige among them.

When the Red Guards first appeared she defended and encouraged them. She was appointed First Deputy Head of the Cultural Revolution Group, the group of party leaders entrusted with the task of leading the Cultural Revolution. And in this capacity she attended seven of the eight mass Red Guard rallies in Peking.

Later an ultra-left line developed among the students that threatened to sabotage Mao's line by advocating the use of violence to resolve differences among the people.

And Chiang Ching played a key role in combating this trend. She told the students,

 ``Don't hit others and beat them. Struggle by force can only touch the skin and flesh, while the struggle by reasoning things out can touch them to their very souls.''

Chiang Ching also assisted and gave support to the workers when they seized power from party leaders who had been exposed as ``capitalist roaders.''

She encouraged workers in the takeover of the Trade Union Federation in December 1966, one of the first of these power seizures.

As the Cultural Revolution deepened, right-wing forces in the party continued to oppose the revolutionary changes being made in the economy, health, education and culture.

Chiang Ching played a leading role in mobilizing the masses to combat these efforts to put so-called experts back in command and undercut the new socialist ways of doing things.

And when people like Deng Xiaoping promoted the idea that China should open its doors to Western capitalism, Chiang Ching helped to expose and oppose this plan to sell out China's soul.

While providing overall leadership to the Cultural Revolution, Chiang Ching continued to play a key role in the struggle to develop revolutionary culture.

In November 1966 she became the cultural adviser to the People's Liberation Army and called on the masses of soldiers to take up pen, paint, baton and camera and join the struggle to develop art to serve the people.

In 1976, as Mao's enemies moved in to stage a military takeover, Chiang Ching, along with Chang Chun-chiao and others, organized heroic last-ditch efforts to save the revolution.

* * * * *
In October 1976, shortly after Mao's death, the capitalist-roaders -- who had been prevented from seizing power for ten years -- staged a reactionary military coup. Chiang Ching was arrested, and in 1981 she was put on trial for her role in the Cultural Revolution. She was sentenced to death.

But the new emperors of China were afraid that her execution might stir rebellion among the masses and her sentence was later changed to life imprisonment.

Even in captivity, Chiang Ching's unrepentant spirit and revolutionary optimism made its way through the walls of censorship and lies.

For fifteen years she continued to denounce the Deng Xiaoping regime and never backed off her stand that ``it's right to rebel against reactionaries!''

Shortly before her death there were reports of how she would read news about what was going on in China and bitterly comment, ``This is not Chairman Mao's revolutionary line.''

With Chiang Ching's death the oppressors still slander and lie about her life. They know what it means for the oppressed to have a leader like her. They know that the lessons from her life are a powerful weapon for all those who want to overthrow the powers and build a whole new society. Chiang Ching always kept her sights on the goal of world revolution, and her faith in the masses gave her revolutionary strength and optimism to carry her through tumultuous and dangerous times. She was willing to risk all to win all.

And she was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. For all this the defenders of oppression hate Chiang Ching and will never stop using their weapons of lie and deceit to try and bury her life. But this cannot be allowed! It is up to the people to teach the real story of Chiang Ching.

It is up to us to cherish her memory and carry on in the revolutionary cause for which she lived and died.

Below is posted an important  part of the article written in a World to win of R.I.M in 1993.
Seizing Power

Following the example of the mighty 1967 January Storm in Shanghai a movement to seize local political power from the capitalist roaders and to organize new organs of leadership swept the country. Chiang Ching enthusiastically supported this and popularized this completely new experience the proletariat was gaining. New three-in-one combinations brought together revolutionary Party cadre, revolutionary representatives from the army and representatives from the revolutionary masses to make up the newborn centres of power, called revolutionary committees.

During this phase of the GPCR Chiang Ching's leadership concentrated in large part on implementing the vital line developed by Mao and the CRG of building great alliances to seize power, setting up revolutionary committees and carrying out the process of struggle-criticism-transformation.
After one of the main bastions of the revisionist power-holders, the Peking Municipal Committee (closely associated with the old Propaganda Department of the Central Committee and the old Ministry of Culture), was finally overthrown, Chiang Ching presided over the celebration of the founding of the Peking Revolutionary Committee.

She said that the behind-the-scenes bosses of the Peking clique are the handful of top Party persons in authority taking the capitalist road. "For 17 years, they have been putting forward and stubbornly persisting in a bourgeois reactionary line. The proletarian revolutionary line represented by Chairman Mao has been developed in the struggle against this line", whose influence on the political, economic, ideological and cultural fronts must be thoroughly wiped out, planting in its place the great red banner of Mao Tsetung Thought.

Chiang Ching linked the changes that needed to be carried out in Peking to the overall task of the Cultural Revolution and pointed to the need to launch a mass movement to carry out the process of struggle-criticism-repudiation and transformation, alongside the forging of an alliance to seize power. "The task of struggle, criticism and repudiation and transformation in the various departments and the work of criticizing and repudiating the top Party persons in authority taking the capitalist road are not mutually exclusive and can be combined." She explained that each can give strong impetus to the other and bring about a fuller and deeper exposure and criticism of the top capitalist roaders; she reminded people that all this requires studying Mao's works well and carrying out thorough investigation.

She said it is essential for the socialist revolution and socialist construction to carry through the struggle, criticism and repudiation and transformation in the various organizations and departments successfully. "It is a major task, crucial for the next hundred years."[13

In one of her speeches to a delegation from the faction-torn province of Anhwei, Chiang Ching struggles vigourously with the two factions to unite and form a great alliance so that power can be seized and revolutionary committees created. Only then "shall we have people to lead us. And the revolution cannot proceed without leaders!"

She warns against the strong foul wind already "being stirred up with the object of dissolving all revolutionary committees set up with the approval of the Central Committee", and that in the present "excellent situation we should be alert against this. Naturally there may be some reversals but we should not be afraid of them." Reversals of power are a normal thing. And besides, the situation throughout the country is uneven, but unevenness is also normal.[15]

Twists and Turns of Revolution

There are two things that really drive the bourgeoisie mad the masses making revolution and revolutionary leaders in power supporting and leading them. While it is not uncommon for the bourgeoisie to attribute all of the violence of the Cultural Revolution to Chiang Ching's "personal" energetic support of the revolutionary masses, a close look at her role shows that overwhelmingly she fought rigourously to uphold Mao's orientation that the handful of capitalist roaders high in the Party could be toppled without violence. This was objectively true because the revolution was indeed within the revolution it took place under the dictatorship of the proletariat, whose primary function is to suppress the enemies of the working class and the people. This is quite the opposite from the situation in China today, where a new Communist Party must be formed to lead the masses to violently overthrow the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie that has been established there since 1976.

So, although armed suppression of the leading capitalist roaders was not necessary because the proletariat was in command, at the same time Mao did not shrink from the fact that once the masses were fully aroused to make revolution and bring about sweeping political changes, some things were certain to get out of hand. Neither was he surprised, as occurred repeatedly in the GPCR, that lines opposing that of the Centre emerged, fanning violence so as to sidetrack the main political struggle.

"In the cataclysmic changes that have developed over the past year there has naturally been chaos everywhere. There is no connection between the chaos in one place and that in another. Even violent struggle is very good, because once contradictions are exposed they are easily solved. The losses in this great cultural revolution have been minimal and the achievements huge."[28]

In the heat of the summer of 1966 when the Cultural Revolution was just getting off the ground Chiang Ching struggled against an ultra-left tendency to want to attack the capitalist roaders and their supporters physically and avoid the much more difficult process of ideological and political struggle that the Left was calling for. "Struggle by force can only touch the skin and flesh, while struggle by reasoning things out can touch them to their very souls."[6]

In part the turn towards violent clashes was spontaneous and an expression of the sharp class struggle: workers fought verbally but also in the streets over seizing power from the municipal committees in at least eight different provinces in early 1967. The army was also called in to assist the workers and Red Guards in these seizures and to help restore order. At the same time, forces of the Right in some areas openly advocated violence by distorting certain slogans or by inciting the masses to focus their attack on smaller capitalist roaders in order to divert attention away from themselves.

The slogan, "Drag out a handful in the army", was taken quite literally in some areas, for instance, and applied everywhere the Right could get away with it, including at times seizing weapons from the regular troops. Chiang Ching exposes this line:

"Let us not fall into the trap. The slogan is wrong. Because the Party, government and the army are all under the leadership of the Party. We can only talk about dragging out the handful of Party capitalist roaders in authority and nothing else. Were we to do otherwise, that would be unscientific, and the result would be that we got the wrong people everywhere, and almost all military districts would be raided, without distinguishing good from bad. Even if some comrades, a minority of comrades, some individual comrades in our army committed serious errors, they need not be dealt with in such a way...."

Chiang Ching then goes on to say that youth of course like action, but that it was also necessary to "exercise your minds", to carry out the harder process of struggle-criticism-transformation. Travelling around from place to place appeals to youth, but they may not know the particular conditions everywhere and may make mistakes. "You must believe in the local masses and must not do the things which they should do themselves, just as we cannot make revolution on your behalf. All we can do is consult with you and give guidance."[15]

In fact, it was not always so clear how to handle the contradictory nature of the violence produced by the revolutionary zeal of the masses and the intensity of the situation without acting as a brake on the revolutionary momentum that was righteous and necessary for the process of transforming society and for the proletariat to exercise its dictatorship, including in the realm of fully recapturing political power itself. If in revolution there is disorder and excesses, both of which Mao took responsibility for, it is also objectively true that recognizing and correctly handling them cannot always be accomplished until some of the smoke clears. At the same time, some forces take advantage of this for their own opportunist reasons.

Within the CRG group itself, which Chiang Ching helped to lead, some elements (such as Chen Po-ta) openly embraced the use of force, and people followed their example, especially after the provocation and mutiny by military units supporting the Right in the city of Wuhan in 1967. These CRG leaders, later identified as ultra-"leftist", whose goal was to create chaos and turn it to their advantage, could not be removed until some time later. The Right also organized violence among a section of the Red Guards it had turned against the CRG.12 Chou En-lai, on the other hand, who always had a wide Rightist streak despite his alliance with Mao, and who often appeared in public with the Left, played a very centrist role and always stressed calm and restoring order, while accusing the "anarchists" of continuing civil war.

Chiang Ching consistently advocated attacking and overthrowing the enemy ideologically and politically, and called for restraint by the masses whose anger was fully aroused. In her speeches she pointed out that Liu Shao-chi had been dragged from power without force of arms. However, when arms were issued "for defence" to certain Red Guard units and rebel forces against rightist strongholds of the PLA, she went along with this. Her well-known slogan, "Attack by reason, defend by force", was not promoted because it tended to confuse the dividing line between the two, and ended up encouraging the use of arms among other sections of the people as well, which didn't solve the kind of contradictions arising among groups and organizations of the masses. Who was to know exactly where defence ended and attack began? In September 1967 Mao arrived back in Peking after visiting a number of regions, and shortly afterwards a circular was released forbidding further arms from being seized.[17]

"It's easy to make revolution against others and hard to make revolution against oneself."

During the Cultural Revolution Chiang Ching developed a close relationship with the revolutionary masses, who came to wildly appreciate her as a revolutionary leader of the Party. Observing a meeting he attended, a Soviet sinologist described the animated crowd, which "kept bursting into applause": "After Chen Po-ta, Kang Sheng, and Li Hsueh-feng, whose speeches I am completely unable to remember, since they so skillfully said nothing of interest, the floor was given to Chiang Ching, who in her green military uniform and hat never stopped moving. Her speech set the room on fire.... "You are the revolutionary new generation', she said. "You are the ones who must carry on the revolution. You must take it further. We, the older generation, are leaving, and as we go, we give you our revolutionary traditions. Chairman Mao is leaving China to you. The state will be in your hands. The school of the Cultural Revolution is a great school!' The effect was immediate. From the moment that the leaders departed, the meeting continued without let-up. Speakers replaced one another, everyone trying to outdo the other by his enthusiasm...."[45]

By her own example Chiang Ching roused others to dare to be like her, to dare to put all they had on the line for the political rule of the proletariat, as she had, to refuse to give in to the shrewd and calculating counter-revolutionaries, and especially to be clear on the enemy, so as to carefully differentiate between top capitalist roaders in the Party and those simply under their influence who were ideologically weak and easily manipulated to oppose their own fundamental interests. She was artful at combining revolutionary confidence in the masses and disdain for the enemy with practical leadership to guide the handling of complex and multiple contradictions erupting everywhere as the people waged struggle to seize power from the capitalist roaders.

Addressing delegations from all over and from diverse sections of society, she stressed the need to strengthen the ideological outlook of the proletariat, to encourage bold criticism and self-criticism, to wrestle with opposing ideas and stand firm in the face of difficulties. Chiang Ching urged the veteran revolutionaries to stay young politically, and to let themselves be tempered by the fire of the youth who were breaking new ground for the proletariat. She encouraged the youth to temper themselves in the struggle too, and to look beyond age and outward characteristics in order to deeply grasp political line and act in accordance with the correct line.

For example, to help create conditions for the masses to take power, in part by struggling against factionalism which arose sharply in several places, the CRG played an important role bringing together leaders and delegates of opposing factions in order to help solve problems and assist them in distinguishing serious disagreements from secondary ones. And, like Mao (who had said that the premises for the great alliance are destroying self-interest and becoming devoted to the people along with carrying out healthy struggle), Chiang Ching linked closely the question of outlook to the possibility of uniting to form great alliances:

"Comrades, if you think what I have to say is useful then let's try to implement it. We must become revolutionaries of Mao Tsetung Thought and not members of this group or that faction. The factional mentality is a petit-bourgeois trait; it is the mountain-stronghold mentality, departmentalism, or anarchism in its most serious form.... It is good that both sides make self-criticism.... In this way we shall sit down and talk and seek agreement over the major issues while preserving differences over minor ones. Uniting on the main points, that is revolution, the GPCR.

"...Whether you stand on the side of the proletarian revolutionary line led by Chairman Mao or on the side of the line taken by the capitalist roaders is a question of big right or big wrong. On this premise, if you are all struggling against the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road (or, in Anhwei, against the small clique led by Li Pao-hua on the capitalist road) is there any reason for being unable to unite and for not uniting? If we judge from your factional character I think that you work for yourselves and not for the revolution, the people and the proletariat.

"...You must make high demands on yourselves and on your own group and not on others. If you quarrel, fight, wage armed struggle, and seize weapons, you cannot keep your heads cool and cannot distinguish between right and wrong....It is easy to make revolution against others, but hard to make it against oneself."[15]

Mao addressed this from another angle: the possibility of keeping political power itself. Speaking about the Cultural Revolution in March 1967, he summed up that the main task is to seize power from those taking the capitalist road, but, he says, "this is by no means the goal. The goal is to solve the problem of world outlook; it is the question of eradicating the roots of revisionism." Otherwise, he argued, how can the GPCR be considered a victory? In other words, without political power, socialist transformation could not take place, but without increasingly remoulding ideological outlook, it would be impossible to hold onto power.

When Mao declared that the working class must lead in every sphere of society, including in all aspects of culture and the superstructure, he especially targeted education and the arts. He made the pointed remark, knowing it would offend some and infuriate others, that intellectuals had basically not abandoned their bourgeois outlook. "Please consider whether or not this view is out of date", he asks rhetorically.[29]

Breaking with Old Ideas

The arena of culture, in which Chiang Ching continued to give leadership, was a major battlefield exactly because of this problem of outlook. Big advances and hard-fought victories had been won in creating new proletarian art but everywhere the political and ideological struggle had to be pushed further. Speaking at a Peking Forum on Literature and Art in November 1967, Chiang Ching points out that the unevenness of the GPCR in the propaganda and cultural units was a reflection of the laws of class struggle.

Some still need to form great alliances, while others have done so, but haven't yet made a success of revolutionary three-in-one combinations and need to carry out more widespread debate and criticism, and to solve cadre problems. "Has the movement been carried out deeply and thoroughly?" she asks. "I think not. For the enemy is very shrewd; he has many companies of actors. After you dispose of one company he will turn up in yet another. So I feel there must be a penetrating investigation and study of the literary and artistic circles. We should be steady, accurate and harsh towards our enemy."

Several questions are raised in this forum: whether enough works are being produced, how to popularize them and to raise standards, whether model works are the "peak" of national art. But from each angle Chiang Ching returns to hit at the chief obstacle to fully unleashing the revolution in the arts: "The central task now is still to combat self-interest and repudiate revisionism, and to organize the revolutionary troops. Otherwise, it would be impossible to produce things really serving socialism and really suitable for the needs of workers, peasants and soldiers. To combat self-interest and repudiate revisionism is a difficult matter." She agrees that it is fine to send small teams to the countryside and factories to popularize the works, as a forum participant has suggested, but insists there is no point in going there if it is just to escape from struggle.

Similarly, in responding to those "impatient ones" who believed that not enough new operas have been produced, she says it is understandable, but argues that if they are done crudely, "people will strike us down". At the same time, she calls on the artists to get organized and to get down seriously to producing and reforming more works. She defends the eight model works which have "cleared the stage and screen of emperors and generals and the bourgeoisie", as well as the beginning achievements in reforming ballet and symphony, for, despite shortcomings, they have created a "shock and sensation" in the world.[16]

Tremendous breakthroughs had been made between 1963 and 1965 in the socialist transformation of the arts, with Chiang Ching and a small group of comrades leading the charge. However, until all of society was engaged in the battle for political power in the GPCR, the problem of forming troops to carry out this transformation on a broad scale could not be solved. Nor could the vital problem of making the new revolutionary culture available to the masses in a deep and widespread way throughout the country. In 1967 this began to change, and, among other things, plans were developed to put the model works out in a film version so as to make them more accessible all across China, extensive popularization was carried out through the PLA cultural units, and the work of the popular and innovative mobile cultural teams was greatly expanded.

Chiang Ching had frequently addressed meetings or rallies of artists and writers during the early phases of the Cultural Revolution, challenging them to fully participate in its overall tasks, as well as to make revolution in their units. Yet it appears that it was not until the spring of 1967 that the Party was really able to unleash an offensive to develop the debate over culture among the broad masses, going into the sharp two-line struggle to transform the arts and popularizing the successful experience led by Chiang Ching in revolutionizing Peking Opera in particular. Numerous articles and essays appeared in the press and theoretical organs. The important summary of the 1966 Forum on Art and Literature in the Armed Forces was also released to the public along with some brief statements by Mao on those questions.

The new model operas were given special prominence, with Mao and other central leaders attending performances. And Chiang Ching was given the honour of presiding over the 25th anniversary celebration of the Yenan Forum, where new model works were performed.

Early on the Left had paid close attention to fully bringing the PLA into the political turmoil of the Cultural Revolution. This had the advantage of strengthening the Left's line among the masses of soldiers, raising their political and ideological level, and enabling them to see the two-line struggle and class struggle in the army as well as in society. Amid other responsibilities, Chiang Ching was appointed cultural advisor to the PLA in February 1966 and advisor to a Cultural Revolution Group set up within the army one year later.

Under Chiang Ching's leadership on the cultural front, major questions of line in developing proletarian arts were struggled out and new works were created and produced. Conferences on creative writing were held and special attention was paid to the raising of an "army" of literary and art critics.

Some of the "cultural" fruits of the Cultural Revolution overall and of the Left's line in particular could be easily seen within the PLA in the late 1960s, as the soldiers began to participate on a qualitatively different level in political and cultural activities ranging from political study to writing, producing and performing skits and operas, to organizing forums and amateur arts festivals in local PLA units throughout the country.

New Rounds of Struggle

Although back in December 1964 she had attended the National People's Congress as a representative from her home Shantung province, Chiang Ching fully came into her own as a political leader during the Cultural Revolution. This was made "official" only at the Ninth Party Congress in 1969 when she was elected to the Politburo of the Central Committee. From that time on her responsibilities drew her increasingly into the political struggles of the Party's top leadership, and she was able to contribute in her own right to strengthening the position of the Left in these struggles.

In the later years of the Cultural Revolution China was actively engrossed in carrying out more thorough socialist transformation in the economy, health care, the arts and culture, especially the old educational system, including through building and strengthening the revolutionary committees.

These were changes that hit hard at both the material and political underpinnings of capitalism and made it possible for the proletariat to extend its rule to new spheres. They also reflected the profound ways in which relations among people carrying out production were being recast, reaching into and opening up a future when new social relations in all realms of society have relegated the exploitative and oppressive ones that human history has mainly known to encyclopedias on primitive man in the era of social classes.

This myriad of new things included, among many others: workers, peasants and soldiers enrolled in the universities, the educated youth went to the countryside and Party cadres participated in productive labour; workers took part in administration and the reform of old rules and regulations, variations of three-in-one combinations were implemented in every domain, including for technological innovations in the factories and rural areas and for scientific achievements in general; the slogan red and expert, or politics leading professional skills, combined people armed with a correct political understanding and those with specialized knowledge; women were brought into Party posts and three-in-one leadership combinations, as were older masses, whose rich experience was combined with the energy of the youth; mass movements in science and technology were sponsored, model cultural works were developed and became the property of the masses, poetic and colourful revolutionary literature sprang up, the widespread study of Marxist theory was organized; a network of free or nearly free health care clinics with barefoot doctors trained from among the peasants was set up to serve the countryside.

Some opposed these "socialist new things", as they were called, which emerged as part of overthrowing the Right. Many of its leading representatives holding important Party posts had been replaced.

However, even some who pretended to be Mao's closest comrades, like Lin Piao, began to thwart these innovations of the Cultural Revolution.

As early as his July 1966 letter to Chiang Ching, Mao warns that, "Certain of our friend's ideas greatly disturb me", referring to the way in which Lin Piao was promoting Mao almost like some kind of holy force.

 "It is all exaggerated", he wrote her.[36] She also recalled the Chairman's extreme annoyance at Lin Piao's stupid refrain in 1959 when he had just been promoted to defence minister, "One of Mao Tsetung's sentences equals 10,000 sentences."13

Chiang Ching sums up briefly that Lin Piao, who in the aftermath of overthrowing the capitalist roaders led by Liu Shao-chi was named Mao's successor at the Ninth Party Congress, tried to usurp the leadership of the Party, state and military.

Besides publishing in Mao's name (and heavily "editing" his works into "Lin Piao Thought", as she put it), he created great chaos by stirring up fighting, brandishing arms and putting on pointless displays of military force.

Chiang Ching also describes the extravagant style of his personal life, his Confucian zeal "to become an official and get rich".[47]

Coming at the time the Central Committee was preparing its case against Lin Piao, which Chiang Ching was instrumental in putting together, this account is mainly anecdotal, but nonetheless revealing.

This traitor, as she calls him, had nestled close to Mao, and thus his brutish stab at power profoundly shook both the Party and society just as the gains of the GPCR and nationwide unity were being consolidated, and in the context of the growing military threat by the Soviet Union.

Of the ten major two-line struggles in the CCP in its history (up until 1972), Chiang Ching said the most serious was with Lin Piao.

Lin Piao had been closely associated with the Left in the mid-1960s when they needed allies to get their views disseminated and to bolster their offensive against the Right and against the danger of capitalist restoration. At the time, Lin Piao played an important role in carrying out socialist education in the military, rectifying Peng Te-huai's line (of "modernizing" the army by relying on advanced technology, as did the Soviet revisionists). But Lin Piao and his supporters also used the occasion to build a tighter base of support and to glorify Mao, and even Chiang Ching to some extent, as icons they hoped to knock down.

Lin Piao wanted to use the army to restore order, and by 1967-1968 he was already saying production should be above political struggle
By the Ninth Party Congress in 1969 Lin's fully rightist programme had become clear: the principal contradiction was said to be between the advanced socialist system and the backward productive forces the same Chinese goulash line as that of Liu Shao-chi, defeated years before.

He considered the socialist new things as obstacles to the masses getting "food and fuel", and although he was outwardly opposed to Chou En-lai's capitulation to the U.S. imperialists (since Lin preferred the "bad socialists" of the USSR), he actually shared much in common with Chou's more "moderate" but essentially rightist modernization aims, his surrender to imperialism, etc.

Lin also resisted Mao's efforts to re-establish the full leading role of the Party and to curtail that of the army.[32]

At this time intense struggle over the international situation heated up within the CCP leadership. In 1970 Mao agreed (with Chou, but for different reasons) to an opening with the West, creating an alliance between the Left and centrist Chou forces (primarily the "old guard" of the Party centre and the military hierarchies) against Lin.

Politically defeated, Lin Piao continued to organize his coup and assassination plans against Mao, all of which ended instead in his flight to the USSR and death in a plane crash in September 1971.

He waved the red flag to defeat it. On one side it was red, but on the other was a black skull and crossbones, Chiang Ching remarked bitterly.[47]

Lin Piao's downfall considerably strengthened Chou En-lai's position.

The circumstances required the Left to do what Chou advocated bring back Rightists knocked down in the Cultural Revolution to fill the posts left by the Lin Piao forces, including in the army.

Deng Xiaoping was even brought back, and if by day these Rightists made self-criticisms and promised to uphold the Cultural Revolution, by night they overall gained in strength.

The Left faced the necessity of digging further at the roots of the revisionism of Lin Piao, and while organizationally not as strong, politically they had the freedom to arm the masses about the rightist essence of his line, while exposing secondarily his ultra-"left" cover and his idealist "geniuses make history" line.

Even though the Right had gained in strength, at the Tenth Party Congress in 1973 the Left upholding the Cultural Revolution and the socialist new things, as well as their line of "Grasp Revolution, Promote Production" were overall politically victorious. Chiang Ching was re-elected to the Politburo, but on the Standing Committee only Chang Chun-chiao was fully in Mao's camp.

Chiang Ching speaks of the positive effect of the study organized among cadres to repudiate Lin Piao's line, and the evident raising of the political level of the masses and their conscious ability to act as they more systematically took up Marxism-Leninism-Mao Thought in this period.

The Left launched the Campaign to Criticize Lin Piao and Confucius in 1974. Confucian doctrine also preached restoration of the old (slave) order, capitulation to foreign aggressors and blind obedience for the masses, who had only the right to be ruled over.

By historical allusion this campaign targeted Deng Xiaoping, (Confucius) and secondarily Chou En-lai, whose centrist program was the bandwagon for the rise of the Right.

The Last Great Battle

Chiang Ching began to collide again with the revisionist line in culture, which endorsed imitating Western models in the name of becoming "modern" and sought to degrade proletarian art such as the new revolutionary operas and other cultural achievements of the Cultural Revolution. Wherever this line held sway, it began to reverse the line of these works or to introduce new revisionist ones. In the context of Chou's push for an opening to the West, numerous foreign orchestras were invited to China, most likely at his initiative.

This was only one of the fronts on which there was mounting tension between the Premier and Chiang Ching, as there was a growing offensive by the Right on the cultural front and an emboldened political offensive overall between 1973 and 1975.

It is not that the Left opposed foreign symphonies visiting China as such, but they demanded that it be clear for what political purpose they were being welcomed.

A penetrating article on "absolute music" was published about that time, challenging the premise that this music had no meaning or class content and was above place and time, with rich examples from history and the development of class society.

It argued that such a view tried to disguise the bourgeois class character of these untitled instrumental pieces, although some techniques of classical music could be critically assimilated.[2]

(It is important to note that as the number of international visitors mushroomed during this same period, Chiang Ching frequently received foreign heads of state and delegations and presided over numerous international sporting exchanges and other public events.)

The tenth anniversary of the revolution of Peking Opera in 1974 featured articles and celebrations upholding new socialist culture and rather openly polemicizing against those who judge as "improper" putting heroic workers and peasants on stage and who clamour for a return to the days where princes and emperors had their proper place there instead!

At the same time new works appeared popularizing the socialist transformation in various spheres, feats in agricultural production, the model developments in industry, such as the Taiching oilfields and socialist new things like barefoot doctors. There were some minor differences among the Left over which works to approve, and how high standards should be.

Chiang Ching argued strongly against compromising on high standards either politically or artistically, and due to her knowledge of the cultural world, was able to recognize and criticize nuances and veiled allusions that others missed.

In addition, it seems that Mao approved some films which Chiang Ching had objected to on various points; this is significant only in that it became wildly exaggerated when the Right took power and arrested the Four, and dragged this out as "proof" that Mao didn't approve of Chiang Ching, and other such ridiculous charges.

Chiang Ching and the Left also exposed and temporarily aborted the film debut of Hua Kuo-feng, who had filmed a light opera about education called Song of the Gardener which extols the virtues of wise teachers and likens them to refined flower cultivators.[39] Such glossy opposition to politics interfering with young people's studies contrasts markedly with a film produced under the Left's revolutionary line in this period, Breaking With Old Ideas.

This film vividly portrays the class struggle in society over who gets to go to school and the difficulty of going up against both rigid traditional teachers and a curriculum more suited to bourgeois education than to the needs of the masses in transforming society.

Although the film is set during the Great Leap Forward, these themes prove just as relevant for the 1970s, and the film became indeed a lasting work of universal significance.

Together the students and Party leaders overthrow the academic snobbery and irrelevance of the old ways, winning over many vacillators in the process.

This arose in the midst of sharpening class struggle in the Party between two lines and two roads. A number of revisionists had been restored to key positions.

And in January 1975 at the Fourth National People's Congress, while the Left again won out politically, the Right's organizational position and initiative continued to grow. The Left called for strengthening the revolutionary committees at all levels, while Chou En-lai laid out a plan to modernize China by the year 2000 (by depending on imperialism, restoring capitalism and fueling class differences).

This was echoed by Hua Kuo-feng's project to mechanize agriculture in the same rightist political vein. Chiang Ching, who had been following the developments of the Tachai agricultural brigade closely,14 was reported to have labelled Hua's report "revisionist" at a "Learn from Tachai Conference" in October 1975, where keen struggle erupted.

The report was actually part of the rising rightist wind and attempted to divert the central question of whether revolution would lead the overall development of the economy.[37]

Mao and the Four had responded with a campaign to study and reinforce the dictatorship of the proletariat, pointing out that although ownership was in the main socialist, there were many holdovers from capitalism, such as the commodity system, graded wage scales and material inequalities.

Bourgeois right material and social privileges based upon the unequal value of the labour power of different individuals and their different requirements to maintain their families had not been eliminated.

In the summer of 1975, Mao called for criticism of the historical novel The Water Margin, exposing the modern-day Sung Chiangs (the character who capitulates to the Emperor after having first joined the peasant rebels) to focus the aim on traitors Deng and Chou and others like them.

This two-line struggle broke out in education shortly afterwards, over whether revolutionizing education held back production; some teachers at Tsinhua University wrote to Mao complaining of the "lowering of academic standards", in fact accurately referring to the deterioration of bourgeois standards.

Mao called for a mass debate, and the Four actively helped to carry this out, with Chang Chun-chiao playing an especially key role. His now famous point was probably made in this struggle:

 "Bring up exploiters and intellectual aristocrats with bourgeois consciousness and culture, or bring up workers with consciousness and no culture which do you want?"

The Right twisted this to mean he said workers did not need culture, dropping of course his reference to culture serving the bourgeoisie.[37]

The struggle continued to sharpen up against Deng Xiaoping, long the open representative of the rightest pole in the CCP characterized by his motto, "black cat, white cat, who cares, as long as it catches mice"; his views were concentrated in his General Programme of taking the "three directives" (instead of and to negate proletarian class struggle) as the key link.15

After Chou's death in January 1976, the Left's ability to more thoroughly expose Deng (without Chou to protect him) was heightened, and they seized the initiative.

However, they were not strong enough to get Chang Chun-chiao appointed Premier in the struggle for succession. (In addition to Chang Chun-chiao's key role in the Cultural Revolution as a member of the CRG, and in Shanghai, where the powerful January Storm swept away the old revisionist officials he had developed as a key leader in the Party overall.

He was the author of pathbreaking theoretical articles such as "On Exercising All-Round Dictatorship Over the Bourgeoisie",[1] and was instrumental in the Shanghai political economy study group as a whole, which authored important works making a class analysis of the economic laws under socialism and of its contradictory nature.)

While blocking Deng, the Left had to settle for Hua, who was not a prime figure of the rightest front and had no strong personal following.

Chiang Ching was active in this struggle and again played a very public role, which annoyed Deng Xiaoping. In an attempted show of strength, the Right instigated the counter-revolutionary Tienanmen riots in April 1976 in order to attack Mao and his policies under the signboard of paying tribute to Chou En-lai and his line of "modernization".

But the revisionists openly targeted Chiang Ching instead, with their cheap Confucian label of "Empress Dowager" (the feudal ruler who put down the 1900 Boxer Rebellion and historically more resembled the bloody Deng regime that massacred students and workers in 1989).

After this reactionary display had been put down by the PLA and people's militia, it was reportedly Chiang Ching's task to organize the removal of the memorial wreaths from the square an act the Right was deeply offended by and later tried to use against her.16

Deng was knocked down from all his posts for staging the riots, and Mao and the Left accelerated the dictatorship of the proletariat campaign, directing the fire at him and the right deviationist wind. It was at this time that Mao made his famous statement,

 "You are making socialist revolution and don't know where the bourgeoisie is it's right in the Communist Party. The capitalist roaders are still on the capitalist road."

This was the heart of the question, and the offensive of the Left with the "Five", Mao and the Four, its political core stung the Right badly, often provoking open confrontations between the two headquarters within the Party, including strikes, sit-ins and the toppling of ministers, though as much as possible the revisionists tried to block the campaign and the developing mass movement.[37]

Mao's Death and the Capitalists' Coup

On September 9th, 1976, Mao Tsetung died. As the masses in China, alongside millions in every country throughout the world, mourned this immeasurable loss, the revisionists in China rejoiced and prepared their takeover. With "official" successor Hua Kuo-feng at their head, and based upon the portions of power they had already seized, including within the armed forces, they were able to mount a military coup d'état within a month of Mao Tsetung's death, and arrested the Four and their close supporters. Proletarian rule came to an abrupt and brutal end in China, bringing back like a rude wake-up call Mao's warning in his 1966 letter to Chiang Ching of the possibility of the Right using some of his words to stage an anti-Communist coup d'état in China after his death but also assuring her that they would know no peace.

In fact many knew it was the end of the revolution and saw right through the barrage of political propaganda, and for this reason the coup was presented alongside gleaming gun barrels, as if to illustrate another important point of Mao's. The mass media announced that the Four were the "real revisionist Right", that they, especially Chiang Ching, were KMT renegades, that these Four Chiang Ching, Chang Chun-chiao, Yao Wen-yuan, and Wang Hung-wen along with a goodly number of their comrades, were actually enemies of Mao; it was even fancied that Mao would have supported this clampdown against "counter-revolution". The low political level of the invective revealed the magnitude of the coup-makers' quandary and, in a desperate need to consolidate power, they quickly supplemented it with an even lower, that is gutter-level, slur campaign, filled with the wildest personal slander they could think of as well as insignificant incidents they exaggerated into mad fairy tales.

These modern-day Confucians, working at the same time to tighten tradition's chains with the rumour mill they generated, chose to most savagely victimize the woman, Chiang Ching.

As the Chairman's wife she was also supposed to suffer and bear the responsibility for all the "evils" China had ever experienced, ancient or modern, but especially during the Cultural Revolution.

For these capitalist roaders, the worst of these "evils" was, of course, having to endure almost 30 years of Mao leading the masses to revolutionize the society they wanted to get rich off of and, related to that, their failure to unseat Mao and his revolutionary comrades from the centre of power long before.

Yet people resisted. In many ways. One of the major accusations at the historic 1980-81 "trial" would be that of plotting an armed rebellion in Shanghai against the coup d'état. Chang Chun-chiao and others had a strong political following in this city, forged through the sharp struggle and important changes of the Cultural Revolution. Shanghai was famous for the January Storm, when millions of workers, joined by peasants and students, seized back power from the revisionist-led Municipal Party Committee in 1967.

In August 1976, as expectations of a showdown in the Party grew, arms and munitions were handed out to the million-strong Shanghai militia that had been set up by the Shanghai Municipal Revolutionary Committee several years earlier.

After news of the Four's arrest filtered out, detailed plans were laid to block the harbours and airports, to shut down the press and radio, to launch work stoppages and demonstrations and mobilize the militia men and women, along with the garrison command of Shanghai.

An older Communist leader, Zhu Yong-jia, a close comrade of Chang Chun-chiao and head of the writing group of the Shanghai Party Committee, rallied the revolutionaries to prepare for action, calling on them to "do a Paris Commune. If we cannot keep up the fight for a week, five or three days would suffice to let the whole world know what's happening...." In other words, this rebellion would be a declaration that a revisionist coup in China had taken place and that it was being actively resisted by revolutionaries. Most reports are based on Hong Kong newspapers and even accounts by the revisionist press itself, so details of the plan are scanty.

The rebellion was delayed when the leaders were purposely called to Peking, and it seems the revolutionaries lost the initiative for the full-scale uprising they planned as the coup-makers swept into the city to prevent it.

Nonetheless, there was reportedly armed fighting in some militia units on October 13th, one week after the Four were arrested, and as soon as word of the arrests spread on October 10th, thousands of people gathered every day at key headquarters to see what actions the leaders would take.

Zhu had correctly pointed to the crucial need for "quick, decisive action drawing wide support" not only in Shanghai but throughout the country.[42,40] For a number of reasons the leadership failed to move at the critical moment.

This underlines even more the importance of the decisive, unwavering stand of defiance of Chiang Ching and Chang Chun-chiao.

Despite the smokescreen put up by Hua that he was acting on Mao's behalf, on the streets of China, among many of the masses, a five-finger salute behind officials' backs was common, needing no verbalization: Mao and the Four were the revolutionaries being overthrown.

A foreign observer in Shanghai during the coup reported that conversations and movements were tightly controlled, and that tension was extremely high among the people. Official posters of the Central Committee denouncing the Four were stripped from the railway station walls in Nanjing.[39]

Undoubtedly many other stories have yet to see the light of day, as the counter-revolutionaries clamped down quickly and brutally, arresting and jailing known sympathizers of the Left, many of whom were executed.

The coup in China represented a tremendous blow to the peoples of the world and the international proletariat as a whole. Revolutionary China was a beacon to hundreds of millions of people who yearned to liberate themselves.

For ten incredible years, the GPCR led by Mao and the revolutionary headquarters inside the Party had prevented this reversal of proletarian power and the restoration of capitalism by unleashing the conscious activism of the masses.

For ten long years, breathtaking strides were being made by history's formerly forgotten and downtrodden, breaking new socialist ground for the international proletariat.

In the course of all this, the revolutionary science was developed to a qualitatively new level and became recognized as Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought. New organizations and parties based on this ideology sprang into being all over the world.

To see history's most radical and far-reaching transformation of society under proletarian rule snatched away by the arrogant handful of bourgeois reactionaries inside the Communist Party usurping power for their own narrow get-rich aims was indeed unbearable. At the same time, in the very depth and breadth of the socialist revolution, Mao had laid the basis for Marxist-Leninists to pick up the weapons he enlarged and sharpened to understand both the nature of this reversal and how to continue to chart the way forward.

This was not an easy task it required sharp struggle over summing up the nature of socialist society and Mao's contributions to the science as well as the events in China themselves. Yet, fired in no small way by Chiang Ching and Chang Chun-chiao's courageous stand, many Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations not only refused to abandon the course of revolution in the face of the Chinese revisionists' betrayal and the simultaneous anti-communist ideological offensive by the international bourgeoisie, but succeeded in making qualitative advances in turning around the crisis in the international communist movement and forging an embryonic international centre based on this understanding, represented today by the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement.

After the arrest of the revolutionary headquarters, the regime carried out waves of purges in the Party, and in 1977 executions began in earnest. Within two years of the coup, revolutionary committees had been abolished, and entrance exams and privilege (benefiting primarily Party officials' children) became the criteria for access to higher learning. Films and other works produced under Chiang Ching's leadership were revised or banned outright.

The revisionists brought back the pre-Cultural Revolution version of the ballet White-Haired Girl, for example, featuring its central love theme.

Infanticide against baby girls returned as capitalism put a premium on male offspring.

As the waiting foreign vultures like Coca Cola and Mitsubishi pounced to set up new markets in China, production began to accommodate imperialism's needs and was boosted through bonuses and greater wage differentiation.

In short, capitalism was restored with a vengeance.

All this in a climate of heavy repression, toeing the official line, and the shutting off of the political struggle which had guided and promoted socialist construction for more than 20 years.

The Twentieth Century's Most Notorious Trial:

"I am happy to pay Chairman Mao's debt!"

For four years Chiang Ching and her comrade Chang Chun-chiao were imprisoned without any official charges. Hong Kong papers claim Hua tried to get her to confess for two years, to which Chiang Ching scoffed, "I dare you to release me!" In 1978 Hua was replaced by the real figure pulling the strings, Deng Xiaoping. As a special revenge, Deng put arch-revisionist Peng Chen (of the old Peking Municipal Committee, knocked down in the Cultural Revolution) in charge of interrogating her before the 1980 trial. In one of her statements at the trial Chiang Ching says that while in prison she prepared herself physically for the trial, so that she could do her best in court to defend the Cultural Revolution. "Every day at the cock's crow, I got out my sword", referring to a well-known general readying himself for battle.

The revisionists' primary tactic was to reverse the verdict on Lin Piao, brand him an ultra-leftist, and try the ten defendants as one "clique".

They threw in some old military generals who had plotted as part of the Right against Mao in the early 1970s, just to confuse the political lines even more. It is reported that the pre-trial arraignment film had to be shot three times because Chiang Ching's unpredictable outbursts made "unsuitable" public viewing.

Asked if she wanted a lawyer, her reply sharply exposed the kangaroo court: Only if he took the Ninth and Tenth Party Congresses as the political basis for the defence! Request denied.... Chiang Ching announced that she would defend herself.[40]

She prepared a 181-page statement slamming the revisionists with their own indictments: if the Left "framed up" veteran leaders, what are you doing now? What's wrong with the Cultural Revolution overthrowing the capitalist headquarters of Liu Shao-chi and company and restoring the true face of the Party? She got right to the heart of the matter:

 "I'm not going to admit to any crimes, not because I want to cut myself off from the people, but because I'm innocent. If I have to admit to anything, I can only say I lost in this struggle for power.

"You have power now so you can easily accuse people of crimes and fabricate false evidence to support your charges. But if you think you can fool the people of China and worldwide, you are completely mistaken. It is not I but your small gang who is on trial in the court of history."

This is exactly what her testimony did in the trial itself, which started November 20th, 1980, and went into January 1981. Unlike Wang Hung-wen and Yao Wen-yuan, who capitulated before the court, admitting everything they were charged with in exchange, they hoped, for a lighter sentence, Chang Chun-chiao remained defiantly silent (except when he rejected the indictments), refusing to recognize the court of some 35 judges and its jeering, hand-picked spectators and televised spectacle.

Chiang Ching showed nothing but contempt for her would-be executioners and boldly turned the fire of interrogation right back at them:

"Most of the members of the court present, including your president Jiang Hua, competed with each other in those days to criticize Liu Shao-chi.

If I am guilty, how about all of you?"

She drew out clearly the link between her actions and Mao's revolutionary line, again silencing her judges, who of course could not prove otherwise and were reduced to telling her to "shut up" again and again.

 "Since you won't let me speak", Chiang Ching would then retort, "why don't you put a clay Buddha in my chair and try it instead of me. I was Chairman Mao's wife for thirty-eight years.... I followed Mao's line and the Party's line. What you are doing now is asking a widow to pay her husband's debt. Well I'll tell you, I am happy and honoured to pay Chairman Mao's debt!"

And in one dramatic moment, she repeated a well-known statement of Mao's that true revolutionaries are bound by neither heaven nor law.

The authorities could stand no more. As she was dragged from the room she shouted, "It's right to rebel! Down with the revisionists led by Deng Xiaoping! I am prepared to die!" Shaken, the revisionists postponed their frame-up for a few days to decide what to do.

Chiang Ching's actions inspired people throughout China and everywhere, as even reactionaries there have admitted. Around the world, support demonstrations and meetings were held, from Sri Lanka, where the Chinese embassy was attacked, to the U.S., Paris and London. An ad signed by 2000 people to "Save Chiang Ching" was published in the French daily, Le Monde. A new leap was forged in the international communist movement at the First International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations, which started the process of regrouping the Maoists worldwide, helping to lay the foundation of RIM in 1984.

The regime (Deng's Politburo) agonized for nearly a month before announcing the death sentence against Chiang Ching and Chang Chun-chiao. The revisionists were unsure which would do themselves more harm executing these two revolutionaries, or letting them live as two of the world's foremost political prisoners. They were given two years to "confess". When she heard the word "death", Chiang Ching yelled out, "It's no crime to make revolution!"

Chiang Ching was held in the centuries-old prison of Quin Cheng, and spent many of her 15 years there in isolation. When she refused to cooperate with the authorities, she was denied food or exercise, or was beaten by guards. Much of this time she had no right to speak except under interrogation. The only person she was allowed to see was her daughter Li Na.

In prison Chiang Ching sewed dolls with her name on them, making them "useless" for sale, and refused to write the monthly self-criticisms required of political prisoners. A 1983 New York Times article reported that she defied her jailers to "chop off her head" in written slogans slashed across her cell walls. She demanded to meet with Deng Xiaoping, who refused, and she wrote political position papers exposing the revisionist regime. She reportedly also asked to present her views in an open debate at the Twelfth Party Congress in the summer of 1982.

In 1983 Chiang Ching's sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. There were reports of leaflets appearing on the streets of Peking and Shantung, supporting the Cultural Revolution and denouncing the capitalist roaders in power, said to be written by her and smuggled out.

On the outside, a message was clandestinely published in China and sent to Marxist-Leninists abroad in late 1980. It hailed the heroic stand of Chiang Ching and Chang Chun-chiao as well as entering into some of the problems of political line which held back revolutionaries from acting decisively at the moment required to carry through the armed uprising after the coup in 1976. It calls on the people to judge the four years of bourgeois dictatorship they have lived under and vows to put power back in the hands of the proletariat. Later Japanese sources confirmed its wide and bold circulation in China, along with some open agitation on the streets.17#

Mao's Wife and Comrade for 38 years

Significantly, Mao made sure he accomplished two more things before his death on September 9th, 1976. He met with the Politburo and in July wrote a letter to Chiang Ching. At the meeting he rebuked the Right for hoping he would die soon so they could get on with their plots, and at the same time warned that both the U.S. and USSR must be fought. His lines to Chiang Ching contain a challenge with a self-critical edge, urging her to firmly take hold of the political baton.

 "You have been wronged. Today we are separating into two worlds. May each keep his peace. These few words may be my last message to you. Human life is limited, but revolution knows no bounds. In the struggle of the past ten years I have tried to reach the peak of revolution, but I was not successful. But you could reach the top. If you fail, you will plunge into a fathomless abyss. Your body will shatter. Your bones will break."18

Among his last words aimed squarely at the revisionist power holders who wanted to create a rift between them, were "Help Chiang Ching raise the red flag".

The Chinese revisionists dredged up whatever they could, inventing when necessary, to try to show that Mao and Chiang Ching were on opposite sides at the end of Mao's life. This is patently untrue and merely an awkward stab at trying to use Mao's tremendous prestige to help mask their own fascist deed of October 1976, which, in order to succeed, meant undermining, confusing and attempting to neutralize the revolutionary masses who loved and supported both Mao and Chiang Ching.

If Mao, on the other hand, instructed people on his deathbed to help Chiang Ching raise the red flag, it is because he thought she was one of the few left in the top ranks of the CCP who could do so!19
The plain truth is, Mao supported Chiang Ching and she supported and was led by Mao throughout the entire time they made revolution together, though affirming this is not to be naive and pretend such strong unity came without any struggle. But it was struggle to advance the tremendous revolutionary wave they were part of, the historic nature and earthshaking importance of which they both firmly grasped, and for which they assumed great responsibility to lead forward.

When her political enemies and international critics paint her as "without a single virtue" and as plotting out of pure self-interest to "steal Mao's throne", as they say, their main point is that Mao should never have had power anyway.

But close behind is that certainly no woman should dare to stand up tall, to be ambitious one of their big and often-echoed charges against Chiang Ching and have the audacity to fight for revolutionary political power!

And since many are not easily fooled by their logic that revolutionary ambitions to lead and serve the people are a "lost cause", these critics and political enemies with their narrow Me-First outlook try to prove that her ambition was merely "personal". From there it is a short dive to probing into the marriage, and in this the feudal and decadent bourgeois specialists have a lot in common.

With their chauvinist noses they rummage through empty closets looking for dirty laundry, since for them a woman's merits should ultimately be judged on the basis of her individual relations, especially with men.

One thing is no secret. Chiang Ching never had a moment's peace since she married Mao. But personal "peace" was not what Chiang Ching was about. She courageously fought to play a crucial role in the history-making battles shaking China, but she did have to fight to play that role. Undoubtedly in the 1940s and 1950s, Mao's strongly anti-feudal sentiments against the custom of little family fiefdoms becoming centres of power prevented him from personally promoting Chiang Ching within the Party.

While it seems some of the CCP leaders insisted she be kept out of the public eye, as Chiang Ching developed into a revolutionary communist in Yenan, Mao supported her activities and correct line, and years later, very obviously chose to bring Chiang Ching forward to take up leading responsibilities to prepare for what was to develop into the Cultural Revolution. He did this knowing she would face even more trouble and come under direct fire as a public figure defending his political views. It must be said at the same time that he certainly recognized the urgency of bringing more women forward to play leading roles, and overall strongly encouraged this within the Party.

As for Chiang Ching, hers was a lifetime of rebellion and going against the tide of women's oppression against feudalism and tradition, against chauvinism and the "woman's place" in society, against the Confucian sanctity of the home and the hypocritical ritual of blaming the wife for the husband's faults. As the Chairman's wife, this meant endlessly enduring the petty rumour-mongering and backbiting as well as the vicious attacks of his political enemies who dared not directly attack him.

This also had repercussions in their personal lives. On one occasion back in the 1950s these same enemies apparently took advantage of Chiang Ching's absence during a treatment for cancer to take away from her one of Mao's children from a previous marriage whom she raised as her own and had grown especially fond of.[47]

Throughout her political life Chiang Ching forcefully and continuously encouraged women to come forward and struggled with others over this. In the arts she fought against the male-dominated theatre not just the playwrights, directors and musicians, but on the stage itself the actors were all men to bring forward women as proletarian artists, and she wrote and revised revolutionary heroines into the new scripts. A central theme of a number of the model works she led is women throwing off the stifling yoke of the old days to follow the Party's call to take up revolution. One of the first things she eliminated was the degrading feudal tradition of male actors impersonating women. And, in the real-life struggles of the Cultural Revolution, she constantly paid attention to the role the women were playing, and encouraged the advanced to shoulder more responsibilities.

But Chiang Ching also struggled hard on this front within the Party leadership.20 For the CCP was a product of Chinese society emerging overwhelmingly as a force in opposition to its oppressive nature and although qualitatively different and representing the future of total emancipation, it was not entirely free from this overall semi-feudal and colonized social fabric, heavily laden with backward notions on women, the family, and relations between men and women.

These were habits and ideas the Party as a whole fought against and, especially, proved bankrupt by first actively engaging women in the liberation war21 and then, after liberation, by proceeding to tear down oppressive barriers to women participating in production on as equal a footing as possible to men, bringing them into the Party and carrying out political education to develop women cadres and leaders. Men were struggled with ideologically to share household responsibilities. Central eating facilities, nursery schools and child care, for example, were set up to free women from stifling household work as part of the Great Leap Forward and the movement to establish communes.

Formal socialist policies are very important in setting guidelines, but ultimately how fast and how thoroughly the inequalities between men and women can be reduced in the process of building socialism is linked to the revolutionary transformation of people's outlook and to women themselves stepping forward to rebel against the old ways and fighting to bring alive the new and higher forms of "holding up half the sky" that proletarian power for the first time in history makes possible.
At the same time, the question of women developing as leaders in China was closely related to the two-line struggle itself inside the Party.

The revisionists (and bourgeois statesmen, with their Thatchers or Aquinos for that matter) never objected to women leaders who preach enslavement, even the modern variety, and taking the capitalist road, such as Liu Shao-chi's wife, Wang Guang-mei.22 But women leaders who arouse the masses for all-around liberation and not just for superficial bourgeois equality for a minority, that is something else altogether, and that is in no small part the resistance Chiang Ching ran into from the veteran leaders of the Right.

Chiang Ching was a powerful model in this regard. As a communist leader she fought for the cause of total emancipation until she died, and by this alone pulled many women (and men) to their feet. And not just in China. But no one should assume that as a woman, or as Mao Tsetung's wife, this was an easy accomplishment.

Murdered Until Proven Otherwise

Chiang Ching was ripped away from us after fifteen years of enduring the Chinese regime's dungeons. In addition to the foul stench emanating from those in Peking's high quarters who withheld the announcement of her death until the anniversary of the 1989 Tienanmen massacre, three weeks later, is the very suspicious description of this as "suicide". Again relying on Confucian nonsense to try to pass this ancient "tradition" off to the world as an act of final defiance of authority, the regime tried to wash its hands of the whole affair.

Needless to say, their blood-stained hands look ever bloodier, and until proven otherwise, everything points to them as the instruments of Chiang Ching's death. She has never given in to difficult conditions or personal attack and has always fought to drag rats like those running China today into the light of day and to put the question of seizing power back on the table.

Reports of a last "testament" by Chiang Ching, which the regime has apparently tried to deny, claim this is one of its key points. Another one is said to be denouncing them for the Tienanmen massacre and predicting that their rule will be short-lived.

Her suicide is also contested by scholars and other "China watchers", according to reports published in several Hong Kong newspapers.23 For one thing, her daughter Li Na visited her a week before her death, and reported her to be in good health and better spirits than before, partly because she had been moved to relatively more spacious quarters within the prison. Secondly, Chiang Ching's every move was followed on remote control monitors. She had announced she would write an autobiography, according to these sources, and was furious that the authorities had taken away the memoirs she had written. These accounts also make mention of a poem one of her guards recently wrote for her, which excited her and moved her to work on together with him until the prison found out and discharged him back to his home village.

Even in her death, the Chinese rulers had a big problem. A Hong Kong magazine notes the appearance of 16 different protest signs all over Peking, including a slogan posted on the gates of a primary school that read, "Long Live the Victory of Chairman Mao's Revolutionary Line! Down With Deng Xiaoping's Phoney Communist Party!" On the side of a hotel, they reported a military-style portrait of Chiang Ching, with the words, "Chairman Mao, We Will Always Remember You". In what must have resembled stormtroopers trying to stomp out sparks here and there, the Deng Xiaoping police then banned the sale of any books or materials about Chiang Ching, or even old photos, and raids were to be carried out to confiscate any such items. Television and radio were forbidden to play any selections from the revolutionary operas and ballets.[42]

Dare to Be Like Chiang Ching!

The loss of Chiang Ching is a momentous loss: she, who never abandoned Marxism-Leninism Mao Tsetung Thought and in fact lent her life and passion to strengthening it, who confidently and uncompromisingly stood with Mao and with revolution. She was a leader who had represented the international proletariat in power, and gave enormous inspiration and courage to communists and revolutionaries around the world, who also refused to abandon revolution when socialist China was being strangled by the bourgeoisie inside the Communist Party.

In this sense, her stand and that of Chang Chun-chiao's reflected the truth that the Cultural Revolution and the experience in China as a whole had taken world proletarian revolution a twist higher in the spiral of its development. How different from 1956 when Stalin died and no leading CPSU members stepped forward to defend the red flag, to hold it high out of the muck and mire of the Soviet revisionists' seizure of power! And how astute Mao was, encouraging her again just months before his death to strive to take the revolution all the way, knowing that as high as the stakes were, so were the risks.

The role Chiang Ching decided to play should by no means be taken for granted. The history-making epoch she was part of did objectively take revolution higher to the highest peak that the international proletariat has achieved to date. But at the same time individuals can be decisive in furthering or obstructing this cause (or being plain irrelevant). This GPCR produced a Chiang Ching, and a Chiang Ching who did not waver, whose firmness and determination gave inspiration and courage to millions worldwide who watched and judged the revisionist debacle.

A Chiang Ching who ridiculed her jailers, prosecutors and China's ruling counter-revolutionaries and filled even them with awe at her resilience and stand. She threw the political grenade back in their faces, seizing the occasion not to "clear her name" but to expose even more what stuff these revisionists are made of. She became a very dangerous woman for them and for the bourgeoisie in general. The whole world saw an unrepentant communist confess only to the "crime" of following Mao Tsetung to make revolution.

Her life reflects a strategic confidence in the masses and in the ultimate justness and victory of the communist cause, a sense of having given fully to the mounting of the proletariat onto history's stage, even if in this round we were temporarily pulled off that stage.

What attitude one adopts and what role one decides to play in the face of obstacles and even great setbacks can assume qualitative proportions. Whether it is a long-term, spiral-like view of defeating the enemy, or one of compromise to obtain some kind of self-seeking, immediate rewards to avoid death, unpleasant conditions of imprisonment and so forth all this is a crucial reflection of one's attitude towards the science and ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought. Compare Chiang Ching's attitude and responsibility towards the world's oppressed and revolutionary masses, towards the making of history itself, with that of Wang Hung-wen and Yao Wen-yuan, who had made contributions to the Cultural Revolution, but who floundered and crashed ideologically when put to a very crucial test of their class stand and willingness to sacrifice.

The enemy call Chiang Ching an aspiring empress, for their own tyranny and rule thrive on demolishing revolutionary heroism; her outlook was the opposite of that of their bourgeois (and feudal) dynasties. She acted on behalf of the international proletariat and not for herself; she defiantly spit on all the enemy's schemes in order to deflate their arrogance, to reveal the emptiness of their historical cause at a time when disappointment and demoralization in the wake of the enormous loss from the overthrow of the revolution in China was widespread. With confidence, she was heard to remark after the trial, "I have accomplished what I set out to do!"

Comrade Chiang Ching's vision of a society without barbarous class divisions and social inequalities, just like the spectre of the masses consciously wresting political power, in no matter what country, chills the blood of the oppressors everywhere, and they despise her for it. As for the sour and mainly sensationalist chorus of attacks on her from bourgeois journalists and academic mouthpieces, hitched to the fashionable refrain these days of the "collapse" of communism what we have to say is, the contempt is completely mutual! Summing up this historic period that left big scars on an injured bourgeoisie around the world, while enabling the international proletariat to soar to new heights, will continue to be a battle between the two sides. But more than that, we can, and will, scale even greater heights in the years to come.

Like Mao before her, Chiang Ching is not an easy model to live up to, but she has handed the political baton on to us, their successors. She has helped us to raise the red flag.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Harsh Thakor dismisses Avakian's summing up as 'armchair criticism'; he also accuses Avakian of 'idealism'.

First, Avakian is not an armchair critic, he is a revolutionary leader of an exceptional caliber. Secondly, Avakian is not an idealist, but rather Thakor is a dogmatist, who an defends a position rather than sum up the experiences of the first wave of the ICM.