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A journal dedicated to truth, freedom of speech and radical spiritual consciousness. Our mission is the liberation of men and women from oppression, violence and abuse of any kind, interpersonal, political, religious, economic, psychosexual. We believe as Fidel Castro said, "The weapon of today is not guns but consciousness."

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    Malcolm X and Maya Angelou


    Marvin X on Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad

    Marvin  X in Harlem, 1968
    photo Doug Harris 


    Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X influenced my life greatly, one can say I am that I am because of these two men, of which there are no divisions in my heart, I love them both deeply, always have and always shall. Shit happens in revolutions, friends become enemies, enemies become friends, there are no permanent friends, only permanent interests.
    If you were a gambler (and I am not) but if you had to bet on a certain relationship that was successful for 12 years, but when divided, one individual didn't live 12 months, would we not say the twelve years of stability speaks for itself, no matter how rocky it may have been.
    On a deeper level, jealousy and envy kill from within, thus it was almost inevitable that Malcolm's prominence would be challenged by senior officials jockeying for power, authority and influence, add to this the US government's Cointelpro or Counter Intelligence Program. NOI officials were FBI agents, although some confessed and continued working in the NOI. When I went to Chicago underground, 1968, and went to the NOI confessing my sin of fornication, I had to face the top officials, including Supreme Captain Raymond Sharieff, Elijah Muhammad, Jr., John Ali. They gave me time out of the NOI. When I finally arrived in the Bay Area and reconnected with my criminal Muslim brothers, they told me I was a punk motherfucker for confessing anything to those wicked officials. My Muslim brothers were former prisoners who didn't submit to anyone, especially anyone who hadn't spent time in prison. For their attitude, they were called "hypocrite Muslims" because they refused to be pimped and were free thinkers. Any free thinker was considered a hypocrite. The believers were taught to say away from such free thinkers or "hypocrite Muslims" even before Malcolm defected.

    Free thinkers studied the Qur'an, Hadith and Sufi writers such as Rumi, Hazrat Inayat Khan and Ibn Khaldun, to say nothing of the West African Islamic mystics and scholars such as Bamba. His holy city of Touba in Senegal is as sacred as Mecca to West African Muslims. When I was in North Carolina riding in a taxi, I asked the Senegalese driver if he knew of Bamba? He turned around and showed his T-shirt with a picture of Bamba. I then asked him if Bamba was a holy man? He replied, "He was beyond holy!"


    Malcolm's personal relationship with the Honorable Elijah Muhammad was enough to make even the simple minded jealous and his defection and attack on HEM was sufficient for any follower to take him out. Elijah was our father and mother, especially for those who'd never had such. Don't condemn Minister Farrakhan for fanning the flames of Malcolm's assassination. Again, the lowest follower condemned Malcolm for attacking HEM.

    Let us try to understand the trauma and pain in our community at the death of Malcolm, which is like the deathly tensions between Sunni and Shia, especially in the Near East. When Malcolm turned Sunni it created sectarian tensions among North American Africans approaching the level of madness in Iraq, Syria and Pakistan and elsewhere with those dogmatic believers so narrow minded they will kill anyone not professing the orthodox religiosity. As my mystic teacher Sun Ra taught me, "Sometimes you can be so right you wrong!"

    Let us remember the classic master teacher relationship between Rumi and Shams of Tabriz. Shams was murdered by Rumi's jealous students, jealous of his relationship with Master Teacher Shams, thus the Sufi whirl and whirl into states of ecstasy  in mourning with their teacher, Rumi, who whirled and recited poetry in his grief. One of his poetic lines:

    If you come to the garden
    it doesn't matter
    If you don't come to the garden
    it doesn't matter...
    And so I mourn both my teachers, Elijah and Malcolm, love them both no matter what happened between them, shit happens in revolution, get over it and move on to higher ground! Didn't Malcolm tell you the only bloodless revolution is the Negro revolution? And didn't Elijah Muhammad teach all his followers to trust no one? Some of us didn't get the lesson and ain't got it yet. As per Supreme Wisdom, a brother told me, "Yes, I got it but I didn't get it!"


    Master Teacher, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and Malcolm X

    Assassinations happen in all revolutions, betrayal is part of revolution, grow up, study revolution, friends betray each other, long time associates, look at Fidel and Che, Stalin and his friends. Even Noble Drew Ali had problems with friends, jealous, envious. They killed him.
    Elijah ran for seven years from the jealous ones who said they would eat a grain of rice a day until Elijah was killed after he was appointed leader by Master Fard Muhammad. Check out the Mexican revolution, a history of betrayal. The Palestinians kill each other then hug and pray together in the mosque. In my last meeting with Black Panther Party co-founder, Dr. Huey P. Newton (see my play One Day in the Life or the one-act Salaam, Huey Newton, Salaam), I reminded him how Arabs reconcile after internecine war, and wished he and Eldridge Cleaver would come together, but he told me, "We ain't Arabs!" Huey also said, "There's too much blood on the path between me and Eldridge, too many BPP members lost loved ones behind Eldridge's bullshit, so in respect to them, I cannot, will not, reconcile with Eldridge even though, personally, I would like to do so."

    Negroes will hate you forever over two cents, don't hate the white man for inflicting 400 years of slavery, suffering and death down to the present moment.
    In truth, most of us ain't done a damn thing Malcolm or Elijah taught us and don't intend to do a damn thing! When I finally went to prison for refusing to fight in Vietnam (after fleeing into exile twice, Canada, Mexico, Belize), brothers told me inside Federal Prison, Terminal Island, San Pedro, California, a fish factory town, "Marvin, you might think it's stinking fish that you smell but it ain't fish. It's these dead, stinking Negroes and fake ass Muslims! Allah loves a warrior, He hates a coward!" 

    Happy birthday, Malik El Shabazz, Malcolm X

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  • 05/19/16--17:15: Article 0
  • Taken from BLU Magazine Issue 13Yuri Kochiyama from Blue Magazine #13

    Today we honor the birthdays of Ho Chi Minh, Malcolm X, Yuri Kochiyama and Lorraine Hansberry. All were extremely important in their unyielding fight for self-determination, national liberation and against racism in all its forms. We’re happy to have all of their voices contained somewhere in the Freedom Archives along with other archival materials like Ho Chi Minh’s poetry and former political prisoner and member of the Angola 3 Robert King Wilkerson interviewing Yuri Kochiyama. Below are a couple of the many digitized materials we have featuring Malcolm X and Ho Chi Minh.
    An essential component of the Freedom Archives is to preserve and spread the wisdom and lessons of our movement elders. Connecting issues of today with historical content is an important task in building strong, sustainable and inter-generational movements. Your financial support plays a key role in making all this work happen, creating greater access for newer generations to use our materials and helping to broaden their vision for a more just future.
    Ho Chi Minh Speaks to the US Anti-War Movement (in English): http://freedomarchives.org/audio_samples/Viet/Ho%20English.mp3
    Malcolm X on African Liberation: http://freedomarchives.org/audio_samples/Mp3_files/Malcolm%20X.Odinga.AfricanFreedomFighters.mp3
    Supporting the archives is easy.You can send us a check or click here to give online.

    You can also donate by clicking the donate button on our FB page.
    Thanks so much and visit our search site to check out our entire collection.
    --
    Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
    I Remember Yuri
    I remember Yuri
    so kind deferential honorable to me
    Oh, Marvin X, we love you so much she would say
    every time we met
    Marvin, we love you
    for a long time didn't know she held Malcolm X in her arms
    blood running from veins
    didn't know Yuri was there
    holding our Black Shining King, Malik el Shabazz
    love you Yuri
    always and forever.
    Yuri 
    Revolutionary Woman Warrior!
    --Marvin X  
    5/19/16

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  • 05/20/16--06:32: Masonic Signs

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    "America, the Devil don't even want you--you not even suitable for hell!"--Sun Ra


    Happy Birthday Sun Ra

    Herman Poole Blount was born on May 22, 1914 in Birmingham, Alabama, Planet Earth. Sun Ra was interested in music from an early age and by the time he was eleven he was able to sight read and compose music on piano. Growing up in Birmingham allowed him to catch famous Jazz musicians traveling through including Flecther Henderson, Duke Ellington and Fats Waller.

    In his teens Sun Ra was able to listen to a big band perform and go home and write full transcriptions of the performance by ear and also began playing professionally as a teen. At the age of ten Sun Ra joined the Knights of Pythias and would remain with the group through high school.

    This Masonic Lodge provided him to unlimited access to books and their books on Freemasonry and other subjects of the like influenced him heavily. In high school Ra studied with music teacher John T "Fess" Whatley who had a reputation for producing many great musicians. In 1934 Sun Ra began playing professionally full time with a former teacher named Ethel Harper and after she left the group Sun took over and called it the Sonny Blount Orchestra.

    In 1936 Ra was awarded a scholarship to attend Alabama Agriculture and Mechanical University and studied music for one year before having an experience that would change the course of his life.


    In 1937 during deep meditation Sun Ra briefly left this planet and traveled to Saturn and received important information about his path. In his own words, "… my whole body changed into something else. I could see through myself. And I went up … I wasn't in human form … I landed on a planet that I identified as Saturn … they teleported me and I was down on [a] stage with them.

    They wanted to talk with me. They had one little antenna on each ear. A little antenna over each eye. They talked to me. They told me to stop [attending college] because there was going to be great trouble in schools … the world was going into complete chaos … I would speak [through music], and the world would listen. That's what they told me." Following this experience Sun Ra returned to Birmingham and worked frantically within music and reformed the Sonny Blount Orchestra which was well received in the area.

    In the early 1940s Sun Ra was drafted in U.S. Military but was very much against war and killing which led to him being placed in jail for his beliefs. After being released in 1943 Ra returned home before moving north to Chicago.

    In Chicago Ra began working with singer Wynonie Harris and made his recording debut in 1946 on the singles 'Dig This Boogie/Lightning Struck the Poorhouse' and 'My Baby's Barrelhouse/Drinking By Myself'. In 1946 Ra was hired by Fletcher Henderson to play piano and arrange music for the band and in 1948 performed in a trio with Coleman Hawkins and Stuff Smith.

    Living in Chicago also influenced Ra and he was very interested in the city's many Egyptian style buildings and continued educating himself with books like "Stolen Legacy" written by George G.M. James. In 1952 Sun Ra formed the Space Trio with Tommy Hunter and Pat Patrick and also legally changed him name to Le Sony'r Ra. Soon John Gilmore and Marshall Allen would join the band and some other members during this period in Chicago would include James Spaulding, Von Freeman and Julian Priester.

    Also in the 1950s Ra met Alton Abraham who would become his good friend, business manager and shared similar interests and beliefs as Ra. Sun Ra and Abraham also printed pamphlets and would hand them on the street about their beliefs and many of these can be read in the book "The Wisdom of Sun Ra: Sun Ra's Polemical Broadsheets and Streetcorner Leaflets" published in 2006.

    Some of the Arkestra's recordings from the 1950s include 'Sound Sun Pleasure', 'Sun Song', 'Sound of Joy', 'Angels and Demons at Play' and 'We Travel the Spaceways'.


    In 1961 the Arkestra moved to New York City and was able to find a regular gig at Slug's Saloon. This helped spread Sun Ra's popularity and for the most part he was well received. Though Ra would still experience hecklers from time but did receive support and encouragement from some very notable Jazz musicians including Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk. The building the band lived in New York was sold in 1968 and a result they relocated to the Germantown section of Philadelphia and that would be their home base till the end and were known as very good neighbors due to their friendliness and drug free living. Sun Ra was a major influence on the Black Arts Movement and worked with Amiri Baraka's Black Arts Repertory Theatre in Harlem.

    Marvin X performed with him in Harlem and later in Philly. Marvin became a disciple after interviewing Sun Ra for five hours at his Morton Street home.

    Also in '68 Sun Ra toured the West Coast for the first time and even followers of the Greatful Dead would have altering experiences listening to Sun Ra. This tour led to Ra being featured on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine in 1969. The Arkestra began touring Europe in 1970 and was very well received and in 1971 Ra fulfilled one of his dreams by performing with his band at the pyramids in Egypt.

    Also in 1971 Sun Ra was became the artist-in-residence at University of California, Berkeley and taught a course called "The Black Man In the Cosmos." Some of the required reading for this course included the Book of the Dead, Alexander Hislop's The Two Babylons and The Book of Oahspe and the works of Madame Blavatsky and Henry Dumas.

    During his tenure at UC Berkeley, Sun Ra worked at Marvin X's Your Black Educational Theatre in San Francisco's Fillmore District. Sun Ra arranged music for Marvin X's Take Care of Business, the musical version of his first play Flowers for the Trashman.  Marvin was in disbelief when Sun Ra told him he would be lecturing in Black Studies at UC Berkeley, especially since Gov. Ronald Reagan had banned him from teaching at Fresno State University in 1969, the same year he banned Angela Davis from teaching at UCLA. Marvin X was hired to teach journalism and theatre, producing a myth-ritual dance drama entitled Resurrection of the Dead.

    In the mid and late '70s the Arkestra would perform locally in Philadelphia giving free concerts in a local park on the weekends and also had a stint as the house band at the Squat Theater in New York City in 1979.

    Sun Ra and his Arkestra continued playing and recording in the 1980s and 1990s and Ra was well known as a part of Philadelphia by this time. He would often be a guest on local radio and give lectures locally as well. In 1990 Ra suffered a stroke but still continued to compose and perform until leaving this planet in 1993. Sun Ra leaves a legacy on this planet as a visionary artist dedicated beyond all else to convince mankind to face the fact they need to change their destructive and greedy ways as well as repair the self worth of African-Americans after the unimaginable abuse they have been through. Musically, Ra pushed any boundaries into oblivion as his musical imagination could not fit into any type of category or box. Sun Ra was one of the first in Jazz to use electronics and introduce the idea of collective free form improvisation. Ra's music and mythology has inspired so many people to not only develop themselves mentally and physically, but to explore the unknown and evolve spiritually.

    "It's better to deal with the people who have intuition now. You see, they don't know what they're doing. The ones who do know what they're doing, haven't proven anything."
    "Because everything that's unknown is part of the myth. And I'm sure that the myth can do more for humanity than anything they ever dreamed possible." - Sun Ra


    The Differences

    Sometimes in the amazing ignorance
    I hear things and see things
    I never knew I saw and heard before
    Sometimes in the ignorance
    I feel the meaning
    Invincible invisible wisdom,
    And I commune with intuitive instinct
    With the force that made life be
    And since it made life be
    It is greater than life
    And since it let extinction be
    It is greater than extinction.
    I commune with feelings more than
    prayer
    For there is nothing else to ask for
    That companionship is
    And it is superior to any other is.
    Sometimes in my amazing ignorance
    Others see me only as they care to see
    I am to them as they think
    According the standard I should not be
    And that is the difference between I and them
    Because I see them as they are to is
    And not the seeming isness of the was.
    --Sun Ra

    Marvin X on Sun Ra

     
    Happy earth day, Sun Ra, no matter where you are in the spirit world of the universe.You are the Supreme Prophet of First Poet's Church. RA! RA! RA! We forever love you and praise you for teaching us how to submit to leadership or what is also known as discipline. This is the most crucial lesson for North American Africans, learning to submit and thus respect leadership. But of course the leader must be highly disciplined himself, above his carnal nature and focused on his/her spiritual mission, in service of the Creator God.

    All artists, poets, writers, musicians, theatre persons, must learn the Sun Ra method of creative discipline, a holistic approach to life in the arts, how to bring all the genres together into a whole mythological order through creative ritual. And this includes a melting of art and audience, what we called Ritual Theatre. Sun Ra taught us all how to ritualize theatre by breaking down that wall and destroying the comfort of the audience, yet making them one with the myth/ritual moment in time and space.

    Sun Ra demonstrated the eternity of time, beyond the finite into the everlastingness of it all. And so we are indeed the Latter Day Egyptian Revisionists, updating our ancestors for the present time and eternity.
    --Marvin X



     
    Marvin X and Sun Ra outside Marvin's Black Educational Theatre, O'farrel St., between Fillmore and Webster, San Francisco, 1972. The Sun Ra/Marvin X artistic relationship began when Marvin X arrived in Harlem, NY, 1968. Sun Ra is one of the Black Arts Movement founders. He was a member of Amiri Baraka's Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School, Harlem, 1968. Young scholars consider Sun Ra the father of Afro-futurism or Black Si-Fi, Octavia Butler, the mother.

    Sun Ra and Marvin X were teaching in the Black Studies Department, University of California, Berkeley. Sun Ra's UCB lectures are on youtube in four parts, audio only. Sun Ra arranged the musical version of Marvin's first and best known one-act plsy Flowers for the Trashman,(see anthology Black Fire and/or SOS: Black Arts Movement Reader, musical version entitled Take Care of Business (see TDR The Drama Review, 1968). 

    Sun Ra and Marvin produced a five hour concert (without intermission) at San Francisco's Harding Theatre on Divisadero Street, including a cast of 50: BET actors, Sun Ra Arkestra, choreographer Raymond Sawyer's dancers and choreographer Ellendar Barnes's dancers. See San Francisco  Sun Reporter Newspaper review, 1972.

    On May 21-22, 2015, Marvin X participated in the Sun Ra Conference, University of Chicago. He was on the Symposium (see youtube, Sun Ra Conference Symposium). He also participated in the concert with surviving members of the Arkestra and Chicago musicians. The conference was produced by Chicago musician, David Boykin. See Sun Ra's film Space is the Place (filmed in Oakland, CA).


    Left to right: Marshal Allen (band leader, 91 years old, says he's  19 and plays like it),  Danny Thompson of the Sun Ra Arkestra, Marvin X. Back row, author Greg Tate and Professor Ytasha Womack, University of Chicago Sun Ra Conference, May 21-22, 2015.






























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    Greetings all,
    I hope that you are well and we appreciate your attendance at BAMBD town Hall. Below is summary of our time together .  Also if you were one of the people Dr. Ayodele said she needs to speak with, reply to email listing with specific skill set and availability to connect via phone or in person over the next two week.  At the end of the summary are helpful links to learn more about   B.A.M.B.D. The next Town hall is scheduled 6/16/16  3-6 pm @ East Arts Alliance. Please share with your network! Below are next steps before we meet again. 

    1) Write a letter of support on behalf of yourself or organizations/collectives in support of Black Arts Business District (down town Oakland  and Black Cultural Zone in east Oakland.
    2) Join  Black Arts Movement and Business district facebook group
    3)  Write Letter of Support for Community benefits for the development of  14th and Alice parking lot which is  scheduled on the Planning Commission calendar for June 1 (whom to send it to will be coming in the following days)
    4) Register your Business to  B.A.O.B.O.B: Bay Area Organization of Black-Owned Businesses
    B.A.M..B. D TOWN HALL NOTES 5/13
    by Aries Jordan
    On Friday, May 13, Black artists, cultural workers and business owners gathered at the Eastside Arts Alliance for the Black Art Movement Business District Town Hall Meeting.. The organizations represented included Kiss My Black Arts Collective, Cal Shakespeare, BAOBOB - Bay Area Organization of Black Owned Businesses,Betty Ono Gallery  Lower Bottom Playaz, Joyce Gordon Gallery, Reginas Door, 8 Ft Tall, Support Malonga Coalition, Cat Brooks of Anti Police-Terror Project, 57th Street Collective and Uptown Makers Collective. Also present was various Black Culture workers and Artist. 
    The five pillars of B.A.M.B.D were introduced and expanded upon by participants:
    Housing
    Commerce
    Equity for artists
    Proliferation and dissemination of intellectual capital
    Increased access to services
    There was a great deal of excitement about partaking in the building of a community driven Black Cultural Zone and Black Arts Movement Business District. A plethora of ideas were generated under the five pillars to benefit the marginalized ethnic communities and Oakland at large. Community members engaged in productive exchange about what is necessary in building a cultural district and what skills they are willing to contribute.
    Several key people have been identified who have the necessary skills to implement the next steps of Black Arts Movement Business District. Community members voiced concern about city officials and individuals making proprietary decisions about the Black Arts Movement District without community input.
    Recently, a couple of banners were put up in the heart of the district (14th and Franklin Streets) featuring photos of local Black Artist stating “ I love craft” with no mention of the Black Arts Movement Business District.
    In prior meetings the Red, Black and Green flag was requested as the primary banner along with arts and craft vendors in the corridor to inspire entrepreneurship.Other concerns were projects and developments approved prior to the establishment of district that does not incorporate community benefits.
    One project in the BAMBD is the parking lot at 14th and Alice. According to Eric Arnold, "The lot on 14th and Alice has been scheduled on the Planning Commission calendar for June 1, and requested letters of support for community benefits, BAMBD, and the Malonga Center to be submitted to the Commission prior to the meeting. There was a community meeting about this project a few months ago (which was covered in the East Bay Express --- the article is here http://www.eastbayexpress.com/…/plans-unveiled-for-384-new-…
    The town hall concluded with participants pledging to synthesize efforts to fight displacement and write letters of support for the Black Arts Movement District. Letters of support can be sent to BAMBDistrict@gmail.com. The next BAMBD Town Hall Meeting is scheduled for June 16th at Eastside Alliance 3-6pm.
    Eastside Arts Alliance is located at 23rd and International, Oakland.

    Helpful links to lear more about  B.A.M.B.D
    B.A.M.B.Historical sites within  B.A.M.B.D corridor 14th street:
    East Bay  Express: 
    Black Bird Press: 
    http://blackbirdpressnews.blogspot.com/search?q=Black+arts+movement+business+district

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    Even before and certainly after a man deposits his seed in the womb of a woman, he has no rights over the control of her womb and the fruit thereof. Male politicians need to stay out of all issues relating to the body of women. Yes, stick to men's business! You'll be doing great if you can handle men's issues, which is doubtful--alas, you may need the help of women on these issues.

     "Men don't know their asses from a hole in the ground. They must ask their woman, Baby, where's my asshole!" (from the monologue, One Day in the Life, a docudrama by Marvin X)

    "Look, when I jump my pussy jumps, therefore my pussy belongs to me!" --Rashidah Mwongozi Sabreen in The Mythology of Pussy and Dick by Marvin X.



    Donald, I have my own agenda but if I can help a human being, I will do so, so this is my message to you: Make no more statements about women, focus on American issues, international issues and men issues. Leave all statements regarding women to experts on your dream team. You claim you are a winner but you are acting like a loser and you will lose if you alienate women. I know you love women and I love women but your mouth can defy your ass so please shut up on women issues. Men love you because you speak like a man with his nuts out the sand, so don't alienate the women who are with you 100%, such as your wife, children and grandchildren. Again, I am not with you but I am not against you. --Marvin X


    Maestro Marvin X, accompanied by the Black Arts Movement Poets Choir and Arkestra, featuring David Murray and Earle Davis, all three associated with the Sun Ra Arkestra. This performance was at the Malcolm X Jazz/Art Festival, Oakland, 2014. Marvin X is reading Amiri Baraka's poem DOPE. photo Adam Turner


    Dear Donald,

    I write to you as the father of three daughters, six sisters, a mother, three mothers of my children and several women who impacted my life on the most deepest level and I am forever grateful to all the females in my life.

    Most importantly, people who observe me in my private life, say I am most humble when in conversation with my daughters. Indeed, my daughters have taught me humility as per relations with the feminine gender. One reason is because as the father of two sons, one transitioned and one totally alienated, I had to fall back on my daughters for spiritual and emotional support. But much to my surprise, my daughters sent me into shock when I saw their elegance in representing aspects of my personality. It was then that I had to deconstruct my addiction to the patriarchal mythology. I saw my daughters represented every dream I had for my sons. This rocked my patriarchal world to the deepest level, and yet I was  proud of my daughters for representing me and thus continuing the tradition every parent desires of his children, especially when the claim no connection with the family tradition. In truth, the DNA is so strong we continue the family tradition no matter what, yes, often in total ignorance we are carrying on every dream of the ancestors.

    I note that you have two sons who are involved in your world and this is great. I don't know if you have daughters, but if you do, I'm sure you are not keeping them below the glass curtain. As parents, we want the best for our sons and daughters and we never know which of them will assume the authority of our desires because DNA is like that.

    We can see in our deepest dreams our children take up the baton and carry on even though we have never had a conversation on the matter and they assume what they are doing is on their dime rather than ours.

    Most often this is amazing to us when we see they are indeed in the tradition but don't realize it.
    I desire only the best for my daughters. I do not want the glass ceiling to stop them from their life goals and, I must admit, they continue to excel, except one daughter  who is yet excelling but has totally given up on America and its white supremacy mythology. "Dad, Ghana may not have electricity 24/7 but Ghana doesn't have white supremacy 24/7. When I go to a four star hotel, nobody follows me around in Accra. When I go to an expensive store in Accra, nobody follows me around. And I have no desire to raise my daughter in a white supremacy toxic environment. I urge you to join me in Ghana.

    Donald,
    I am not for you or against you--do your thing. But man to man, I suggest you say nothing else about women issues. As I watch you perform on the political stage, I wonder how many times can you shoot yourself in the foot. As I am known as a foot shooter myself, I suggest you back yo ass up a little for your sake and the American people you want to save from perdition.


    I am a revolutionary Black nationalist so I have no problem with you as a white nationalist. Do your thang. As per your building a wall at the border, America has the right to seal her borders. Mexicans have many issues as you have pointed out. I love Mexico and Mexicans because this nation gave me refuge during my exile as a resister to the war in Vietnam in 1970. Not only did Mexico give me refuge, but I was there with brothers and sisters from throughout Latin America, e.g., Cuba, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Columbia and elsewhere. We all are in gratitude for Mexico giving us refuge from US Imperialism. And yet this does not absolve Mexico for the slaughter of students at the University a few months before I arrived in 1970. This does not absolve Mexico for the disappearance of parents who came to the University looking for their children.

    But what about US students who were slaughtered at Kent State and the Orangeburg massacure in South Carolina. Or the brutal, violent and longest student strike in American academic history at San Francisco State University to establish Black Studies and Ethnic Studies.

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    The next Black Arts Movement Business District Town Hall is scheduled for Sunday, June 12/2016, 3-5pm at East Side Arts Alliance.








    Ayodele Nzinga, MFA, Ph. D.
    Executive Producing Director,
    The Lower Bottom Playaz, Inc
    Season17. Ubuntu  
    Collected Acts 8/2016 & Mama at Twilight: Death by Love 1/2017

    Keep Up!

    My culture is the ground on which I stand.

    On Sun, May 22, 2016 at 8:32 PM, Black Arts Movement and Business District <bambdistrict@gmail.com> wrote:
    Greetings all,
    I hope that you are well and we appreciate your attendance at BAMBD town Hall. Below is summary of our time together. Also if you were one of the people Dr. Ayodele said she needs to speak with, reply to email listing with specific skill set and availability to connect via phone or in person over the next two weeks.  At the end of the summary are helpful links to learn more about   B.A.M.B.D. The next Town hall is scheduled 6/12/16  3-6 pm @ East Arts Alliance, 23rd and International Blvd. Please share with your network! Below are next steps before we meet again. 

    1) Write a letter of support on behalf of yourself or organizations/collectives in support of Black Arts Business District (down town Oakland  and Black Cultural Zone in east Oakland.
    2) Join  Black Arts Movement and Business district facebook group
    3)  Write Letter of Support for Community benefits for the development of  14th and Alice parking lot which is  scheduled on the Planning Commission calendar for June 1 (whom to send it to will be coming in the following days)
    4) Register your Business to  B.A.O.B.O.B: Bay Area Organization of Black-Owned Businesses
    BAMBD TOWN HALL NOTES 5/13
    by Aries Jordan
    On Friday, May 13, Black artists, cultural workers and business owners gathered at the Eastside Arts Alliance for the Black Art Movement Business District Town Hall Meeting.. The organizations represented included Kiss My Black Arts Collective, Cal Shakespeare, BAOBOB - Bay Area Organization of Black Owned Businesses,Betty Ono Gallery  Lower Bottom Playaz, Joyce Gordon Gallery, Reginas Door, 8 Ft Tall, Support Malonga Coalition, Cat Brooks of Anti Police-Terror Project, 57th Street Collective and Uptown Makers Collective. Also present was various Black Culture workers and Artist. 
    The five pillars of B.A.M.B.D were introduced and expanded upon by participants:
    Housing
    Commerce
    Equity for artists
    Proliferation and dissemination of intellectual capital
    Increased access to services
    There was a great deal of excitement about partaking in the building of a community driven Black Cultural Zone and Black Arts Movement Business District. A plethora of ideas were generated under the five pillars to benefit the marginalized ethnic communities and Oakland at large. Community members engaged in productive exchange about what is necessary in building a cultural district and what skills they are willing to contribute.
    Several key people have been identified who have the necessary skills to implement the next steps of Black Arts Movement Business District. Community members voiced concern about city officials and individuals making proprietary decisions about the Black Arts Movement District without community input.
    Recently, a couple of banners were put up in the heart of the district (14th and Franklin Streets) featuring photos of local Black Artist stating “ I love craft” with no mention of the Black Arts Movement Business District.
    In prior meetings the Red, Black and Green flag was requested as the primary banner along with arts and craft vendors in the corridor to inspire entrepreneurship.Other concerns were projects and developments approved prior to the establishment of district that does not incorporate community benefits.
    One project in the BAMBD is the parking lot at 14th and Alice. According to Eric Arnold, "The lot on 14th and Alice has been scheduled on the Planning Commission calendar for June 1, and requested letters of support for community benefits, BAMBD, and the Malonga Center to be submitted to the Commission prior to the meeting. There was a community meeting about this project a few months ago (which was covered in the East Bay Express --- the article is here http://www.eastbayexpress.com/…/plans-unveiled-for-384-new-…
    The town hall concluded with participants pledging to synthesize efforts to fight displacement and write letters of support for the Black Arts Movement District. Letters of support can be sent to BAMBDistrict@gmail.com. The next BAMBD Town Hall Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, June 12, at Eastside Alliance 3-6pm.
    Eastside Arts Alliance is located at 23rd and International, Oakland.

    Helpful links to lear more about  B.A.M.B.D
    B.A.M.B.Historical sites within  B.A.M.B.D corridor 14th street:
    East Bay  Express: 
    Black Bird Press: 

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     JUSTICE INITIATIVE
    Note: We hear mostly about Martin Luther King. Jr. in Montgomery, Atlanta, Birmingham, Selma or Washington, DC, but rarely about his international travel. In 1957, Dr. King and his wife Coretta Scott King attended the independence ceremony in Ghana where King met Ghana's new president Kwame Nkrumah; spent time with other American leaders, also attending, such as A. Philip Randolph, Ralph Bunche, Mordecai Johnson, Horace Mann Bond, Senator Charles Diggs, and Congressman Adam Clayton Powell; met Vice President Richard Nixon who was also attending; and then while traveling through London on his way home he meets with Trinidadian scholar C.L.R. James. The degree to which Black Americans and Africans communicated before and particularly after WWII is impressive as Africa and those in the United States attempted to wrench their countries from the oppressive yoke of white supremacy and colonialism. For more information about Dr. King and the civil rights movement please go to the King Papers under the leadership of Dr. Clayborne Carson at Stanford University.

    Heather Gray 
     
    Martin Luther King's Ghana Trip (1957)
    In March 1957, Martin Luther King, Jr., and his wife Coretta Scott King traveled to West Africa to attend Ghana's independence ceremony.  King's voyage was symbolic of a growing global alliance of oppressed peoples and was strategically well timed; his attendance represented an attempt to broaden the scope of the civil rights struggle in the
    President Kwame Nkrumah and Martin Luther King - Ghana 1957
    United States on the heels of the successful Montgomery bus boycott. King identified with Ghana's struggle; furthermore, he recognized a strong parallel between resistance against European colonialism in Africa and the struggle against racism in the United States.

    King was invited to the independence ceremony by Ghana's new Prime Minister, Kwame Nkrumah. King's friend Bayard Rustin coordinated the invitation with the help of Bill Sutherland, a civil rights activist and pacifist who was then working for Nkrumah's finance minister, K. A. Gbedemah. King's trip was funded by the Montgomery Improvement Association and the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, his congregation.

    King arrived in Accra, the Gold Coast (soon to be Ghana), on 4 March and attended a reception where he met Vice President Richard Nixon. King told Nixon, "I want you to come visit us down in Alabama where we are seeking the same kind of freedom the Gold Coast is celebrating" ("M.L. King Meets"). The next day, King attended the ceremonial closing of the old British Parliament. At the ceremony, the recently incarcerated Nkrumah and his ministers wore their prison caps, symbolizing their struggle to win Ghana's freedom. King wrote "When I looked out and saw the prime minister there with his prison cap on that night, that reminded me of that fact, that freedom never comes easy.  It comes through hard labor and it comes through toil" (Papers 4:163).

    At midnight on 6 March, King attended the official ceremony in which the British Union Jack was lowered and the new flag of Ghana was raised and the British colony of the Gold Coast became the independent nation of Ghana. King later recalled,"As we walked out, we noticed all over the polo grounds almost a half a million people. They had waited for this hour and this moment for years" (Papers 4:159).  King's reaction to the Ghanaians' triumph was outwardly emotional. "Before I knew it, I started weeping. I was crying for joy. And I knew about all of the struggles, and all of the pain, and all of the agony that these people had gone through for this moment" (Papers 4:160).

    Also in attendance at the ceremony were many prominent American activists, politicians, and educators: A. Philip Randolph, Ralph Bunche, Mordecai Johnson, Horace Mann Bond, Senator Charles Diggs, and Congressman Adam Clayton Powell. The honor of inclusion in this impressive group indicated King's prominence as a civil rights figure both at home and abroad.

    Interviewed while in Ghana, King told radio listeners, "This event, the birth of this new nation, will give impetus to oppressed peoples all over the world. I think it will have worldwide implications and repercussions--not only for Asia and Africa, but also for America....It renews my conviction in the ultimate triumph of justice. And it seems to me that this is fit testimony to the fact that eventually the forces of justice triumph in the universe, and somehow the universe itself is on the side of freedom and justice. So that this gives new hope to me in the struggle for freedom" (Papers 4:146).

    Despite falling ill for several days, the Kings had a private lunch with Prime Minister Nkrumah and met with anti-apartheid activist and Anglican priest Michael Scott and peace activist Homer Jack. King departed from Ghana for New York by way of Nigeria, Rome, Geneva, Paris and London. In London, the Kings had lunch with Trinidadian writer and political activist C.L. R. James, who was very impressed by the success of the Montgomery bus boycott.

    SOURCES

    Introduction in Papers 4:7-10.

    King, "The Birth of a New Nation," Sermon Delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, 7 April 1957, in Papers 4:155-167.

    King, Interview with Etta Moten Barnett, 6 March 1957, in Papers 4:145-148.

    "M.L. King Meets Nixon in Ghana,"Pittsburgh Courier, 16 March 1957.

    # # #
     

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  • 05/24/16--00:16: Who's Afraid of Communism?



  • Who’s Afraid of Communism?
    Americans have largely forgotten the anti-Communist sentiment from decades past
     Why have Christians allowed Communists to be the Good Samaritans of Latin America?--Eldridge Cleaver

    April 27, 2016- newrepublic.com
    With the Berlin Wall barely a memory and Airbnb in Havana, American anti-communism is probably at its historical nadir. Bernie Sanders has proven the word “socialism” doesn’t scare the next generation; a lot of us even seem to like the idea. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, remembers a different time, when griping about the Reds was an American hobby. She writes fondly about it in her memoir Living History: “We sometimes ice-skated on the Des Plaines River while our fathers warmed themselves over a fire and talked about how the spread of communism was threatening our way of life.” 
    During the April Democratic primary debate, the candidates were asked about NATO, and a curious thing happened. Donald Trump had called for European nations to contribute more to the organization’s budget; Bernie Sanders more or less agreed. But when it came her turn, Hillary Clinton praised NATO, calling it “the most successful military alliance in probably human history.” Neither the moderators or Sanders pressed her on this point, but it’s a bizarre assertion, on par with some of Trump’s goofier statements. In its 67-year history, NATO has conducted a handful of major military operations, all centered on the breakup of Yugoslavia or the (disastrous) American-led War on Terror. The most powerful? Maybe. The most successful? Not a chance.
    The only way anyone could possibly think of NATO as among the most successful military alliances in human history is if they thought NATO won World War II. But NATO was formed in 1949, and World War II ended in 1945. Still, weren’t the Allies a sort of proto-NATO? For millennials in particular, that makes a lot of sense: Forged in the victory over Nazi Germany, the story goes, a group of Western democracies (led by the U.S., U.K., and France) formed a mutual-defense pact to prevent the same thing from happening again. World War I gave us the UN, and its sequel gave us NATO. But anyone over 35 should know this story’s wrong; there’s a character missing.

    The Soviet Union didn’t just help win World War II; they were, by most metrics, the most important player. They lost the most people, 50 times as many as America did. But even in formerly occupied territory, the memory of the USSR’s role seems to be fading along with its monuments. In a post about this particular lapse in historical recollection at Vox—tellingly titled “The successful 70-year campaign to convince people the USA and not the USSR beat Hitler”—Dylan Matthews cites the French blogger Olivier Berruyer’s analysis of poll data. Asked to choose from the U.S., the U.K., and the USSR, 58 percent of French citizens credited America with doing the most to defeat Germany, while 20 percent picked the Soviets. In 1945, with the liberation just complete, those numbers were reversed.
    I imagine that if you asked the average young American what army liberated Auschwitz, they would say ours. Which is wrong, but it’s hard to blame them: Capitalism won, and we’ve moved on to new bogeymen. If you don’t need to warn innocent children away from Soviet seduction, there isn’t much need to tell them about communism at all. We can fill the gaps in the history books with patriotism. 
    Ignoring history, however, won’t make it go away. Without the Soviet threat, the anti-communist barricades are a little understaffed. And with faulty censors, who will stop the culture industry from making communism seem cool? The two most famous Soviets right now are probably Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, the KGB spy stars of the critically acclaimed F/X show The Americans. Despite having been created by a former CIA agent and set in the 1980s, Elizabeth and Philip aren’t the bad guys. They’re the good ones. In Nicaragua, in El Salvador, in South Africa, in Afghanistan, the American government’s policies are portrayed as worth fighting against by any means necessary. It’s a more honest description of the history than Clinton’s, in her memoir. “In the past,” she writes of the Cold War in the Western Hemisphere, “American policy in the region led to the funneling of foreign aid to military juntas that opposed communism and socialism but sometimes repressed their own citizens.”

    Anti-communism has been a powerful force within American politics and culture for over 150 years. In their book The American Slave Coast,Ned and Constance Sublette date its inauguration to the 1850 Nashville convention on Southern secession, when Langdon Cheves, former Speaker of the House and South Carolina congressman, denounced abolitionists as communists:
    What we call the rights of man, or the admission of great masses to the power of self-government, has brought into action the minds of persons utterly unqualified to judge of the subject practically, who have generated the wildest theories…. This agitation has recently reached the United States…, and has brought under its delusions the subject of African slavery in the Southern States. It is of the family of communism, it is the doctrine of Proudhon, that property is a crime.
    Cheves’s speech, the Sublettes write, was no fluke: “Proslavery writers formulated the first generation of American anticommunist rhetoric.” Cheves and co. weren’t wrong: Communists (including Karl Marx) really did want to destroy slavery, but patriotic American history books don’t have room for left-wing internationalism. Anyone involved in creating one of those textbooks grew up in a time when Marxists were the Bad Guys and people who questioned that got in trouble.  
    You might not know it from the history books, but American communism has always been racialized. When Jim Crow laws banned interracial organization, the Communist Party was the only group that dared to flout the rule. In 1932, when the Birmingham, Alabama police went to shut down a Party meeting, a present national guardsman wrote his superior: “The police played their only trump by enforcing a city ordinance for segregation which, of course, is contrary to Communist principles.” Now we tell the story of the Civil Rights Movement within liberal parameters, but everyone who fought for black liberation was called a communist at one time or another, and not always inaccurately. 
    This legacy might be largely forgotten in the United States, but it isn’t gone. President Obama’s deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes toldThe Atlantic that the rapprochement with Cuba began at the funeral for Nelson Mandela, where Obama shared the stage with Raul Castro: 
    We had used the black-and-white version of history to justify Cuba policy that didn’t make much sense; that was far past its expiration date. I think that he had enough of an understanding of history to know that whatever we think about the Cuban government’s political system and human-rights practices that, in fact, when it came to the anti-apartheid movement, they had a place on that dais at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, and he was not going to, essentially, disrespect the legacy of Nelson Mandela by carrying forward that history and snubbing the Cuban president because of our bilateral relationship. 
    Mandela, in addition to being a hero to American liberals, was most likely a member of the Central Committee of the South African Communist Party. And while America was denying that NATO’s attention to the shipping lanes around the South Atlantic had anything to do with supporting apartheid, tiny Cuba was sending tens of thousands of soldiers to fight against white nationalism in Angola on principle. Many historians credit Cuban intervention with delivering the deathblow to apartheid; at the time, TheNew York Times Magazine called the Cuban mission “strange.” If Obama wanted to share the stage with Castro, he had to drop decades of American bullshit.

    The story of communism’s struggle against fascism and white supremacy has been repressed for generations, but this grip on our collective memory is slipping fast. David Simon is planning a series about the Abraham Lincoln Brigade—American leftists who fought against fascism in Spain. Steve McQueen is doing a Paul Robeson biopic, whose 1956 testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee is already the most cinematic thing I’ve ever heard. When asked about his membership in the Party, he invoked the Fifth Amendment (“Loudly”), at great personal cost. “Wherever I’ve been in the world,” he told them, “the first to die in the struggle against fascism were the communists.” 
    A new poll of adults under 30 found that 51 percent “do not support capitalism.” Zach Lustbader, a college senior involved in conducting the poll, told TheWashington Post: “The word ‘capitalism’ doesn’t mean what it used to.” And if capitalism isn’t the Good Guy, young people might go looking for a more nuanced version of the Cold War narrative. Hollywood might even bring it to us first. Without the anti-communist lid, it’s hard to tell what we’ll find, and how the political landscape will change. 
    Hillary Clinton’s shoddy but common recollection can’t withstand a tablespoon of earnest scrutiny. As a new generation of Americans starts digging through the records, we’re going to hear a lot more questions.
    Malcolm Harris is a writer and an editor at The New Inquiry. On Twitter, he’s @bigmeaninternet.



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    Cosby arrives at Pennsylvania court in sex assault case

    By Joseph Ax,Reuters

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     photo Kamau Amen Ra

    Marvin X and Quitta X--yes, she quit me so now we're "just friends"--Charlie Parker tune.
    Somebody said you have to be a friend to have a friend! And how can you be lovers when you're not even friends?


     photo Kamau Amen Ra

    photo Kamau Amen Ra


    You Don't Know Me

    You don't know me
    you had a chance to know me
    before we made love
    you had a chance to know my mind
    understand my fears
    learn about issues
    help me heal some things
    but you wanted to make love
    so you don't know me
    we made love
    but you don't know me
    don't have a clue
    think I'm a good dick
    or you some good tight pussy
    but you don't know me
    and never will now
    because you wanted to make love
    you wanted to get a nut
    we didn't even talk much
    a little bit leading up to sex
    I went along
    I was horny too
    but you don't know me
    and I don't know you
    now we never will
    we blew it forever
    because we made love
    too fast too quick too soon
    now you think you own me
    I can't breathe
    can't talk on the phone to friends
    because we made love
    because I gave you some dick
    you gave me some pussy
    now I'm no longer human
    I'm your love slave
    you my slave
    we're in love but you don't know me
    we gonna get married
    but you don't know me
    we're gonna have children
    but you don't know me
    you're gonna beat my ass
    but you don't know me
    you're going to jail
    but you don't know me
    we're getting a divorce
    but you don't know me
    now we're friends "Just Friends" Charlie Parker tune
    But you don't know me and never will.
    --Marvin X

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    The next Black Arts Movement Business District Town Hall is scheduled for Sunday, June 12/2016, 3-5pm at East Side Arts Alliance, 23rd and International Blvd, Oakland.

    CONTRIBUTORS

    ARIES JORDAN
    DR. AYODELE NZINGA
    LYNETTE MCELHANEY, PRESIDENT, 
    OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL
    ALESSIA BRISBIN
    MARVIN X
    ERIC ARNOLD
    DENISE PATE
    ZAHIEB MWONGOZI
    Mao Tse-Tung
     


      Summary:Black Arts Movement Business District 

    Town Hall Meeting, May 13, 2016

    by Aries Jordan

     Inline image 2

    On Friday, May 13, Black artists, cultural workers and business owners gathered at the Eastside Arts Alliance for the Black Art Movement Business District Town Hall Meeting.. The organizations represented included Kiss My Black Arts Collective, Cal Shakespeare, BAOBOB - Bay Area Organization of Black Owned Businesses,Betty Ono Gallery  Lower Bottom Playaz, Joyce Gordon Gallery, Reginas Door, 8 Ft Tall, Support Malonga Coalition, Cat Brooks of Anti Police-Terror Project, 57th Street Collective and Uptown Makers Collective. Also present was various Black Culture workers and Artist. 
    The five pillars of B.A.M.B.D were introduced and expanded upon by participants:
    Housing
    Commerce
    Equity for artists and cultural workers
    Proliferation and dissemination of intellectual capital
    Increased access to services
    There was a great deal of excitement about partaking in the building of a community driven Black Cultural Zone and Black Arts Movement Business District. A plethora of ideas were generated under the five pillars to benefit the marginalized ethnic communities and Oakland at large. Community members engaged in productive exchange about what is necessary in building a cultural district and what skills they are willing to contribute.
    Several key people have been identified who have the necessary skills to implement the next steps of Black Arts Movement Business District. Community members voiced concern about city officials and individuals making proprietary decisions about the Black Arts Movement District without community input.
    Recently, a couple of banners were put up in the heart of the district (14th and Franklin Streets) featuring photos of local Black Artist stating “ I love craft” with no mention of the Black Arts Movement Business District.
    In prior meetings the Red, Black and Green flag was requested as the primary banner along with arts and craft vendors in the corridor to inspire entrepreneurship.Other concerns were projects and developments approved prior to the establishment of district that does not incorporate community benefits.
    One project in the BAMBD is the parking lot at 14th and Alice. According to Eric Arnold, "The lot on 14th and Alice has been scheduled on the Planning Commission calendar for June 1, and requested letters of support for community benefits, BAMBD, and the Malonga Center to be submitted to the Commission prior to the meeting. There was a community meeting about this project a few months ago (which was covered in the East Bay Express --- the article is here http://www.eastbayexpress.com/…/plans-unveiled-for-384-new-…
    The town hall concluded with participants pledging to synthesize efforts to fight displacement and write letters of support for the Black Arts Movement District. Letters of support can be sent to BAMBDistrict@gmail.com. The next BAMBD Town Hall Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, June 12, 3-6pm at Eastside Arts Alliance, located at 23rd and International, Oakland.

    Helpful links to lear more about  B.A.M.B.D
    B.A.M.B.Historical sites within  B.A.M.B.D corridor 14th street:
    East Bay  Express: 
    Black Bird Press: 

    Dr. Ayodele Nzinga and the 5/13 Town Hall Meeting

    The next Black Arts Movement Business District Town Hall is scheduled for Sunday, June 12/2016, 3-5pm at East Side Arts Alliance.






    Touchstones to be considered as umbrellas to build under

    Housing
    Anti-Displacement
    Preservation
    Additional space
    Land Trust
    Below Market Rate Art and Live space
    City Owned Property (SRO’s and other)
    Engagement with ongoing Development -- Built into future housing.
    Rent Moratorium on Black Cultural Spaces/ Addition to Land Trust

    Commerce
    Creation and support of events unique to area’s intention and cultural designation.
    Micro-lending to support entrepreneurial  endeavors
    Sidewalk vending
    Market Days
    City partner business installed in open venues owned by city where the city contribution is the space at a steeply discounted rate (i.e., $100.00 for a 66-year lease.)
    Create tourism targeted events
    Public performances in public spaces
    Pop-up Art in public spaces
    Plaza performances/ public installations of live art

    Equitable Public Support of Artist and Cultural Workers

    Actively engage in an analysis of Oakland’s cultural funding suggest and lobby for reforms and or enhancements as deemed necessary.
    Resolve issues of funding equity and equality in opportunity recognizing systemic barriers such as annual budget, and the number of volunteers etc.

    Connect to cultural corridor funding and all possible funding -- leave nothing on the table

    Development of Intellectual Capital

    Museum - Community Access
    Library
    Research Centers
    Archives
    Historical Activity
    Out of School Education & Civic Engagement
    Publish, Present, Catalogue, Archive, Disseminate, Exhibit

    Increase Access to Services
    Mental health
    Tutors
    Mentorships
    Internships
    Substance abuse
    Financial guidance
    business /Entrepreneur incubator




    Ayodele Nzinga, MFA, Ph. D.
    Executive Producing Director,
    The Lower Bottom Playaz, Inc
    Season17. Ubuntu  
    Collected Acts 8/2016 & Mama at Twilight: Death by Love 1/2017

    Keep Up!












    Hello all:

    Thank you for the communication.  The City has not established the governing board for the Black Arts Movement and Business District pursuant to the resolution that named the District.  The City Administrator and City Attorney are preparing a report to come back to the Council with legal options and alternatives.  My staff and others in the administration have also begun to explore grants and philanthropy to support the effort.

    In the meanwhile, we recognize that the Black Arts Movement artists and others continue to hold independent community meetings to discuss/brainstorm/plan ideas and independent actions in support of the District.

    As soon as the Administration completes its report, my office will reconvene the Black Culture Keepers meetings that we hosted as part of the community outreach leading up to the adoption of the Resolution.  I am hoping to reconnect no later than July.

    Thanks much, Lynette

     BAMBD co-founder Marvin X and Lynette McElhaney, President, Oakland City Council
    photo Adam Turner

    Alessia Brisbin on upcoming Culture Keepers Meeting, Tuesday, July 26, 6-8pm, Oakland Center Cultural Center, 14th and Adeline

    Good Evening,

    Please save the date for the next Culture Keepers meeting to be held at the Oak Center Cultural Center on Tuesday, July 26th from 6:00pm-8:00pm.

    The Council President would like to take this opportunity to follow-up from the last meeting and identify next steps for the businesses and artists in the corridor.

    I will send out a calendar invitation shortly, please confirm your attendance at your earliest convenience.

    If you have any questions at all please feel free to either call or email me.

    Thank you for your support.

    Best,

    Alessia Brisbin
    Assistant to Council President Lynette Gibson McElhaney




    Notes from Marvin X
    Sunday, May 22, 2016



    We cannot engage in this BMBD project without thinking and planning long term, i.e., for the next 25 to 50 years. I have indicated in my remarks on the Harlem Black Repertory Theatre: how and why it was de-funded by the US government once they saw the radical agenda in the music, plays and poetry, not to mention the internal flaws that included violence (BAM philosopher Larry Neal was shot by psychopathic artists). The death of Baraka’s Harlem project forced him from Harlem back to his native Newark. While in Newark he reconstructed the BART into a cultural center called Spirit House. But Spirit House soon transcended art and culture into the political realm, e.g., a group was formed called The Committee for Unified Newark, if I’m correct. It worked to build housing, economic projects and political engagement.

    As I think about BAMBD and how it can endure for the next 25 to 50 years, it seems to me BAMBD must extend into the political realm. Otherwise, we will be at the whim of reactionary politicians and the black bourgeoisie culture police mortally afraid of “the Movement” and “black power” among other psycholinguistic items in their world of make believe.

    When Baraka and his associates entered Newark politics (of course Amiri Baraka also organized on the national level, e.g., the Congress of African People brought ten thousand people to Gary, Indiana, 1972 for a convention) and eventually got the first black mayor elected, Kenneth Gibson, they immediately discovered they had supported a Trojan house. Baraka told me Gibson had sold out before inauguration day to Newark’s massa Prudential Insurance. So even if and when we enter local politics, we must be ever on the alert not to waste precious time and energy on rats. Baraka continued supporting the black mayors and every one of them was corrupt and did time in jail and/or prison. Finally, his son Ras Baraka, won the mayorship and is doing a job worthy of praise, according to the New York Times and his mother, Amina Baraka, with whom we are in communication with as per lessons BAMBD can learn about art and politics, especially since Newark is a city much like Newark although we doubt Newark is facing the level of gentrification in Oakland.

    BAMBD must consider entering the political arena, electing people to the planning committee, city council, including the mayor’s office. It is not enough to be solely “artists” and cultural workers willing to accept mini grants from the City. I cannot stress enough BAMBD must be an independent entity. We should therefore keep our ties to city hall to a minimum because we cannot assume a positive relationship will not change to negative with the political winds, especially if we don’t have people in positions of political power.

    As per Oakland, OCCUR is an example of what I’m describing. OCCUR, a non-profit organization founded by Paul Cobb, later directed by David Glover (RIP). Under city funding for years, OCCUR is now being de-funded by the city and will probably dissolve as an organization. For sure, after decades as a non-profit organization, OCCUR should be self-sustainable by now rather than facing dissolution due to non-funding by the City of Oakland.

    FYI, we recently heard Black theatre groups in New York City have been de-funded.

    BAMBD must be wise enough to think ahead about all possible pitfalls, from internal flaws to external events and other factors but especially such stinking thinking as getting tied to the umbilical cord of Oakland politricks for an ephemeral ride to nowhere. Think of a billion dollar trust fund, independent and for community benefit, not controlled by city government or individuals.
    —Marvin X


    Eric Arnold To Marvin X
    Tuesday, May 24, 2016

    BAMBD must consider entering the political arena, electing people to the planning committee, city council, including the mayor’s office. It is not enough to be solely “artists” and cultural workers willing to accept mini grants from the City. I cannot stress enough BAMBD must be an independent entity. We should therefore keep our ties to city hall to a minimum because we cannot assume a positive relationship will not change to negative with the political winds, especially if we don’t have people in positions of political power.--MARVIN X


    I agree that BAMBD should be a factor in politics and policy. However, what you are suggesting entails developing a greater, not lesser, relationship with City Hall. The tricky part is maintaining a degree of autonomy, since the reality is that we need City Hall, and we have to show them that they need us. 

    My counsel is not to take an overly-antagonistic stance toward the powers that be, but rather work to become ubiquitous to the process of determining Oakland's future. That means developing a policy platform which is as realistic and pragmatic as it is ambitious and visionary. Romanticizing grassroots efforts may result in failure to cultivate the type of major economic investment which is necessary for BAMBD to be a success. BAMBD should be a $20, $50, $100 million initiative worhty of investment by philanthropic and corporate entities. Not to say that grassroots efforts aren't important, but the game being played now is not for small marbles.

    The most obvious thing is that 5 Council seats are up for re-election in 2016. The election is jsut a few months away. We should be thinking about how to leverage this to further our platform. Also, Planning Commission seats are not elected, but rather appointed.

    Our immediate next-step actions should be establishing a Steering Committee and subcommittees, and generating implementable recommendations, as well as collecting data which makes the case for economic investment as part of a cultural retention strategy. This includes mapping cultural assets as well as economic assets withing the footprint, and negotiating for cultural benefits with any new developments within the footprint. 

    BAMBD needs a Business Improvement District (BID) association.  That’s who paid for the banners that are in Uptown- The Uptown-Lake Merritt Business Association. These BID associations are also nonprofit arms that an apply for grants and other subsidies. It makes it easier to raise funds.  The California Arts Council’s Business District initiative has NO FUNDS attached to it right now.  There is no commitment for funds, so we have to find other means to raise money.  There are granting agencies that give funds to BIDs.

     
    Denise Pate
    Cultural Funding Program, Coordinator
    Cultural Arts & Marketing, Department of Economic and Workforce Development
    City of Oakland
    1 Frank Ogawa Plaza, 9th Floor
    Oakland, CA 94612
    510-238-7561 office
    510-238-6341 office
    dpate@oaklandnet.com




    Welcome to Africa Town: 20 Years After the First Attempt to Create a Black Arts and Cultural District in East Oakland

    You may have noticed three recent occurrences that have me thinking about an idea and strategy I had 20 years ago that Black people in Oakland are still struggling to bring to fruition.

    In 1996-97 I ran a book shop and incense/body oil, African Import and Export shop on 76th and MacArthur Blvd. in Oakland. I learned at the time that the area between 73rd and MacArthur, East to 90th and MacArthur, and North from MacArthur to Bancroft in Oakland, CA had been targeted by the federal government as only ONE OF EIGHT CITIES in the United States designated as an EMPOWERMENT ZONE.

    It was called the E-MAC district also known as the CASTLEMONT CORRIDOR. There were millions of dollars targeted toward the area for development. The difference between an ENTERPRISE ZONE such as the area on San Leandro Blvd. and 85th Avenue, or the enterprise zone on Hegenberger Road which stretches from San Leandro through to the Oakland Airport, is that an EMPOWERMENT ZONE and all of the community development block grant dollars sent to that zone can be used for COMMUNITY AND CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT and not just business development.

    My idea at the time was to establish the area of MacArthur from 73rd to 82nd as an Afro-Carribean themed area. We would all paint the fronts of our stores either red, green,black or gold and the billboard on top of COLOR ME NATURAL would be purchased and state proudly WELCOME TO AFRICA TOWN!

    Now to the three recent occurrences: There was recently a meeting of individuals and groups in East Oakland around the establishing of BAMBD (Black Arts Movement Business District) on May 13,2016, and here will be further town hall style meetings for this, one scheduled in June 13, 2016 at the Eastside Arts Alliance, 2277 International Blvd, Oakland, CA . I am encouraged by this and sure enough, the progenitors of this recent thrust to establish a BAMB district are people who were around me at the time I had the idea to work to form one in 1996.
    One thing to note: There’s no reason to re-invent the wheel. The work to establish the BAMB district along the Castlemont/E-MAC should continue because this area is one OF ONLY EIGHT AREAS IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY designated as an EMPOWERMENT ZONE and there must have been a good reason for that. Keep in mind that Empowerment Zones are certain urban and rural areas where employers and other taxpayers qualify for special tax incentives. This designation alone makes the Castlemont corridor an ideal spot for a BAMB. More importantly, the demographics of this area make it the de facto Africa Town. It is actually the last area that has not been gentrified to the point that so many other Oakland areas have. So think about this area first when considering where to establish a BAMBD.
    However, another recent occurrence that is either a blessing or a curse is the recent fire which gutted the entryway to the E-MAC/Castlemont corridor (See photograph above. This area will now have to be rebuilt. The question is, who will benefit from the rebuilding effort? I’m sure that traditional developers in the city are chomping at the bit to get their paws on the area. Some are already saying that the long term goal of typical Oakland gentrifier-developers may HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH HOW THAT BLAZE GOT STARTED IN THE FIRST PLACE!
    Be that as it may, the destruction of those buildings at the entryway to the corridor is either a blessing or a curse and what will determine either will be which steps are taken to stake a claim for that area. As I have stated above, that claim was staked by me and a few others 20 years ago in 1996. Bill Clinton was president at the time and it was his administration that designated that area as an Empowerment Zone.
    Which brings me to the other occurrence which came to mind. Those millions of dollars targeted to that area WAS NEVER SPENT. If those millions of dollars that were targeted to the area are still there, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton’s wife is running for president. If she is elected, I’m sure she can ask Bill where that money is.



    Marvin X on Black Bourgeoisie Art and Opportunism

     
    The Black Bourgeoisie is known for its opportunism and exploitation of Grass Roots culture or the culture and art of the masses. There is often no mention of Marcus Garvey Movement's critical influence on the Harlem Renaissance by spreading Black consciousness, publishing poetry in his newspaper and otherwise influencing North American art and culture.

    In the 60s, it was the Nation of Islam vie the Honorable Elijah Muhammad that moved us from Negro to so-called Negro to Black to Aboriginal Asiatic Man. Most academic "tenured Negro" scholars focus on Malcolm X as the chief influence on the Black Arts Movement, relegating Elijah Muhammad to a minor role. Alas, who was Malcolm's leader and teacher? This myopia of understanding is partly due to what Harold Cruse called The Crisis of Black Intellectuals (see his book by the same name). This was much more than an intellectual crisis but a spiritual crisis very similar to the grief Shia Muslims over the assassination of their imams, expressed in their ritual of suffering. In short, Black intellectuals and the Black community in general has not recovered from the death of Malcolm X and the role of the Nation of Islam in his murder, although little emphasis is put on the role of the American government in his murder.

    As a result, in intellectual and academic circles, the Nation of Islam's influence is downplayed as per the Black Arts Movement. Sadly, it took a Near Eastern American Islamic scholar, the Syrian Dr. Mohja Kahf, to delineate the fundamental role of the Nation of Islam in the Black Arts Movement and the genre she calls Muslim American literature.

    So we move from the Black Arts Movement's fundamental influence by the Nation of Islam--and its progenitor, the Marcus Garvey Movement, to the Black bourgeoisie's interpretation of Black Art, usually a Miller Lite, World of Make Believe (E. Franklin Frazier's Black Bourgeoisie) version of art, devoid of artists as artistic freedom fighters.

    In the 60s, the government, foundations and corporations, supported their version of Black Art with grants going to such commercial projects as the Negro Ensemble Company. They tolerated the New Lafayette Theatre in Harlem (of which I was a member as associate editor of Black Theatre Magazine). But ultimately the New Lafayette was defunded when it was clear it was only a step above the Black Arts Repertory Theatre founded by LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka. Of course, Black Arts Repertory Theatre was defunded when its message of Black liberation was clear. As we know, Amiri Baraka departed Harlem and returned home to Newark, NJ, and founded Spirit House, the resurrection of the Black Arts Repertory Theatre.

    Meanwhile, the aesthetics of the Black Arts Movement was watered down and opportunists from the movement went commercial, including many BAM actors who moved into film and television, i.e., the Blackexploitation genre that basically persists until today, no matter films such as Malcolm X, Selma, 30 Years A Slave, the Butler, et al.

    There has been no film utilizing the Muslim myth of Yacub, although Amiri Baraka adapted the myth in his drama A Black Mass. The closest we come to a film utilizing original North American African mythology is Sun Ra's Space is the Place. Sun Ra is the Pope of the Black Arts Movement, Amiri Baraka its High Priest. Sun Ra is considered the father of the genre Afro-futurism, Octavia Butler, the mother. We are thankful members of the conscious Hip Hop recognizes Sun Ra but we doubt Hip Hop understands he is the Pope of BAM.

    Although BAM provided the literature (see the anthology Black Fire, edited by Amiri Baraka and Larry Neal), for the Black Power Movement and Black Studies, BAM literature was considered too radical for academia, thus BAM literature was suppressed and those initial radical teachers in Black Studies were removed and replaced by more pliant "tenured Negroes" who remain today. Many now recognize the fundamental contribution of the Black Arts Movement to Black Studies, Gender Studies, Chicano Studies, Native American Studies, et al. "Just don't bring them Black Arts Movement nigguhs to campus. We glad most them nigguhs is dead so they can't tell the truth on our punk asses who only wanted a job with no connection to Civil Rites (Sun Ra term) or Black Liberation. See Cecil Brown's Hey, Dude, What Happened to My Black Studies?

    Ironically, the schizophrenia of the Black Bourgeoisie is evidenced when one visits their homes filled with Black Arts Movement radical art, especially the art of BAM's queen Mother, Elizabeth Catlett Mora. It's truly amazing how the Black Bourgeoisie try to separate her from the Black Arts Movement. Perhaps, very similar to how the Black Bourgeoisie try to separate Gwen Brooks from BAM, although no one can speak of the Chicago BAM without noting the mentoring role of Gwen Brooks (RIP).

    In the modern era, we must note the Atlanta Black Arts Festival is the prime example of the Black Bourgeoisie usurpation of BAM. Initially, the Atlanta Black Arts Festival acknowledged and included members of BAM in the festival, but not of late, it is a full blown Black Bourgeoisie, world of make believe event.


    We suspect Oakland's Black Arts Movement Business District is headed to Black Bourgeoisie heaven, i.e., the world of make believe. After many months, we yet see the Black Liberation flag flying along the 14th Street corridor. We yet see North American African vendors along the streets of the corridor as economic self-sufficiency in the Marcus Garvey/Elijah Muhammad tradition of do for self. We yet see the SRO hotels in the district transferred into land trusts for the members of the district, artists, workers and common people, many of whom live on the precipice of homelessness and dual diagnosis, i., mentally ill and suffering drug abuse as victims of pervasive global white supremacy. Let's be clear, global white supremacy is not all white, alas, it can be Asian, African, Arab, Latin, etc.

    For those who suffer the low information mentally, be informed, BAM was/is a national movement of liberation and shall remain such. The Black Bourgeoisie puppets of globalists, developers and gentrifiers  need to take a hike for the peoples of the world are moving into the corridor of beauty and truth. Ugliness has no place in the movement of beauty and truth.

    We ask you on the 50th anniversary of  the Oakland founded Black Panther Party: are you part of the problem or part of the solution?
    Black Panther Bobby Seale, in a file image in Sacramento, California, while running for a State Assembly seat in May 1968. He's joined by Kathleen Cleaver, wife of Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver, who was shot during a shootout with Oakland police early in 1968.



    Huey Newton meeting Chinese Premier - Chou En Lai



    Black Revolutionaries Mabel Williams,  Robert F. Williams and Chairman Mao Tse-Tung

    TALKS AT THE YENAN FORUM ON LITERATURE AND ART

    Mao Tse-Tung

    May 1942

    INTRODUCTION

    May 2, 1942
    Comrades! You have been invited to this forum today to exchange ideas and examine the relationship between work in the literary and artistic fields and revolutionary work in general. Our aim is to ensure that revolutionary literature and art follow the correct path of development and provide better help to other revolutionary work in facilitating the overthrow of our national enemy and the accomplishment of the task of national liberation.

    In our struggle for the liberation of the Chinese people there are various fronts, among which there are the fronts of the pen and of the gun, the cultural and the military fronts. To defeat the enemy we must rely primarily on the army with guns. But this army alone is not enough; we must also have a cultural army, which is absolutely indispensable for uniting our own ranks and defeating the enemy. Since the May 4th Movement such a cultural army has taken shape in China, and it has helped the Chinese revolution, gradually reduced the domain of China's feudal culture and of the comprador culture which serves imperialist aggression, and weakened their influence. 

    To oppose the new culture the Chinese reactionaries can now only "pit quantity against quality". In other words, reactionaries have money, and though they can produce nothing good, they can go all out and produce in quantity. Literature and art have been an important and successful part of the cultural front since the May 4th Movement. During the ten years' civil war, the revolutionary literature and art movement grew greatly. 

    That movement and the revolutionary war both headed in the same general direction, but these two fraternal armies were not linked together in their practical work because the reactionaries had cut them off from each other. It is very good that since the outbreak of the War of Resistance Against Japan, more and more revolutionary writers and artists have been coming to Yenan and our other anti-Japanese base areas. But it does not necessarily follow that, having come to the base areas, they have already integrated themselves completely with the masses of the people here. The two must be completely integrated if we are to push ahead with our revolutionary work. The purpose of our meeting today is precisely to ensure that literature and art fit well into the whole revolutionary machine as a component part, that they operate as powerful weapons for uniting and educating the people and for attacking and destroying the enemy, and that they help the people fight the enemy with one heart and one mind. What are the problems that must be solved to achieve this objective? I think they are the problems of the class stand of the writers and artists, their attitude, their audience, their work and their study.

    The problem of class stand. Our stand is that of the proletariat and of the masses. For members of the Communist Party, this means keeping to the stand of the Party, keeping to Party spirit and Party policy. Are there any of our literary and art workers who are still mistaken or not clear in their understanding of this problem? I think there are. Many of our comrades have frequently departed from the correct stand.

    The problem of attitude. From one's stand there follow specific attitudes towards specific matters. For instance, is one to extol or to expose? This is a question of attitude. Which attitude is wanted? I would say both. The question is, whom are you dealing with? There are three kinds of persons, the enemy, our allies in the united front and our own people; the last are the masses and their vanguard. We need to adopt a different attitude towards each of the three. With regard to the enemy, that is, Japanese imperialism and all the other enemies of the people, the task of revolutionary writers and artists is to expose their duplicity and cruelty and at the same time to point out the inevitability of their defeat, so as to encourage the anti-Japanese army and people to fight staunchly with one heart and one mind for their overthrow. With regard to our different allies in the united front, our attitude should be one of both alliance and criticism, and there should be different kinds of alliance and different kinds of criticism. We support them in their resistance to Japan and praise them for any achievement. But if they are not active in the War of Resistance, we should criticize them. If anyone opposes the Communist Party and the people and keeps moving down the path of reaction, we will firmly oppose him. As for the masses of the people, their toil and their struggle, their army and their Party, we should certainly praise them. The people, too, have their shortcomings. 

    Among the proletariat many retain petty-bourgeois ideas, while both the peasants and the urban petty bourgeoisie have backward ideas; these are burdens hampering them in their struggle. We should be patient and spend a long time in educating them and helping them to get these loads off their backs and combat their own shortcomings and errors, so that they can advance with great strides. They have remoulded themselves in struggle or are doing so, and our literature and art should depict this process. As long as they do not persist in their errors, we should not dwell on their negative side and consequently make the mistake of ridiculing them or, worse still, of being hostile to them. Our writings should help them to unite, to make progress, to press ahead with one heart and one mind, to discard what is backward and develop what is revolutionary, and should certainly not do the opposite.

    The problem of audience, i.e., the people for whom our works of literature and art are produced. In the Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region and the anti-Japanese base areas of northern and central China, this problem differs from that in the Kuomintang areas, and differs still more from that in Shanghai before the War of Resistance. In the Shanghai period, the audience for works of revolutionary literature and art consisted mainly of a section of the students, office workers and shop assistants. After the outbreak of the War of Resistance the audience in the Kuomintang areas became somewhat wider, but it still consisted mainly of the same kind of people because the government there prevented the workers, peasants and soldiers from having access to revolutionary literature and art. In our base areas the situation is entirely different. Here the audience for works of literature and art consists of workers, peasants, soldiers and revolutionary cadres. There are students in the base areas, too, but they are different from students of the old type; they are either former or future cadres. 

    The cadres of all types, fighters in the army, workers in the factories and peasants in the villages all want to read books and newspapers once they become literate, and those who are illiterate want to see plays and operas, look at drawings and paintings, sing songs and hear music; they are the audience for our works of literature and art. Take the cadres alone. Do not think they are few; they far outnumber the readers of any book published in the Kuomintang areas. There, an edition usually runs to only 2,000 copies, and even three editions add up to only 6,000; but as for the cadres in the base areas, in Yenan alone there are more than 10,000 who read books. Many of them, moreover, are tempered revolutionaries of long standing, who have come from all parts of the country and will go out to work in different places, so it is very important to do educational work among them. Our literary and art workers must do a good job in this respect.

     Since the audience for our literature and art consists of workers, peasants and soldiers and of their cadres, the problem arises of understanding them and knowing them well. A great deal of work has to be done in order to understand them and know them well, to understand and know well all the different kinds of people and phenomena in the Party and government organizations, in the villages and factories and in the Eighth Route and New Fourth Armies. Our writers and artists have their literary and art work to do, but their primary task is to understand people and know them well. In this regard, how have matters stood with our writers and artists? I would say they have been lacking in knowledge and understanding; they have been like "a hero with no place to display his prowess". What does lacking in knowledge mean? Not knowing people well. The writers and artists do not have a good knowledge either of those whom they describe or of their audience; indeed they may hardly know them at all. They do not know the workers or peasants or soldiers well, and do not know the cadres well either. What does lacking in understanding mean? Not understanding the language, that is, not being familiar with the rich, lively language of the masses. 

    Since many writers and artists stand aloof from the masses and lead empty lives, naturally they are unfamiliar with the language of the people. Accordingly, their works are not only insipid in language but often contain nondescript expressions of their own coining which run counter to popular usage. Many comrades like to talk about "a mass style". But what does it really mean? It means that the thoughts and feelings of our writers and artists should be fused with those of the masses of workers, peasants and soldiers. To achieve this fusion, they should conscientiously learn the language of the masses. How can you talk of literary and artistic creation if you find the very language of the masses largely incomprehensible? By "a hero with no place to display his prowess", we mean that your collection of great truths is not appreciated by the masses. The more you put on the airs of a veteran before the masses and play the "hero", the more you try to peddle such stuff to the masses, the less likely they are to accept it. If you want the masses to understand you, if you want to be one with the masses, you must make up your mind to undergo a long and even painful process of tempering. Here I might mention the experience of how my own feelings changed. 

    I began life as a student and at school acquired the ways of a student; I then used to feel it undignified to do even a little manual labour, such as carrying my own luggage in the presence of my fellow students, who were incapable of carrying anything, either on their shoulders or in their hands. At that time I felt that intellectuals were the only clean people in the world, while in comparison workers and peasants were dirty. I did not mind wearing the clothes of other intellectuals, believing them clean, but I would not put on clothes belonging to a worker or peasant, believing them dirty. But after I became a revolutionary and lived with workers and peasants and with soldiers of the revolutionary army, I gradually came to know them well, and they gradually came to know me well too. It was then, and only then, that I fundamentally changed the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois feelings implanted in me in the bourgeois schools. I came to feel that compared with the workers and peasants the unremoulded intellectuals were not clean and that, in the last analysis, the workers and peasants were the cleanest people and, even though their hands were soiled and their feet smeared with cow-dung, they were really cleaner than the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois intellectuals. That is what is meant by a change in feelings, a change from one class to another. If our writers and artists who come from the intelligentsia want their works to be well received by the masses, they must change and remould their thinking and their feelings. Without such a change, without such remoulding, they can do nothing well and will be misfits.

    The last problem is study, by which I mean the study of Marxism-Leninism and of society. Anyone who considers himself a revolutionary Marxist writer, and especially any writer who is a member of the Communist Party, must have a knowledge of Marxism-Leninism. At present, however, some comrades are lacking in the basic concepts of Marxism. For instance, it is a basic Marxist concept that being determines consciousness, that the objective realities of class struggle and national struggle determine our thoughts and feelings. But some of our comrades turn this upside down and maintain that everything ought to start from "love". Now as for love, in a class society there can be only class love; but these comrades are seeking a love transcending classes, love in the abstract and also freedom in the abstract, truth in the abstract, human nature in the abstract, etc. This shows that they have been very deeply influenced by the bourgeoisie. They should thoroughly rid themselves of this influence and modestly study Marxism-Leninism. It is right for writers and artists to study literary and artistic creation, but the science of Marxism-Leninism must be studied by all revolutionaries, writers and artists not excepted. Writers and artists should study society, that is to say, should study the various classes in society, their mutual relations and respective conditions, their physiognomy and their psychology. Only when we grasp all this clearly can we have a literature and art that is rich in content and correct in orientation.

    I am merely raising these problems today by way of introduction; I hope all of you will express your views on these and other relevant problems.

    CONCLUSION

    May 23, 1942
    Comrades! Our forum has had three meetings this month. In the pursuit of truth we have carried on spirited debates in which scores of Party and non-Party comrades have spoken, laying bare the issues and making them more concrete. This, I believe, willvery much benefit the whole literary and artistic movement.

    In discussing a problem, we should start from reality and not from definitions. We would be following a wrong method if we first looked up definitions of literature and art in textbooks and then used them to determine the guiding principles for the present-day literary and artistic movement and to judge the different opinions and controversies that arise today. We are Marxists, and Marxism teaches that in our approach to a problem we should start from objective facts, not from abstract definitions, and that we should derive our guiding principles, policies and measures from an analysis of these facts. We should do the same in our present discussion of literary and artistic work.

    What are the facts at present? The facts are: the War of Resistance Against Japan which China has been fighting for five years; the world-wide anti-fascist war; the vacillations of China's big landlord class and big bourgeoisie in the War of Resistance and their policy of high-handed oppression of the people; the revolutionary movement in literature and art since the May 4th Movement--its great contributions to the revolution during the last twenty-three years and its many shortcomings; the anti-Japanese democratic base areas of the Eighth Route and New Fourth Armies and the integration of large numbers of writers and artists with these armies and with the workers and peasants in these areas; the difference in both environment and tasks between the writers and artists in the base areas and those in the Kuomintang areas; and the controversial issues concerning literature and art which have arisen in Yenan and the other anti-Japanese base areas. These are the actual, undeniable facts in the light of which we have to consider our problems.

    What then is the crux of the matter? In my opinion, it consists fundamentally of the problems of working for the masses and how to work for the masses. Unless these two problems are solved, or solved properly, our writers and artists will be ill-adapted to their environment and their tasks and will come up against a series of difficulties from without and within. My concluding remarks will centre on these two problems and also touch upon some related ones.

    I

    The first problem is: literature and art for whom?
    This problem was solved long ago by Marxists, especially by Lenin. As far back as 1905 Lenin pointed out emphatically that our literature and art should "serve . . . the millions and tens of millions of working people".[1] For comrades engaged in literary and artistic work in the anti-Japanese base areas it might seem that this problem is already solved and needs no further discussion. Actually, that is not the case. Many comrades have not found a clear solution. Consequently their sentiments, their works, their actions and their views on the guiding principles for literature and art have inevitably been more or less at variance with the needs of the masses and of the practical struggle. 

    Of course, among the numerous men of culture, writers, artists and other literary and artistic workers engaged in the great struggle for liberation together with the Communist Party and the Eighth Route and New Fourth Armies, a few may be careerists who are with us only temporarily, but the overwhelming majority are working energetically for the common cause. By relying on these comrades, we have achieved a great deal in our literature, drama, music and fine arts. Many of these writers and artists have begun their work since the outbreak of the War of Resistance; many others did much revolutionary work before the war, endured many hardships and influenced broad masses of the people by their activities and works. Why do we say, then, that even among these comrades there are some who have not reached a clear solution of the problem of whom literature and art are for? Is it conceivable that there are still some who maintain that revolutionary literature and art are not for the masses of the people but for the exploiters and oppressors?

    Indeed literature and art exist which are for the exploiters and oppressors. Literature and art for the landlord class are feudal literature and art. Such were the literature and art of the ruling class in China's feudal era. To this day such literature and art still have considerable influence in China. Literature and art for the bourgeoisie are bourgeois literature and art. People like Liang Shih-chiu, [2] whom Lu Hsun criticized, talk about literature and art as transcending classes, but in fact they uphold bourgeois literature and art and oppose proletarian literature and art. Then literature and art exist which serve the imperialists--for example, the works of Chou Tsojen, Chang Tzu-ping [3] and their like--which we call traitor literature and art. With us, literature and art are for the people, not for any of the above groups. We have said that China's new culture at the present stage is an anti-imperialist, anti-feudal culture of the masses of the people under the leadership of the proletariat. Today, anything that is truly of the masses must necessarily be led by the proletariat. Whatever is under the leadership of the bourgeoisie cannot possibly be of the masses. Naturally, the same applies to the new literature and art which are part of the new culture. We should take over the rich legacy and the good traditions in literature and art that have been handed down from past ages in China and foreign countries, but the aim must still be to serve the masses of the people. Nor do we refuse to utilize the literary and artistic forms of the past, but in our hands these old forms, remoulded and infused with new content, also become something revolutionary in the service of the people.

    Who, then, are the masses of the people? The broadest sections of the people, constituting more than 90 per cent of our total population, are the workers, peasants, soldiers and urban petty bourgeoisie. Therefore, our literature and art are first for the workers, the class that leads the revolution. Secondly, they are for the peasants, the most numerous and most steadfast of our allies in the revolution. Thirdly, they are for the armed workers and peasants, namely, the Eighth Route and New Fourth Armies and the other armed units of the people, which are the main forces of the revolutionary war. Fourthly, they are for the labouring masses of the urban petty bourgeoisie and for the petty-bourgeois intellectuals, both of whom are also our allies in the revolution and capable of long-term co-operation with us. These four kinds of people constitute the overwhelming majority of the Chinese nation, the broadest masses of the people.

    Our literature and art should be for the four kinds of people we have enumerated. To serve them, we must take the class stand of the proletariat and not that of the petty bourgeoisie. Today, writers who cling to an individualist, petty-bourgeois stand cannot truly serve the masses of revolutionary workers, peasants and soldiers. Their interest is mainly focused on the small number of petty-bourgeois intellectuals. This is the crucial reason why some of our comrades cannot correctly solve the problem of "for whom?" In saying this I am not referring to theory. In theory, or in words, no one in our ranks regards the masses of workers, peasants and soldiers as less important than the petty-bourgeois intellectuals. I am referring to practice, to action. In practice, in action, do they regard petty-bourgeois intellectuals as more important than workers, peasants and soldiers? I think they do. 

    Many comrades concern themselves with studying the petty-bourgeois intellectuals and analysing their psychology, and they concentrate on portraying these intellectuals and excusing or defending their shortcomings, instead of guiding the intellectuals to join with them in getting closer to the masses of workers, peasants and soldiers, taking part in the practical struggles of the masses, portraying and educating the masses. Coming from the petty bourgeoisie and being themselves intellectuals, many comrades seek friends only among intellectuals and concentrate on studying and describing them. Such study and description are proper if done from a proletarian position. But that is not what they do, or not what they do fully. They take the petty-bourgeois stand and produce works that are the self-expression of the petty bourgeoisie, as can be seen in quite a number of literary and artistic products. Often they show heartfelt sympathy for intellectuals of petty-bourgeois origin, to the extent of sympathizing with or even praising their shortcomings. On the other hand, these comrades seldom come into contact with the masses of workers, peasants and soldiers, do not understand or study them, do not have intimate friends among them and are not good at portraying them; when they do depict them, the clothes are the clothes of working people but the faces are those of petty-bourgeois intellectuals. In certain respects they are fond of the workers, peasants and soldiers and the cadres stemming from them; but there are times when they do not like them and there are some respects in which they do not like them: they do not like their feelings or their manner or their nascent literature and art (the wall newspapers, murals, folk songs, folk tales, etc.). 

    At times they are fond of these things too, but that is when they are hunting for novelty, for something with which to embellish their own works, or even for certain backward features. At other times they openly despise these things and are partial to what belongs to the petty-bourgeois intellectuals or even to the bourgeoisie. These comrades have their feet planted on the side of the petty-bourgeois intellectuals; or, to put it more elegantly, their innermost soul is still a kingdom of the petty-bourgeois intelligentsia. Thus they have not yet solved, or not yet clearly solved, the problem of "for whom?" This applies not only to newcomers to Yenan; even among comrades who have been to the front and worked for a number of years in our base areas and in the Eighth Route and New Fourth Armies, many have not completely solved this problem. It requires a long period of time, at least eight or ten years, to solve it thoroughly. But however long it takes, solve it we must and solve it unequivocally and thoroughly. Our literary and art workers must accomplish this task and shift their stand; they must gradually move their feet over to the side of the workers, peasants and soldiers, to the side of the proletariat, through the process of going into their very midst and into the thick of practical struggles and through the process of studying Marxism and society. Only in this way can we have a literature and art that are truly for the workers, peasants and soldiers, a truly proletarian literature and art.

    This question of "for whom?" is fundamental; it is a question of principle. The controversies and divergences, the opposition and disunity arising among some comrades in the past were not on this fundamental question of principle but on secondary questions, or even on issues involving no principle. On this question of principle, however, there has been hardly any divergence between the two contending sides and they have shown almost complete agreement; to some extent, both tend to look down upon the workers, peasants and soldiers and divorce themselves from the masses. I say "to some extent" because, generally speaking, these comrades do not look down upon the workers, peasants and soldiers or divorce themselves from the masses in the same way as the Kuomintang does. Nevertheless, the tendency is there. Unless this fundamental problem is solved, many other problems will not be easy to solve. Take, for instance, the sectarianism in literary and art circles. This too is a question of principle, but sectarianism can only be eradicated by putting forward and faithfully applying the slogans, "For the workers and peasants!", "For the Eighth Route and New Fourth Armies!" and "Go among the masses!" Otherwise the problem of sectarianism can never be solved. Lu Hsun once said:

    A common aim is the prerequisite for a united front.... The fact that our front is not united shows that we have not been able to unify our aims, and that some people are working only for small groups or indeed only for themselves. If we all aim at serving the masses of workers and peasants, our front will of course be united.[4]

    The problem existed then in Shanghai; now it exists in Chungking too. In such places the problem can hardly be solved thoroughly, because the rulers oppress the revolutionary writers and artists and deny them the freedom to go out among the masses of workers, peasants and soldiers. Here with us the situation is entirely different. We encourage revolutionary writers and artists to be active in forming intimate contacts with the workers, peasants and soldiers, giving them complete freedom to go among the masses and to create a genuinely revolutionary literature and art. Therefore, here among us the problem is nearing solution. But nearing solution is not the same as a complete and thorough solution. We must study Marxism and study society, as we have been saying, precisely in order to achieve a complete and thorough solution. By Marxism we mean living Marxism which plays an effective role in the life and struggle of the masses, not Marxism in words. With Marxism in words transformed into Marxism in real life, there will be no more sectarianism. Not only will the problem of sectarianism be solved, but many other problems as well.

    II

    Having settled the problem of whom to serve, we come to the next problem, how to serve. To put it in the words of some of our comrades: should we devote ourselves to raising standards, or should we devote ourselves to popularization?

    In the past, some comrades, to a certain or even a serious extent, belittled and neglected popularization and laid undue stress on raising standards. Stress should be laid on raising standards, but to do so one-sidedly and exclusively, to do so excessively, is a mistake. The lack of a clear solution to the problem of "for whom?", which I referred to earlier, also manifests itself in this connection. As these comrades are not clear on the problem of "for whom?", they have no correct criteria for the "raising of standards" and the "popularization" they speak of, and are naturally still less able to find the correct relationship between the two. Since our literature and art are basically for the workers, peasants and soldiers, "popularization" means to popularize among the workers, peasants and soldiers, and "raising standards" means to advance from their present level. 

    What should we popularize among them? Popularize what is needed and can be readily accepted by the feudal landlord class? Popularize what is needed and can be readily accepted by the bourgeoisie? Popularize what is needed and can be readily accepted by the petty-bourgeois intellectuals? No, none of these will do. We must popularize only what is needed and can be readily accepted by the workers, peasants and soldiers themselves. Consequently, prior to the task of educating the workers, peasants and soldiers, there is the task of learning from them. This is even more true of raising standards. There must be a basis from which to raise. Take a bucket of water, for instance; where is it to be raised from if not from the ground? From mid-air? From what basis, then, are literature and art to be raised? From the basis of the feudal classes? From the basis of the bourgeoisie? From the basis of the petty-bourgeois intellectuals? No, not from any of these; only from the basis of the masses of workers, peasants and soldiers. Nor does this mean raising the workers, peasants and soldiers to the "heights" of the feudal classes, the bourgeoisie or the petty-bourgeois intellectuals; it means raising the level of literature and art in the direction in which the workers, peasants and soldiers are themselves advancing, in the direction in which the proletariat is advancing. Here again the task of learning from the workers, peasants and soldiers comes in. Only by starting from the workers, peasants and soldiers can we have a correct understanding of popularization and of the raising of standards and find the proper relationship between the two.


    In the last analysis, what is the source of all literature and art? Works of literature and art, as ideological forms, are products of the reflection in the human brain of the life of a given society. Revolutionary literature and art are the products of the reflection of the life of the people in the brains of revolutionary writers and artists. The life of the people is always a mine of the raw materials for literature and art, materials in their natural form, materials that are crude, but most vital, rich and fundamental; they make all literature and art seem pallid by comparison; they provide literature and art with an inexhaustible source, their only source. They are the only source, for there can be no other. Some may ask, is there not another source in books, in the literature and art of ancient times and of foreign countries? In fact, the literary and artistic works of the past are not a source but a stream; they were created by our predecessors and the foreigners out of the literary and artistic raw materials they found in the life of the people of their time and place. We must take over all the fine things in our literary and artistic heritage, critically assimilate whatever is beneficial, and use them as examples when we create works out of the literary and artistic raw materials in the life of the people of our own time and place. It makes a difference whether or not we have such examples, the difference between crudeness and refinement, between roughness and polish, between a low and a high level, and between slower and faster work. Therefore, we must on no account reject the legacies of the ancients and the foreigners or refuse to learn from them, even though they are the works of the feudal or bourgeois classes. But taking over legacies and using them as examples must never replace our own creative work; nothing can do that. Uncritical transplantation or copying from the ancients and the foreigners is the most sterile and harmful dogmatism in literature and art. 

    China's revolutionary writers and artists, writers and artists of promise, must go among the masses; they must for a long period of time unreservedly and whole-heartedly go among the masses of workers, peasants and soldiers, go into the heat of the struggle, go to the only source, the broadest and richest source, in order to observe, experience, study and analyse all the different kinds of people, all the classes, all the masses, all the vivid patterns of life and struggle, all the raw materials of literature and art. Only then can they proceed to creative work. Otherwise, you will have nothing to work with and you will be nothing but a phoney writer or artist, the kind that Lu Hsun in his will so earnestly cautioned his son never to become.[5]

    Although man's social life is the only source of literature and art and is incomparably livelier and richer in content, the people are not satisfied with life alone and demand literature and art as well. Why? Because, while both are beautiful, life as reflected in works of literature and art can and ought to be on a higher plane, more intense, more concentrated, more typical, nearer the ideal, and therefore more universal than actual everyday life. Revolutionary literature and art should create a variety of characters out of real life and help the masses to propel history forward. For example, there is suffering from hunger, cold and oppression on the one hand, and exploitation and oppression of man by man on the other. These facts exist everywhere and people look upon them as commonplace. Writers and artists concentrate such everyday phenomena, typify the contradictions and struggles within them and produce works which awaken the masses, fire them with enthusiasm and impel them to unite and struggle to transform their environment. Without such literature and art, this task could not be fulfilled, or at least not so effectively and speedily.

    What is meant by popularizing and by raising standards in works of literature and art? What is the relationship between these two tasks? Popular works are simpler and plainer, and therefore more readily accepted by the broad masses of the people today. Works of a higher quality, being more polished, are more difficult to produce and in general do not circulate so easily and quickly among the masses at present. The problem facing the workers, peasants and soldiers is this: they are now engaged in a bitter and bloody struggle with the enemy but are illiterate and uneducated as a result of long years of rule by the feudal and bourgeois classes, and therefore they are eagerly demanding enlightenment, education and works of literature and art which meet their urgent needs and which are easy to absorb, in order to heighten their enthusiasm in struggle and confidence in victory, strengthen their unity and fight the enemy with one heart and one mind. For them the prime need is not "more flowers on the brocade" but "fuel in snowy weather". In present conditions, therefore, popularization is the more pressing task. It is wrong to belittle or neglect popularization.

    Nevertheless, no hard and fast line can be drawn between popularization and the raising of standards. Not only is it possible to popularize some works of higher quality even now, but the cultural level of the broad masses is steadily rising. If popularization remains at the same level for ever, with the same stuff being supplied month after month and year after year, always the same "Little Cowherd"[6] and the same "man, hand, mouth, knife, cow, goat", [7] will not the educators and those being educated be six of one and half a dozen of the other? What would be the sense of such popularization? The people demand popularization and, following that, higher standards; they demand higher standards month by month and year by year. Here popularization means popularizing for the people and raising of standards means raising the level for the people. And such raising is not from mid-air, or behind closed doors, but is actually based on popularization. It is determined by and at the same time guides popularization. In China as a whole the development of the revolution and of revolutionary culture is uneven and their spread is gradual. While in one place there is popularization and then raising of standards on the basis of popularization, in other places popularization has not even begun. Hence good experience in popularization leading to higher standards in one locality can be applied in other localities and serve to guide popularization and the raising of standards there, saving many twists and turns along the road. Internationally, the good experience of foreign countries, and especially Soviet experience, can also serve to guide us. With us, therefore, the raising of standards is based on popularization, while popularization is guided by the raising of standards. Precisely for this reason, so far from being an obstacle to the raising of standards, the work of popularization we are speaking of supplies the basis for the work of raising standards which we are now doing on a limited scale, and prepares the necessary conditions for us to raise standards in the future on a much broader scale.

    Besides such raising of standards as meets the needs of the masses directly, there is the kind which meets their needs indirectly, that is, the kind which is needed by the cadres. The cadres are the advanced elements of the masses and generally have received more education; literature and art of a higher level are entirely necessary for them. To ignore this would be a mistake. Whatever is done for the cadres is also entirely for the masses, because it is only through the cadres that we can educate and guide the masses. If we go against this aim, if what we give the cadres cannot help them educate and guide the masses, our work of raising standards will be like shooting at random and will depart from the fundamental principle of serving the masses of the people.

    To sum up: through the creative labour of revolutionary writers and artists, the raw materials found in the life of the people are shaped into the ideological form of literature and art serving the masses of the people. Included here are the more advanced literature and art as developed on the basis of elementary literature and art and as required by those sections of the masses whose level has been raised, or, more immediately, by the cadres among the masses. Also included here are elementary literature and art which, conversely, are guided by more advanced literature and art and are needed primarily by the overwhelming majority of the masses at present. Whether more advanced or elementary, all our literature and art are for the masses of the people, and in the first place for the workers, peasants and soldiers; they are created for the workers, peasants and soldiers and are for their use.

    Now that we have settled the problem of the relationship between the raising of standards and popularization, that of the relationship between the specialists and the popularizers can also be settled. Our specialists are not only for the cadres, but also, and indeed chiefly, for the masses. Our specialists in literature should pay attention to the wall newspapers of the masses and to the reportage written in the army and the villages. Our specialists in drama should pay attention to the small troupes in the army and the villages. Our specialists in music should pay attention to the songs of the masses. Our specialists in the fine arts should pay attention to the fine arts of the masses. All these comrades should make close contact with comrades engaged in the work of popularizing literature and art among the masses. On the one hand, they should help and guide the popularizers, and on the other, they should learn from these comrades and, through them, draw nourishment from the masses to replenish and enrich themselves so that their specialities do not become "ivory towers", detached from the masses and from reality and devoid of content or life. We should esteem the specialists, for they are very valuable to our cause. But we should tell them that no revolutionary writer or artist can do any meaningful work unless he is closely linked with the masses, gives expression to their thoughts and feelings and serves them as a loyal spokesman. Only by speaking for the masses can he educate them and only by being their pupil can he be their teacher. If he regards himself as their master, as an aristocrat who lords it over the "lower orders", then, no matter how talented he may be, he will not be needed by the masses and his work will have no future.
    Is this attitude of ours utilitarian? Materialists do not oppose utilitarianism in general but the utilitarianism of the feudal, bourgeois and petty-bourgeois classes; they oppose those hypocrites who attack utilitarianism in words but in deeds embrace the most selfish and short-sighted utilitarianism. 

    There is no "ism" in the world that transcends utilitarian considerations; in class society there can be only the utilitarianism of this or that class. We are proletarian revolutionary utilitarians and take as our point of departure the unity of the present and future interests of the broadest masses, who constitute over 90 per cent of the population; hence we are revolutionary utilitarians aiming for the broadest and the most long-range objectives, not narrow utilitarians concerned only with the partial and the immediate. If, for instance, you reproach the masses for their utilitarianism and yet for your own utility, or that of a narrow clique, force on the market and propagandize among the masses a work which pleases only the few but is useless or even harmful to the majority, then you are not only insulting the masses but also revealing your own lack of self-knowledge. A thing is good only when it brings real benefit to the masses of the people. Your work may be as good as "The Spring Snow", but if for the time being it caters only to the few and the masses are still singing the "Song of the Rustic Poor", [8] you will get nowhere by simply scolding them instead of trying to raise their level. The question now is to bring about a unity between "The Spring Snow" and the "Song of the Rustic Poor", between higher standards and popularization. Without such a unity, the highest art of any expert cannot help being utilitarian in the narrowest sense; you may call this art "pure and lofty" but that is merely your own name for it which the masses will not endorse.

    Once we have solved the problems of fundamental policy, of serving the workers, peasants and soldiers and of how to serve them, such other problems as whether to write about the bright or the dark side of life and the problem of unity will also be solved. If everyone agrees on the fundamental policy, it should be adhered to by all our workers, all our schools, publications and organizations in the field of literature and art and in all our literary and artistic activities. It is wrong to depart from this policy and anything at variance with it must be duly corrected.

    III

    Since our literature and art are for the masses of the people, we can proceed to discuss a problem of inner-Party relations, i.e., the relation between the Party's work in literature and art and the Party's work as a whole, and in addition a problem of the Party's external relations, i.e., the relation between the Party's work in literature and art and the work of non-Party people in this field, a problem of the united front in literary and art circles.

    Let us consider the first problem. 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. Proletarian literature and art are part of the whole proletarian revolutionary cause; they are, as Lenin said, cogs and wheels [9] in the whole revolutionary machine. Therefore, Party work in literature and art occupies a definite and assigned position in Party revolutionary work as a whole and is subordinated to the revolutionary tasks set by the Party in a given revolutionary period. Opposition to this arrangement is certain to lead to dualism or pluralism, and in essence amounts to "politics--Marxist, art--bourgeois", as with Trotsky. 

    We do not favour overstressing the importance of literature and art, but neither do we favour underestimating their importance. Literature and art are subordinate to politics, but in their turn exert a great influence on politics. Revolutionary literature and art are part of the whole revolutionary cause, they are cogs and wheels in it, and though in comparison with certain other and more important parts they may be less significant and less urgent and may occupy a secondary position, nevertheless, they are indispensable cogs and wheels in the whole machine, an indispensable part of the entire revolutionary cause. If we had no literature and art even in the broadest and most ordinary sense, we could not carry on the revolutionary movement and win victory. Failure to recognize this is wrong. Furthermore, when we say that literature and art are subordinate to politics, we mean class politics, the politics of the masses, not the politics of a few so-called statesmen. Politics, whether revolutionary or counter-revolutionary, is the struggle of class against class, not the activity of a few individuals. The revolutionary struggle on the ideological and artistic fronts must be subordinate to the political struggle because only through politics can the needs of the class and the masses find expression in concentrated form. Revolutionary statesmen, the political specialists who know the science or art of revolutionary politics, are simply the leaders of millions upon millions of statesmen--the masses. Their task is to collect the opinions of these mass statesmen, sift and refine them, and return them to the masses, who then take them and put them into practice. They are therefore not the kind of aristocratic "statesmen" who work behind closed doors and fancy they have a monopoly of wisdom. Herein lies the difference in principle between proletarian statesmen and decadent bourgeois statesmen. This is precisely why there can be complete unity between the political character of our literary and artistic works and their truthfulness. It would be wrong to fail to realize this and to debase the politics and the statesmen of the proletariat.
    Let us consider next the question of the united front in the world of literature and art. Since literature and art are subordinate to politics and since the fundamental problem in China's politics today is resistance to Japan, our Party writers and artists must in the first place unite on this issue of resistance to Japan with all non-Party writers and artists (ranging from Party sympathizers and petty-bourgeois writers and artists to all those writers and artists of the bourgeois and landlord classes who are in favour of resistance to Japan). Secondly, we should unite with them on the issue of democracy. On this issue there is a section of anti-Japanese writers and artists who do not agree with us, so the range of unity will unavoidably be somewhat more limited. Thirdly, we should unite with them on issues peculiar to the literary and artistic world, questions of method and style in literature and art; here again, as we are for socialist realism and some people do not agree, the range of unity will be narrower still. While on one issue there is unity, on another there is struggle, there is criticism. The issues are at once separate and interrelated, so that even on the very ones which give rise to unity, such as resistance to Japan, there are at the same time struggle and criticism. In a united front, "all unity and no struggle" and "all struggle and no unity" are both wrong policies--as with the Right capitulationism and tailism, or the "Left" exclusivism and sectarianism, practiced by some comrades in the past. This is as true in literature and art as in politics.
    The petty-bourgeois writers and artists constitute an important force among the forces of the united front in literary and art circles in China. There are many shortcomings in both their thinking and their works, but, comparatively speaking, they are inclined towards the revolution and are close to the working people. Therefore, it is an especially important task to help them overcome their shortcomings and to win them over to the front which serves the working people.

    IV

    Literary and art criticism is one of the principal methods of struggle in the world of literature and art. It should be developed and, as comrades have rightly pointed out, our past work in this respect has been quite inadequate. Literary and art criticism is a complex question which requires a great deal of special study. Here I shall concentrate only on the basic problem of criteria in criticism. I shall also comment briefly on a few specific problems raised by some comrades and on certain incorrect views.

    In literary and art criticism there are two criteria, the political and the artistic. According to the political criterion, everything is good that is helpful to unity and resistance to Japan, that encourages the masses to be of one heart and one mind, that opposes retrogression and promotes progress; on the other hand, everything is bad that is detrimental to unity and resistance to Japan, foments dissension and discord among the masses and opposes progress and drags people back. How can we tell the good from the bad--by the motive (the subjective intention) or by the effect (social practice)? Idealists stress motive and ignore effect, while mechanical materialists stress effect and ignore motive. In contradistinction to both, we dialectical materialists insist on the unity of motive and effect. The motive of serving the masses is inseparably linked with the effect of winning their approval; the two must be united. The motive of serving the individual or a small clique is not good, nor is it good to have the motive of serving the masses without the effect of winning their approval and benefiting them. In examining the subjective intention of a writer or artist, that is, whether his motive is correct and good, we do not judge by his declarations but by the effect of his actions (mainly his works) on the masses in society. The criterion for judging subjective intention or motive is social practice and its effect. We want no sectarianism in our literary and art criticism and, subject to the general principle of unity for resistance to Japan, we should tolerate literary and art works with a variety of political attitudes. But at the same time, in our criticism we must adhere firmly to principle and severely criticize and repudiate all works of literature and art expressing views in opposition to the nation, to science, to the masses and to the Communist Party, because these so-called works of literature and art proceed from the motive and produce the effect of undermining unity for resistance to Japan. According to the artistic criterion, all works of a higher artistic quality are good or comparatively good, while those of a lower artistic quality are bad or comparatively bad. Here, too, of course, social effect must be taken into account. There is hardly a writer or artist who does not consider his own work beautiful, and our criticism ought to permit the free competition of all varieties of works of art; but it is also entirely necessary to subject these works to correct criticism according to the criteria of the science of aesthetics, so that art of a lower level can be gradually raised to a higher and art which does not meet the demands of the struggle of the broad masses can be transformed into art that does.

    There is the political criterion and there is the artistic criterion; what is the relationship between the two? Politics cannot be equated with art, nor can a general world outlook be equated with a method of artistic creation and criticism. We deny not only that there is an abstract and absolutely unchangeable political criterion, but also that there is an abstract and absolutely unchangeable artistic criterion; each class in every class society has its own political and artistic criteria. But all classes in all class societies invariably put the political criterion first and the artistic criterion second. The bourgeoisie always shuts out proletarian literature and art, however great their artistic merit. The proletariat must similarly distinguish among the literary and art works of past ages and determine its attitude towards them only after examining their attitude to the people and whether or not they had any progressive significance historically. Some works which politically are downright reactionary may have a certain artistic quality. The more reactionary their content and the higher their artistic quality, the more poisonous they are to the people, and the more necessary it is to reject them. A common characteristic of the literature and art of all exploiting classes in their period of decline is the contradiction between their reactionary political content and their artistic form. What we demand is the unity of politics and art, the unity of content and form, the unity of revolutionary political content and the highest possible perfection of artistic form. Works of art which lack artistic quality have no force, however progressive they are politically. Therefore, we oppose both the tendency to produce works of art with a wrong political viewpoint and the tendency towards the "poster and slogan style" which is correct in political viewpoint but lacking in artistic power. On questions of literature and art we must carry on a struggle on two fronts.

    Both these tendencies can be found in the thinking of many comrades. A good number of comrades tend to neglect artistic technique; it is therefore necessary to give attention to the raising of artistic standards. But as I see it, the political side is more of a problem at present. Some comrades lack elementary political knowledge and consequently have all sorts of muddled ideas. Let me cite a few examples from Yenan.

    "The theory of human nature." Is there such a thing as human nature? Of course there is. But there is only human nature in the concrete, no human nature in the abstract. In class society there is only human nature of a class character; there is no human nature above classes. We uphold the human nature of the proletariat and of the masses of the people, while the landlord and bourgeois classes uphold the human nature of their own classes, only they do not say so but make it out to be the only human nature in existence. The human nature boosted by certain petty-bourgeois intellectuals is also divorced from or opposed to the masses; what they call human nature is in essence nothing but bourgeois individualism, and so, in their eyes, proletarian human nature is contrary to human nature. "The theory of human nature" which some people in Yenan advocate as the basis of their so-called theory of literature and art puts the matter in just this way and is wholly wrong.

    "The fundamental point of departure for literature and art is love, love of humanity." Now love may serve as a point of departure, but there is a more basic one. Love as an idea is a product of objective practice. Fundamentally, we do not start from ideas but from objective practice. Our writers and artists who come from the ranks of the intellectuals love the proletariat because society has made them feel that they and the proletariat share a common fate. We hate Japanese imperialism because Japanese imperialism oppresses us. There is absolutely no such thing in the world as love or hatred with out reason or cause. As for the so-called love of humanity, there has been no such all-inclusive love since humanity was divided into classes. All the ruling classes of the past were fond of advocating it, and so were many so-called sages and wise men, but nobody has ever really practiced it, because it is impossible in class society. There will be genuine love of humanity--after classes are eliminated all over the world. Classes have split society into many antagonistic groupings; there will be love of all humanity when classes are eliminated, but not now. We cannot love enemies, we cannot love social evils, our aim is to destroy them. This is common sense; can it be that some of our writers and artists still do not understand this?

    "Literary and artistic works have always laid equal stress on the bright and the dark, half and half." This statement contains many muddled ideas. It is not true that literature and art have always done this. Many petty-bourgeois writers have never discovered the bright side. Their works only expose the dark and are known as the "literature of exposure". Some of their works simply specialize in preaching pessimism and world-weariness. On the other hand, Soviet literature in the period of socialist construction portrays mainly the bright. It, too, describes shortcomings in work and portrays negative characters, but this only serves as a contrast to bring out the brightness of the whole picture and is not on a so-called half-and-half basis. The writers and artists of the bourgeoisie in its period of reaction depict the revolutionary masses as mobs and themselves as saints, thus reversing the bright and the dark. Only truly revolutionary writers and artists can correctly solve the problem of whether to extol or to expose. All the dark forces harming the masses of the people must be exposed and all the revolutionary struggles of the masses of the people must be extolled; this is the fundamental task of revolutionary writers and artists.

    "The task of literature and art has always been to expose." This assertion, like the previous one, arises from ignorance of the science of history. Literature and art, as we have shown, have never been devoted solely to exposure. For revolutionary writers and artists the targets for exposure can never be the masses, but only the aggressors, exploiters and oppressors and the evil influence they have on the people. The masses too have shortcomings, which should be overcome by criticism and self-criticism within the people's own ranks, and such criticism and self-criticism is also one of the most important tasks of literature and art. But this should not be regarded as any sort of "exposure of the people". As for the people, the question is basically one of education and of raising their level. Only counter-revolutionary writers and artists describe the people as "born fools" and the revolutionary masses as "tyrannical mobs".

    "This is still the period of the satirical essay, and Lu Hsun's style of writing is still needed." Living under the rule of the dark forces and deprived of freedom of speech, Lu Hsun used burning satire and freezing irony, cast in the form of essays, to do battle; and he was entirely right. We, too, must hold up to sharp ridicule the fascists, the Chinese reactionaries and everything that harms the people; but in the Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region and the anti-Japanese base areas behind the enemy lines, where democracy and freedom are granted in full to the revolutionary writers and artists and withheld only from the counter-revolutionaries, the style of the essay should not simply be like Lu Hsun's. Here we can shout at the top of our voices and have no need for veiled and roundabout expressions, which are hard for the people to understand. When dealing with the people and not with their enemies, Lu Hsun never ridiculed or attacked the revolutionary people and the revolutionary Party in his "satirical essay period", and these essays were entirely different in manner from those directed against the enemy. To criticize the people's shortcomings is necessary, as we have already said, but in doing so we must truly take the stand of the people and speak out of whole-hearted eagerness to protect and educate them. To treat comrades like enemies is to go over to the stand of the enemy. Are we then to abolish satire? No. Satire is always necessary. But there are several kinds of satire, each with a different attitude, satire to deal with our enemies, satire to deal with our allies and satire to deal with our own ranks. We are not opposed to satire in general; what we must abolish is the abuse of satire.

    "I am not given to praise and eulogy. The works of people who eulogize what is bright are not necessarily great and the works of those who depict the dark are not necessarily paltry." If you are a bourgeois writer or artist, you will eulogize not the proletariat but the bourgeoisie, and if you are a proletarian writer or artist, you will eulogize not the bourgeoisie but the proletariat and working people: it must be one or the other. The works of the eulogists of the bourgeoisie are not necessarily great, nor are the works of those who show that the bourgeoisie is dark necessarily paltry; the works of the eulogists of the proletariat are not necessarily not great, but the works of those who depict the so-called "darkness" of the proletariat are bound to be paltry--are these not facts of history as regards literature and art? Why should we not eulogize the people, the creators of the history of mankind? Why should we not eulogize the proletariat, the Communist Party, New Democracy and socialism? There is a type of person who has no enthusiasm for the people's cause and looks coldly from the side-lines at the struggles and victories of the proletariat and its vanguard; what he is interested in, and will never weary of eulogizing, is himself, plus perhaps a few figures in his small coterie. Of course, such petty-bourgeois individualists are unwilling to eulogize the deeds and virtues of the revolutionary people or heighten their courage in struggle and their confidence in victory. Persons of this type are merely termites in the revolutionary ranks; of course, the revolutionary people have no need for these "singers".

    "It is not a question of stand; my class stand is correct, my intentions are good and I understand all right, but I am not good at expressing myself and so the effect turns out bad." I have already spoken about the dialectical materialist view of motive and effect. Now I want to ask, is not the question of effect one of stand? A person who acts solely by motive and does not inquire what effect his action will have is like a doctor who merely writes prescriptions but does not care how many patients die of them. Or take a political party which merely makes declarations but does not care whether they are carried out. It may well be asked, is this a correct stand? And is the intention here good? Of course, mistakes may occur even though the effect has been taken into account beforehand, but is the intention good when one continues in the same old rut after facts have proved that the effect is bad? In judging a party or a doctor, we must look at practice, at the effect. The same applies in judging a writer. A person with truly good intentions must take the effect into account, sum up experience and study the methods or, in creative work, study the technique of expression. A person with truly good intentions must criticize the shortcomings and mistakes in his own work with the utmost candour and resolve to correct them. This is precisely why Communists employ the method of self-criticism. This alone is the correct stand. Only in this process of serious and responsible practice is it possible gradually to understand what the correct stand is and gradually obtain a good grasp of it. If one does not move in this direction in practice, if there is simply the complacent assertion that one "understands all right", then in fact one has not understood at all.

    "To call on us to study Marxism is to repeat the mistake of the dialectical materialist creative method, which will harm the creative mood." To study Marxism means to apply the dialectical materialist and historical materialist viewpoint in our observation of the world, of society and of literature and art; it does not mean writing philosophical lectures into our works of literature and art. Marxism embraces but cannot replace realism in literary and artistic creation, just as it embraces but cannot replace the atomic and electronic theories in physics. Empty, dry dogmatic formulas do indeed destroy the creative mood; not only that, they first destroy Marxism. Dogmatic "Marxism" is not Marxism, it is anti-Marxism. Then does not Marxism destroy the creative mood? Yes, it does. It definitely destroys creative moods that are feudal, bourgeois, petty-bourgeois, liberalistic, individualist, nihilist, art-for-art's sake, aristocratic, decadent or pessimistic, and every other creative mood that is alien to the masses of the people and to the proletariat. So far as proletarian writers and artists are concerned, should not these kinds of creative moods be destroyed? I think they should; they should be utterly destroyed. And while they are being destroyed, something new can be constructed.

    V

    The problems discussed here exist in our literary and art circles in Yenan. What does that show? It shows that wrong styles of work still exist to a serious extent in our literary and art circles and that there are still many defects among our comrades, such as idealism, dogmatism, empty illusions, empty talk, contempt for practice and aloofness from the masses, all of which call for an effective and serious campaign of rectification.

    We have many comrades who are still not very clear on the difference between the proletariat and the petty bourgeoisie. There are many Party members who have joined the Communist Party organizationally but have not yet joined the Party wholly or at all ideologically. Those who have not joined the Party ideologically still carry a great deal of the muck of the exploiting classes in their heads, and have no idea at all of what proletarian ideology, or communism, or the Party is. "Proletarian ideology?" they think. "The same old stuff!" Little do they know that it is no easy matter to acquire this stuff. Some will never have the slightest Communist flavour about them as long as they live and can only end up by leaving the Party.

    Therefore, though the majority in our Party and in our ranks are clean and honest, we must in all seriousness put things in order both ideologically and organizationally if we are to develop the revolutionary movement more effectively and bring it to speedier success. To put things in order organizationally requires our first doing so ideologically, our launching a struggle of proletarian ideology against non-proletarian ideology. An ideological struggle is already under way in literary and art circles in Yenan, and it is most necessary. Intellectuals of petty-bourgeois origin always stubbornly try in all sorts of ways, including literary and artistic ways, to project themselves and spread their views, and they want the Party and the world to be remoulded in their own image. In the circumstances it is our duty to jolt these "comrades" and tell them sharply, "That won't work! The proletariat cannot accommodate itself to you; to yield to you would actually be to yield to the big landlord class and the big bourgeoisie and to run the risk of undermining our Party and our country." Whom then must we yield to? We can mould the Party and the world only in the image of the proletarian vanguard. We hope our comrades in literary and art circles will realize the seriousness of this great debate and join actively in this struggle, so that every comrade may become sound and our entire ranks may become truly united and consolidated ideologically and organizationally.
    Because of confusion in their thinking, many of our comrades are not quite able to draw a real distinction between our revolutionary base areas and the Kuomintang areas and they make many mistakes as a consequence. A good number of comrades have come here from the garrets of Shanghai, and in coming from those garrets to the revolutionary base areas, they have passed not only from one kind of place to another but from one historical epoch to another. One society is semi-feudal, semi-colonial, under the rule of the big landlords and big bourgeoisie, the other is a revolutionary new-democratic society under the leadership of the proletariat. To come to the revolutionary bases means to enter an epoch unprecedented in the thousands of years of Chinese history, an epoch in which the masses of the people wield state power. Here the people around us and the audience for our propaganda are totally different. 

    The past epoch is gone, never to return. Therefore, we must integrate ourselves with the new masses without any hesitation. If, living among the new masses, some comrades, as I said before, are still "lacking in knowledge and understanding" and remain "heroes with no place to display their prowess", then difficulties will arise for them, and not only when they go out to the villages; right here in Yenan difficulties will arise for them. Some comrades may think, "Well, I had better continue writing for the readers in the Great Rear Area; [10] it is a job I know well and has 'national significance'." This idea is entirely wrong. The Great Rear Area is also changing. Readers there expect authors in the revolutionary base areas to tell about the new people and the new world and not to bore them with the same old tales. Therefore, the more a work is written for the masses in the revolutionary base areas, the more national significance will it have. Fadeyev in The Debacle [11] only told the story of a small guerrilla unit and had no intention of pandering to the palate of readers in the old world; yet the book has exerted world-wide influence. At any rate in China its influence is very great, as you know. China is moving forward, not back, and it is the revolutionary base areas, not any of the backward, retrogressive areas, that are leading China forward. This is a fundamental issue that, above all, comrades must come to understand in the rectification movement.
    Since integration into the new epoch of the masses is essential, it is necessary thoroughly to solve the problem of the relationship between the individual and the masses. This couplet from a poem by Lu Hsun should be our motto:
    Fierce-browed, I coolly defy a thousand pointing fingers,
    Head-bowed, like a willing ox I serve the children.[12]

    The "thousand pointing fingers" are our enemies, and we will never yield to them, no matter how ferocious. The "children" here symbolize the proletariat and the masses. All Communists, all revolutionaries, all revolutionary literary and art workers should learn from the example of Lu Hsun and be "oxen" for the proletariat and the masses, bending their backs to the task until their dying day. Intellectuals who want to integrate themselves with the masses, who want to serve the masses, must go through a process in which they and the masses come to know each other well. This process may, and certainly will, involve much pain and friction, but if you have the determination, you will be able to fulfil these requirements.

    Today I have discussed only some of the problems of fundamental orientation for our literature and art movement; many specific problems remain which will require further study. I am confident that comrades here are determined to move in the direction indicated.
    I believe that in the course of the rectification movement and in the long period of study and work to come, you will surely be able to bring about a transformation in yourselves and in your works, to create many fine works which will be warmly welcomed by the masses of the people, and to advance the literature and art movement in the revolutionary base areas and throughout China to a glorious new stage.

    NOTES

    1. See V. I. Lenin, "Party Organisation and Party Literature", in which he described the characteristics of proletarian literature as follows:
    It will be a free literature, because the idea of socialism and sympathy with the working people, and not greed or careerism, will bring ever new forces to its ranks. It will be a free literature, because it will serve, not some satiated heroine, not the bored "upper ten thousand" suffering from fatty degeneration, but the millions and tens of millions of working people--the flower of the country, its strength and its future. It will be a free literature, enriching the last word in the revolutionary thought of mankind with the experience and living work of the socialist proletariat, bringing about permanent interaction between the experience of the past (scientific socialism, the completion of the development of socialism from its primitive, utopian forms) and the experience of the present (the present struggle of the worker comrades). (Collected Works, Eng. ed., FLPH, Moscow, 1962, Vol. X, pp. 48-49.)
    2. Liang Shih-chiu, a member of the counter-revolutionary National Socialist Party, for a long time propagated reactionary American bourgeois ideas on literature and art. He stubbornly opposed the revolution and reviled revolutionary literature and art.
    3. Chou Tso-jen and Chang Tzu-ping capitulated to the Japanese aggressors after the Japanese occupied Peking and Shanghai in 1937.
    4. Lu Hsun, "My View on the League of Left-Wing Writers" in the collection Two Hearts, Complete Works, Chin. ed., Vol. IV.
    5. See Lu Hsun's essay, "Death", in the "Addenda", The Last Collection of Essays Written in a Garret in the Quasi-Concession, Complete Works. Chin. ed., Vol. VI.
    6. The "Little Cowherd" is a popular Chinese folk operetta with only two people acting in it, a cowherd and a village girl, who sing a question and answer duet. In the early days of the War of Resistance Against Japan, this form was used, with new words, for anti-Japanese propaganda and for a time found great favour with the public.
    7. The Chinese characters for these six words are written simply, with only a few strokes, and were usually included in the first lessons in old primers.
    8. "The Spring Snow" and the "Song of the Rustic Poor" were songs of the Kingdom of Chu in the 3rd century B.C. The music of the first was on a higher level than that of the second. As the story is told in "Sung Yu's Reply to the King of Chu" in Prince Chao Ming's Anthology of Prose and Poetry, when someone sang "The Spring Snow" in the Chu capital, only a few dozen people joined in, but when the "Song of the Rustic Poor" was sung, thousands did so.
    9. See V. I. Lenin, "Party Organisation and Party Literature": "Literature must become part of the common cause of the proletariat, 'a cog and a screw' of one single great Social-Democratic mechanism set in motion by the entire politically conscious vanguard of the entire working class." (Collected Works, Eng. ea., FLPH, Moscow, I962, Vol. X, p. 45.)
    10. The Great Rear Area was the name given during the War of Resistance to the vast areas under Kuomintang control in southwestern and northwestern China which were not occupied by the Japanese invaders, as distinguished from the "small rear area", the anti-Japanese base areas behind the enemy lines under the leadership of the Communist Party.
    11. The Debacle by the famous Soviet writer Alexander Fadeyev was published in 1927 and translated into Chinese by Lu Hsun. The novel describes the struggle of a partisan detachment of workers, peasants and revolutionary intellectuals in Siberia against the counter-revolutionary brigands during the Soviet civil war.
    12. This couplet is from Lu Hsun's "In Mockery of Myself" in The Collection Outside the Collection, Complete Works,Chin. ed., Vol. VII.


    Contact the Editor: Marvin X, jmarvinx@yahoo.com
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    Exiled Black Revolutionaries Mabel Williams, Robert F. Williams
    (Negroes with Guns) and Chairman Mao Tse-tung in China

    TALKS AT THE YENAN FORUM ON LITERATURE AND ART

    May 1942

    INTRODUCTION

    May 2, 1942
    Comrades! You have been invited to this forum today to exchange ideas and examine the relationship between work in the literary and artistic fields and revolutionary work in general. Our aim is to ensure that revolutionary literature and art follow the correct path of development and provide better help to other revolutionary work in facilitating the overthrow of our national enemy and the accomplishment of the task of national liberation.

    In our struggle for the liberation of the Chinese people there are various fronts, among which there are the fronts of the pen and of the gun, the cultural and the military fronts. To defeat the enemy we must rely primarily on the army with guns. But this army alone is not enough; we must also have a cultural army, which is absolutely indispensable for uniting our own ranks and defeating the enemy. Since the May 4th Movement such a cultural army has taken shape in China, and it has helped the Chinese revolution, gradually reduced the domain of China's feudal culture and of the comprador culture which serves imperialist aggression, and weakened their influence. 

    To oppose the new culture the Chinese reactionaries can now only "pit quantity against quality". In other words, reactionaries have money, and though they can produce nothing good, they can go all out and produce in quantity. Literature and art have been an important and successful part of the cultural front since the May 4th Movement. During the ten years' civil war, the revolutionary literature and art movement grew greatly. 

    That movement and the revolutionary war both headed in the same general direction, but these two fraternal armies were not linked together in their practical work because the reactionaries had cut them off from each other. It is very good that since the outbreak of the War of Resistance Against Japan, more and more revolutionary writers and artists have been coming to Yenan and our other anti-Japanese base areas. But it does not necessarily follow that, having come to the base areas, they have already integrated themselves completely with the masses of the people here. The two must be completely integrated if we are to push ahead with our revolutionary work. The purpose of our meeting today is precisely to ensure that literature and art fit well into the whole revolutionary machine as a component part, that they operate as powerful weapons for uniting and educating the people and for attacking and destroying the enemy, and that they help the people fight the enemy with one heart and one mind. What are the problems that must be solved to achieve this objective? I think they are the problems of the class stand of the writers and artists, their attitude, their audience, their work and their study.

    The problem of class stand. Our stand is that of the proletariat and of the masses. For members of the Communist Party, this means keeping to the stand of the Party, keeping to Party spirit and Party policy. Are there any of our literary and art workers who are still mistaken or not clear in their understanding of this problem? I think there are. Many of our comrades have frequently departed from the correct stand.

    The problem of attitude. From one's stand there follow specific attitudes towards specific matters. For instance, is one to extol or to expose? This is a question of attitude. Which attitude is wanted? I would say both. The question is, whom are you dealing with? There are three kinds of persons, the enemy, our allies in the united front and our own people; the last are the masses and their vanguard. We need to adopt a different attitude towards each of the three. With regard to the enemy, that is, Japanese imperialism and all the other enemies of the people, the task of revolutionary writers and artists is to expose their duplicity and cruelty and at the same time to point out the inevitability of their defeat, so as to encourage the anti-Japanese army and people to fight staunchly with one heart and one mind for their overthrow. With regard to our different allies in the united front, our attitude should be one of both alliance and criticism, and there should be different kinds of alliance and different kinds of criticism. We support them in their resistance to Japan and praise them for any achievement. But if they are not active in the War of Resistance, we should criticize them. If anyone opposes the Communist Party and the people and keeps moving down the path of reaction, we will firmly oppose him. As for the masses of the people, their toil and their struggle, their army and their Party, we should certainly praise them. The people, too, have their shortcomings. 

    Among the proletariat many retain petty-bourgeois ideas, while both the peasants and the urban petty bourgeoisie have backward ideas; these are burdens hampering them in their struggle. We should be patient and spend a long time in educating them and helping them to get these loads off their backs and combat their own shortcomings and errors, so that they can advance with great strides. They have remoulded themselves in struggle or are doing so, and our literature and art should depict this process. As long as they do not persist in their errors, we should not dwell on their negative side and consequently make the mistake of ridiculing them or, worse still, of being hostile to them. Our writings should help them to unite, to make progress, to press ahead with one heart and one mind, to discard what is backward and develop what is revolutionary, and should certainly not do the opposite.

    The problem of audience, i.e., the people for whom our works of literature and art are produced. In the Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region and the anti-Japanese base areas of northern and central China, this problem differs from that in the Kuomintang areas, and differs still more from that in Shanghai before the War of Resistance. In the Shanghai period, the audience for works of revolutionary literature and art consisted mainly of a section of the students, office workers and shop assistants. After the outbreak of the War of Resistance the audience in the Kuomintang areas became somewhat wider, but it still consisted mainly of the same kind of people because the government there prevented the workers, peasants and soldiers from having access to revolutionary literature and art. In our base areas the situation is entirely different. Here the audience for works of literature and art consists of workers, peasants, soldiers and revolutionary cadres. There are students in the base areas, too, but they are different from students of the old type; they are either former or future cadres. 

    The cadres of all types, fighters in the army, workers in the factories and peasants in the villages all want to read books and newspapers once they become literate, and those who are illiterate want to see plays and operas, look at drawings and paintings, sing songs and hear music; they are the audience for our works of literature and art. Take the cadres alone. Do not think they are few; they far outnumber the readers of any book published in the Kuomintang areas. There, an edition usually runs to only 2,000 copies, and even three editions add up to only 6,000; but as for the cadres in the base areas, in Yenan alone there are more than 10,000 who read books. Many of them, moreover, are tempered revolutionaries of long standing, who have come from all parts of the country and will go out to work in different places, so it is very important to do educational work among them. Our literary and art workers must do a good job in this respect.

     Since the audience for our literature and art consists of workers, peasants and soldiers and of their cadres, the problem arises of understanding them and knowing them well. A great deal of work has to be done in order to understand them and know them well, to understand and know well all the different kinds of people and phenomena in the Party and government organizations, in the villages and factories and in the Eighth Route and New Fourth Armies. Our writers and artists have their literary and art work to do, but their primary task is to understand people and know them well. In this regard, how have matters stood with our writers and artists? I would say they have been lacking in knowledge and understanding; they have been like "a hero with no place to display his prowess". What does lacking in knowledge mean? Not knowing people well. The writers and artists do not have a good knowledge either of those whom they describe or of their audience; indeed they may hardly know them at all. They do not know the workers or peasants or soldiers well, and do not know the cadres well either. What does lacking in understanding mean? Not understanding the language, that is, not being familiar with the rich, lively language of the masses. 

    Since many writers and artists stand aloof from the masses and lead empty lives, naturally they are unfamiliar with the language of the people. Accordingly, their works are not only insipid in language but often contain nondescript expressions of their own coining which run counter to popular usage. Many comrades like to talk about "a mass style". But what does it really mean? It means that the thoughts and feelings of our writers and artists should be fused with those of the masses of workers, peasants and soldiers. To achieve this fusion, they should conscientiously learn the language of the masses. How can you talk of literary and artistic creation if you find the very language of the masses largely incomprehensible? By "a hero with no place to display his prowess", we mean that your collection of great truths is not appreciated by the masses. The more you put on the airs of a veteran before the masses and play the "hero", the more you try to peddle such stuff to the masses, the less likely they are to accept it. If you want the masses to understand you, if you want to be one with the masses, you must make up your mind to undergo a long and even painful process of tempering. Here I might mention the experience of how my own feelings changed. 

    I began life as a student and at school acquired the ways of a student; I then used to feel it undignified to do even a little manual labour, such as carrying my own luggage in the presence of my fellow students, who were incapable of carrying anything, either on their shoulders or in their hands. At that time I felt that intellectuals were the only clean people in the world, while in comparison workers and peasants were dirty. I did not mind wearing the clothes of other intellectuals, believing them clean, but I would not put on clothes belonging to a worker or peasant, believing them dirty. But after I became a revolutionary and lived with workers and peasants and with soldiers of the revolutionary army, I gradually came to know them well, and they gradually came to know me well too. It was then, and only then, that I fundamentally changed the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois feelings implanted in me in the bourgeois schools. I came to feel that compared with the workers and peasants the unremoulded intellectuals were not clean and that, in the last analysis, the workers and peasants were the cleanest people and, even though their hands were soiled and their feet smeared with cow-dung, they were really cleaner than the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois intellectuals. That is what is meant by a change in feelings, a change from one class to another. If our writers and artists who come from the intelligentsia want their works to be well received by the masses, they must change and remould their thinking and their feelings. Without such a change, without such remoulding, they can do nothing well and will be misfits.

    The last problem is study, by which I mean the study of Marxism-Leninism and of society. Anyone who considers himself a revolutionary Marxist writer, and especially any writer who is a member of the Communist Party, must have a knowledge of Marxism-Leninism. At present, however, some comrades are lacking in the basic concepts of Marxism. For instance, it is a basic Marxist concept that being determines consciousness, that the objective realities of class struggle and national struggle determine our thoughts and feelings. But some of our comrades turn this upside down and maintain that everything ought to start from "love". Now as for love, in a class society there can be only class love; but these comrades are seeking a love transcending classes, love in the abstract and also freedom in the abstract, truth in the abstract, human nature in the abstract, etc. This shows that they have been very deeply influenced by the bourgeoisie. They should thoroughly rid themselves of this influence and modestly study Marxism-Leninism. It is right for writers and artists to study literary and artistic creation, but the science of Marxism-Leninism must be studied by all revolutionaries, writers and artists not excepted. Writers and artists should study society, that is to say, should study the various classes in society, their mutual relations and respective conditions, their physiognomy and their psychology. Only when we grasp all this clearly can we have a literature and art that is rich in content and correct in orientation.

    I am merely raising these problems today by way of introduction; I hope all of you will express your views on these and other relevant problems.

    CONCLUSION

    May 23, 1942
    Comrades! Our forum has had three meetings this month. In the pursuit of truth we have carried on spirited debates in which scores of Party and non-Party comrades have spoken, laying bare the issues and making them more concrete. This, I believe, willvery much benefit the whole literary and artistic movement.

    In discussing a problem, we should start from reality and not from definitions. We would be following a wrong method if we first looked up definitions of literature and art in textbooks and then used them to determine the guiding principles for the present-day literary and artistic movement and to judge the different opinions and controversies that arise today. We are Marxists, and Marxism teaches that in our approach to a problem we should start from objective facts, not from abstract definitions, and that we should derive our guiding principles, policies and measures from an analysis of these facts. We should do the same in our present discussion of literary and artistic work.

    What are the facts at present? The facts are: the War of Resistance Against Japan which China has been fighting for five years; the world-wide anti-fascist war; the vacillations of China's big landlord class and big bourgeoisie in the War of Resistance and their policy of high-handed oppression of the people; the revolutionary movement in literature and art since the May 4th Movement--its great contributions to the revolution during the last twenty-three years and its many shortcomings; the anti-Japanese democratic base areas of the Eighth Route and New Fourth Armies and the integration of large numbers of writers and artists with these armies and with the workers and peasants in these areas; the difference in both environment and tasks between the writers and artists in the base areas and those in the Kuomintang areas; and the controversial issues concerning literature and art which have arisen in Yenan and the other anti-Japanese base areas. These are the actual, undeniable facts in the light of which we have to consider our problems.

    What then is the crux of the matter? In my opinion, it consists fundamentally of the problems of working for the masses and how to work for the masses. Unless these two problems are solved, or solved properly, our writers and artists will be ill-adapted to their environment and their tasks and will come up against a series of difficulties from without and within. My concluding remarks will centre on these two problems and also touch upon some related ones.

    I

    The first problem is: literature and art for whom?
    This problem was solved long ago by Marxists, especially by Lenin. As far back as 1905 Lenin pointed out emphatically that our literature and art should "serve . . . the millions and tens of millions of working people".[1] For comrades engaged in literary and artistic work in the anti-Japanese base areas it might seem that this problem is already solved and needs no further discussion. Actually, that is not the case. Many comrades have not found a clear solution. Consequently their sentiments, their works, their actions and their views on the guiding principles for literature and art have inevitably been more or less at variance with the needs of the masses and of the practical struggle. 

    Of course, among the numerous men of culture, writers, artists and other literary and artistic workers engaged in the great struggle for liberation together with the Communist Party and the Eighth Route and New Fourth Armies, a few may be careerists who are with us only temporarily, but the overwhelming majority are working energetically for the common cause. By relying on these comrades, we have achieved a great deal in our literature, drama, music and fine arts. Many of these writers and artists have begun their work since the outbreak of the War of Resistance; many others did much revolutionary work before the war, endured many hardships and influenced broad masses of the people by their activities and works. Why do we say, then, that even among these comrades there are some who have not reached a clear solution of the problem of whom literature and art are for? Is it conceivable that there are still some who maintain that revolutionary literature and art are not for the masses of the people but for the exploiters and oppressors?

    Indeed literature and art exist which are for the exploiters and oppressors. Literature and art for the landlord class are feudal literature and art. Such were the literature and art of the ruling class in China's feudal era. To this day such literature and art still have considerable influence in China. Literature and art for the bourgeoisie are bourgeois literature and art. People like Liang Shih-chiu, [2] whom Lu Hsun criticized, talk about literature and art as transcending classes, but in fact they uphold bourgeois literature and art and oppose proletarian literature and art. Then literature and art exist which serve the imperialists--for example, the works of Chou Tsojen, Chang Tzu-ping [3] and their like--which we call traitor literature and art. With us, literature and art are for the people, not for any of the above groups. We have said that China's new culture at the present stage is an anti-imperialist, anti-feudal culture of the masses of the people under the leadership of the proletariat. Today, anything that is truly of the masses must necessarily be led by the proletariat. Whatever is under the leadership of the bourgeoisie cannot possibly be of the masses. Naturally, the same applies to the new literature and art which are part of the new culture. We should take over the rich legacy and the good traditions in literature and art that have been handed down from past ages in China and foreign countries, but the aim must still be to serve the masses of the people. Nor do we refuse to utilize the literary and artistic forms of the past, but in our hands these old forms, remoulded and infused with new content, also become something revolutionary in the service of the people.

    Who, then, are the masses of the people? The broadest sections of the people, constituting more than 90 per cent of our total population, are the workers, peasants, soldiers and urban petty bourgeoisie. Therefore, our literature and art are first for the workers, the class that leads the revolution. Secondly, they are for the peasants, the most numerous and most steadfast of our allies in the revolution. Thirdly, they are for the armed workers and peasants, namely, the Eighth Route and New Fourth Armies and the other armed units of the people, which are the main forces of the revolutionary war. Fourthly, they are for the labouring masses of the urban petty bourgeoisie and for the petty-bourgeois intellectuals, both of whom are also our allies in the revolution and capable of long-term co-operation with us. These four kinds of people constitute the overwhelming majority of the Chinese nation, the broadest masses of the people.

    Our literature and art should be for the four kinds of people we have enumerated. To serve them, we must take the class stand of the proletariat and not that of the petty bourgeoisie. Today, writers who cling to an individualist, petty-bourgeois stand cannot truly serve the masses of revolutionary workers, peasants and soldiers. Their interest is mainly focused on the small number of petty-bourgeois intellectuals. This is the crucial reason why some of our comrades cannot correctly solve the problem of "for whom?" In saying this I am not referring to theory. In theory, or in words, no one in our ranks regards the masses of workers, peasants and soldiers as less important than the petty-bourgeois intellectuals. I am referring to practice, to action. In practice, in action, do they regard petty-bourgeois intellectuals as more important than workers, peasants and soldiers? I think they do. 

    Many comrades concern themselves with studying the petty-bourgeois intellectuals and analysing their psychology, and they concentrate on portraying these intellectuals and excusing or defending their shortcomings, instead of guiding the intellectuals to join with them in getting closer to the masses of workers, peasants and soldiers, taking part in the practical struggles of the masses, portraying and educating the masses. Coming from the petty bourgeoisie and being themselves intellectuals, many comrades seek friends only among intellectuals and concentrate on studying and describing them. Such study and description are proper if done from a proletarian position. But that is not what they do, or not what they do fully. They take the petty-bourgeois stand and produce works that are the self-expression of the petty bourgeoisie, as can be seen in quite a number of literary and artistic products. Often they show heartfelt sympathy for intellectuals of petty-bourgeois origin, to the extent of sympathizing with or even praising their shortcomings. On the other hand, these comrades seldom come into contact with the masses of workers, peasants and soldiers, do not understand or study them, do not have intimate friends among them and are not good at portraying them; when they do depict them, the clothes are the clothes of working people but the faces are those of petty-bourgeois intellectuals. In certain respects they are fond of the workers, peasants and soldiers and the cadres stemming from them; but there are times when they do not like them and there are some respects in which they do not like them: they do not like their feelings or their manner or their nascent literature and art (the wall newspapers, murals, folk songs, folk tales, etc.). 

    At times they are fond of these things too, but that is when they are hunting for novelty, for something with which to embellish their own works, or even for certain backward features. At other times they openly despise these things and are partial to what belongs to the petty-bourgeois intellectuals or even to the bourgeoisie. These comrades have their feet planted on the side of the petty-bourgeois intellectuals; or, to put it more elegantly, their innermost soul is still a kingdom of the petty-bourgeois intelligentsia. Thus they have not yet solved, or not yet clearly solved, the problem of "for whom?" This applies not only to newcomers to Yenan; even among comrades who have been to the front and worked for a number of years in our base areas and in the Eighth Route and New Fourth Armies, many have not completely solved this problem. It requires a long period of time, at least eight or ten years, to solve it thoroughly. But however long it takes, solve it we must and solve it unequivocally and thoroughly. Our literary and art workers must accomplish this task and shift their stand; they must gradually move their feet over to the side of the workers, peasants and soldiers, to the side of the proletariat, through the process of going into their very midst and into the thick of practical struggles and through the process of studying Marxism and society. Only in this way can we have a literature and art that are truly for the workers, peasants and soldiers, a truly proletarian literature and art.

    This question of "for whom?" is fundamental; it is a question of principle. The controversies and divergences, the opposition and disunity arising among some comrades in the past were not on this fundamental question of principle but on secondary questions, or even on issues involving no principle. On this question of principle, however, there has been hardly any divergence between the two contending sides and they have shown almost complete agreement; to some extent, both tend to look down upon the workers, peasants and soldiers and divorce themselves from the masses. I say "to some extent" because, generally speaking, these comrades do not look down upon the workers, peasants and soldiers or divorce themselves from the masses in the same way as the Kuomintang does. Nevertheless, the tendency is there. Unless this fundamental problem is solved, many other problems will not be easy to solve. Take, for instance, the sectarianism in literary and art circles. This too is a question of principle, but sectarianism can only be eradicated by putting forward and faithfully applying the slogans, "For the workers and peasants!", "For the Eighth Route and New Fourth Armies!" and "Go among the masses!" Otherwise the problem of sectarianism can never be solved. Lu Hsun once said:

    A common aim is the prerequisite for a united front.... The fact that our front is not united shows that we have not been able to unify our aims, and that some people are working only for small groups or indeed only for themselves. If we all aim at serving the masses of workers and peasants, our front will of course be united.[4]

    The problem existed then in Shanghai; now it exists in Chungking too. In such places the problem can hardly be solved thoroughly, because the rulers oppress the revolutionary writers and artists and deny them the freedom to go out among the masses of workers, peasants and soldiers. Here with us the situation is entirely different. We encourage revolutionary writers and artists to be active in forming intimate contacts with the workers, peasants and soldiers, giving them complete freedom to go among the masses and to create a genuinely revolutionary literature and art. Therefore, here among us the problem is nearing solution. But nearing solution is not the same as a complete and thorough solution. We must study Marxism and study society, as we have been saying, precisely in order to achieve a complete and thorough solution. By Marxism we mean living Marxism which plays an effective role in the life and struggle of the masses, not Marxism in words. With Marxism in words transformed into Marxism in real life, there will be no more sectarianism. Not only will the problem of sectarianism be solved, but many other problems as well.

    II

    Having settled the problem of whom to serve, we come to the next problem, how to serve. To put it in the words of some of our comrades: should we devote ourselves to raising standards, or should we devote ourselves to popularization?

    In the past, some comrades, to a certain or even a serious extent, belittled and neglected popularization and laid undue stress on raising standards. Stress should be laid on raising standards, but to do so one-sidedly and exclusively, to do so excessively, is a mistake. The lack of a clear solution to the problem of "for whom?", which I referred to earlier, also manifests itself in this connection. As these comrades are not clear on the problem of "for whom?", they have no correct criteria for the "raising of standards" and the "popularization" they speak of, and are naturally still less able to find the correct relationship between the two. Since our literature and art are basically for the workers, peasants and soldiers, "popularization" means to popularize among the workers, peasants and soldiers, and "raising standards" means to advance from their present level. 

    What should we popularize among them? Popularize what is needed and can be readily accepted by the feudal landlord class? Popularize what is needed and can be readily accepted by the bourgeoisie? Popularize what is needed and can be readily accepted by the petty-bourgeois intellectuals? No, none of these will do. We must popularize only what is needed and can be readily accepted by the workers, peasants and soldiers themselves. Consequently, prior to the task of educating the workers, peasants and soldiers, there is the task of learning from them. This is even more true of raising standards. There must be a basis from which to raise. Take a bucket of water, for instance; where is it to be raised from if not from the ground? From mid-air? From what basis, then, are literature and art to be raised? From the basis of the feudal classes? From the basis of the bourgeoisie? From the basis of the petty-bourgeois intellectuals? No, not from any of these; only from the basis of the masses of workers, peasants and soldiers. Nor does this mean raising the workers, peasants and soldiers to the "heights" of the feudal classes, the bourgeoisie or the petty-bourgeois intellectuals; it means raising the level of literature and art in the direction in which the workers, peasants and soldiers are themselves advancing, in the direction in which the proletariat is advancing. Here again the task of learning from the workers, peasants and soldiers comes in. Only by starting from the workers, peasants and soldiers can we have a correct understanding of popularization and of the raising of standards and find the proper relationship between the two.


    In the last analysis, what is the source of all literature and art? Works of literature and art, as ideological forms, are products of the reflection in the human brain of the life of a given society. Revolutionary literature and art are the products of the reflection of the life of the people in the brains of revolutionary writers and artists. The life of the people is always a mine of the raw materials for literature and art, materials in their natural form, materials that are crude, but most vital, rich and fundamental; they make all literature and art seem pallid by comparison; they provide literature and art with an inexhaustible source, their only source. They are the only source, for there can be no other. Some may ask, is there not another source in books, in the literature and art of ancient times and of foreign countries? In fact, the literary and artistic works of the past are not a source but a stream; they were created by our predecessors and the foreigners out of the literary and artistic raw materials they found in the life of the people of their time and place. We must take over all the fine things in our literary and artistic heritage, critically assimilate whatever is beneficial, and use them as examples when we create works out of the literary and artistic raw materials in the life of the people of our own time and place. It makes a difference whether or not we have such examples, the difference between crudeness and refinement, between roughness and polish, between a low and a high level, and between slower and faster work. Therefore, we must on no account reject the legacies of the ancients and the foreigners or refuse to learn from them, even though they are the works of the feudal or bourgeois classes. But taking over legacies and using them as examples must never replace our own creative work; nothing can do that. Uncritical transplantation or copying from the ancients and the foreigners is the most sterile and harmful dogmatism in literature and art. 

    China's revolutionary writers and artists, writers and artists of promise, must go among the masses; they must for a long period of time unreservedly and whole-heartedly go among the masses of workers, peasants and soldiers, go into the heat of the struggle, go to the only source, the broadest and richest source, in order to observe, experience, study and analyse all the different kinds of people, all the classes, all the masses, all the vivid patterns of life and struggle, all the raw materials of literature and art. Only then can they proceed to creative work. Otherwise, you will have nothing to work with and you will be nothing but a phoney writer or artist, the kind that Lu Hsun in his will so earnestly cautioned his son never to become.[5]

    Although man's social life is the only source of literature and art and is incomparably livelier and richer in content, the people are not satisfied with life alone and demand literature and art as well. Why? Because, while both are beautiful, life as reflected in works of literature and art can and ought to be on a higher plane, more intense, more concentrated, more typical, nearer the ideal, and therefore more universal than actual everyday life. Revolutionary literature and art should create a variety of characters out of real life and help the masses to propel history forward. For example, there is suffering from hunger, cold and oppression on the one hand, and exploitation and oppression of man by man on the other. These facts exist everywhere and people look upon them as commonplace. Writers and artists concentrate such everyday phenomena, typify the contradictions and struggles within them and produce works which awaken the masses, fire them with enthusiasm and impel them to unite and struggle to transform their environment. Without such literature and art, this task could not be fulfilled, or at least not so effectively and speedily.

    What is meant by popularizing and by raising standards in works of literature and art? What is the relationship between these two tasks? Popular works are simpler and plainer, and therefore more readily accepted by the broad masses of the people today. Works of a higher quality, being more polished, are more difficult to produce and in general do not circulate so easily and quickly among the masses at present. The problem facing the workers, peasants and soldiers is this: they are now engaged in a bitter and bloody struggle with the enemy but are illiterate and uneducated as a result of long years of rule by the feudal and bourgeois classes, and therefore they are eagerly demanding enlightenment, education and works of literature and art which meet their urgent needs and which are easy to absorb, in order to heighten their enthusiasm in struggle and confidence in victory, strengthen their unity and fight the enemy with one heart and one mind. For them the prime need is not "more flowers on the brocade" but "fuel in snowy weather". In present conditions, therefore, popularization is the more pressing task. It is wrong to belittle or neglect popularization.

    Nevertheless, no hard and fast line can be drawn between popularization and the raising of standards. Not only is it possible to popularize some works of higher quality even now, but the cultural level of the broad masses is steadily rising. If popularization remains at the same level for ever, with the same stuff being supplied month after month and year after year, always the same "Little Cowherd"[6] and the same "man, hand, mouth, knife, cow, goat", [7] will not the educators and those being educated be six of one and half a dozen of the other? What would be the sense of such popularization? The people demand popularization and, following that, higher standards; they demand higher standards month by month and year by year. Here popularization means popularizing for the people and raising of standards means raising the level for the people. And such raising is not from mid-air, or behind closed doors, but is actually based on popularization. It is determined by and at the same time guides popularization. In China as a whole the development of the revolution and of revolutionary culture is uneven and their spread is gradual. While in one place there is popularization and then raising of standards on the basis of popularization, in other places popularization has not even begun. Hence good experience in popularization leading to higher standards in one locality can be applied in other localities and serve to guide popularization and the raising of standards there, saving many twists and turns along the road. Internationally, the good experience of foreign countries, and especially Soviet experience, can also serve to guide us. With us, therefore, the raising of standards is based on popularization, while popularization is guided by the raising of standards. Precisely for this reason, so far from being an obstacle to the raising of standards, the work of popularization we are speaking of supplies the basis for the work of raising standards which we are now doing on a limited scale, and prepares the necessary conditions for us to raise standards in the future on a much broader scale.

    Besides such raising of standards as meets the needs of the masses directly, there is the kind which meets their needs indirectly, that is, the kind which is needed by the cadres. The cadres are the advanced elements of the masses and generally have received more education; literature and art of a higher level are entirely necessary for them. To ignore this would be a mistake. Whatever is done for the cadres is also entirely for the masses, because it is only through the cadres that we can educate and guide the masses. If we go against this aim, if what we give the cadres cannot help them educate and guide the masses, our work of raising standards will be like shooting at random and will depart from the fundamental principle of serving the masses of the people.

    To sum up: through the creative labour of revolutionary writers and artists, the raw materials found in the life of the people are shaped into the ideological form of literature and art serving the masses of the people. Included here are the more advanced literature and art as developed on the basis of elementary literature and art and as required by those sections of the masses whose level has been raised, or, more immediately, by the cadres among the masses. Also included here are elementary literature and art which, conversely, are guided by more advanced literature and art and are needed primarily by the overwhelming majority of the masses at present. Whether more advanced or elementary, all our literature and art are for the masses of the people, and in the first place for the workers, peasants and soldiers; they are created for the workers, peasants and soldiers and are for their use.

    Now that we have settled the problem of the relationship between the raising of standards and popularization, that of the relationship between the specialists and the popularizers can also be settled. Our specialists are not only for the cadres, but also, and indeed chiefly, for the masses. Our specialists in literature should pay attention to the wall newspapers of the masses and to the reportage written in the army and the villages. Our specialists in drama should pay attention to the small troupes in the army and the villages. Our specialists in music should pay attention to the songs of the masses. Our specialists in the fine arts should pay attention to the fine arts of the masses. All these comrades should make close contact with comrades engaged in the work of popularizing literature and art among the masses. On the one hand, they should help and guide the popularizers, and on the other, they should learn from these comrades and, through them, draw nourishment from the masses to replenish and enrich themselves so that their specialities do not become "ivory towers", detached from the masses and from reality and devoid of content or life. We should esteem the specialists, for they are very valuable to our cause. But we should tell them that no revolutionary writer or artist can do any meaningful work unless he is closely linked with the masses, gives expression to their thoughts and feelings and serves them as a loyal spokesman. Only by speaking for the masses can he educate them and only by being their pupil can he be their teacher. If he regards himself as their master, as an aristocrat who lords it over the "lower orders", then, no matter how talented he may be, he will not be needed by the masses and his work will have no future.
    Is this attitude of ours utilitarian? Materialists do not oppose utilitarianism in general but the utilitarianism of the feudal, bourgeois and petty-bourgeois classes; they oppose those hypocrites who attack utilitarianism in words but in deeds embrace the most selfish and short-sighted utilitarianism. 

    There is no "ism" in the world that transcends utilitarian considerations; in class society there can be only the utilitarianism of this or that class. We are proletarian revolutionary utilitarians and take as our point of departure the unity of the present and future interests of the broadest masses, who constitute over 90 per cent of the population; hence we are revolutionary utilitarians aiming for the broadest and the most long-range objectives, not narrow utilitarians concerned only with the partial and the immediate. If, for instance, you reproach the masses for their utilitarianism and yet for your own utility, or that of a narrow clique, force on the market and propagandize among the masses a work which pleases only the few but is useless or even harmful to the majority, then you are not only insulting the masses but also revealing your own lack of self-knowledge. A thing is good only when it brings real benefit to the masses of the people. Your work may be as good as "The Spring Snow", but if for the time being it caters only to the few and the masses are still singing the "Song of the Rustic Poor", [8] you will get nowhere by simply scolding them instead of trying to raise their level. The question now is to bring about a unity between "The Spring Snow" and the "Song of the Rustic Poor", between higher standards and popularization. Without such a unity, the highest art of any expert cannot help being utilitarian in the narrowest sense; you may call this art "pure and lofty" but that is merely your own name for it which the masses will not endorse.

    Once we have solved the problems of fundamental policy, of serving the workers, peasants and soldiers and of how to serve them, such other problems as whether to write about the bright or the dark side of life and the problem of unity will also be solved. If everyone agrees on the fundamental policy, it should be adhered to by all our workers, all our schools, publications and organizations in the field of literature and art and in all our literary and artistic activities. It is wrong to depart from this policy and anything at variance with it must be duly corrected.

    III

    Since our literature and art are for the masses of the people, we can proceed to discuss a problem of inner-Party relations, i.e., the relation between the Party's work in literature and art and the Party's work as a whole, and in addition a problem of the Party's external relations, i.e., the relation between the Party's work in literature and art and the work of non-Party people in this field, a problem of the united front in literary and art circles.

    Let us consider the first problem. 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. Proletarian literature and art are part of the whole proletarian revolutionary cause; they are, as Lenin said, cogs and wheels [9] in the whole revolutionary machine. Therefore, Party work in literature and art occupies a definite and assigned position in Party revolutionary work as a whole and is subordinated to the revolutionary tasks set by the Party in a given revolutionary period. Opposition to this arrangement is certain to lead to dualism or pluralism, and in essence amounts to "politics--Marxist, art--bourgeois", as with Trotsky. 

    We do not favour overstressing the importance of literature and art, but neither do we favour underestimating their importance. Literature and art are subordinate to politics, but in their turn exert a great influence on politics. Revolutionary literature and art are part of the whole revolutionary cause, they are cogs and wheels in it, and though in comparison with certain other and more important parts they may be less significant and less urgent and may occupy a secondary position, nevertheless, they are indispensable cogs and wheels in the whole machine, an indispensable part of the entire revolutionary cause. If we had no literature and art even in the broadest and most ordinary sense, we could not carry on the revolutionary movement and win victory. Failure to recognize this is wrong. Furthermore, when we say that literature and art are subordinate to politics, we mean class politics, the politics of the masses, not the politics of a few so-called statesmen. Politics, whether revolutionary or counter-revolutionary, is the struggle of class against class, not the activity of a few individuals. The revolutionary struggle on the ideological and artistic fronts must be subordinate to the political struggle because only through politics can the needs of the class and the masses find expression in concentrated form. Revolutionary statesmen, the political specialists who know the science or art of revolutionary politics, are simply the leaders of millions upon millions of statesmen--the masses. Their task is to collect the opinions of these mass statesmen, sift and refine them, and return them to the masses, who then take them and put them into practice. They are therefore not the kind of aristocratic "statesmen" who work behind closed doors and fancy they have a monopoly of wisdom. Herein lies the difference in principle between proletarian statesmen and decadent bourgeois statesmen. This is precisely why there can be complete unity between the political character of our literary and artistic works and their truthfulness. It would be wrong to fail to realize this and to debase the politics and the statesmen of the proletariat.
    Let us consider next the question of the united front in the world of literature and art. Since literature and art are subordinate to politics and since the fundamental problem in China's politics today is resistance to Japan, our Party writers and artists must in the first place unite on this issue of resistance to Japan with all non-Party writers and artists (ranging from Party sympathizers and petty-bourgeois writers and artists to all those writers and artists of the bourgeois and landlord classes who are in favour of resistance to Japan). Secondly, we should unite with them on the issue of democracy. On this issue there is a section of anti-Japanese writers and artists who do not agree with us, so the range of unity will unavoidably be somewhat more limited. Thirdly, we should unite with them on issues peculiar to the literary and artistic world, questions of method and style in literature and art; here again, as we are for socialist realism and some people do not agree, the range of unity will be narrower still. While on one issue there is unity, on another there is struggle, there is criticism. The issues are at once separate and interrelated, so that even on the very ones which give rise to unity, such as resistance to Japan, there are at the same time struggle and criticism. In a united front, "all unity and no struggle" and "all struggle and no unity" are both wrong policies--as with the Right capitulationism and tailism, or the "Left" exclusivism and sectarianism, practiced by some comrades in the past. This is as true in literature and art as in politics.
    The petty-bourgeois writers and artists constitute an important force among the forces of the united front in literary and art circles in China. There are many shortcomings in both their thinking and their works, but, comparatively speaking, they are inclined towards the revolution and are close to the working people. Therefore, it is an especially important task to help them overcome their shortcomings and to win them over to the front which serves the working people.

    IV

    Literary and art criticism is one of the principal methods of struggle in the world of literature and art. It should be developed and, as comrades have rightly pointed out, our past work in this respect has been quite inadequate. Literary and art criticism is a complex question which requires a great deal of special study. Here I shall concentrate only on the basic problem of criteria in criticism. I shall also comment briefly on a few specific problems raised by some comrades and on certain incorrect views.

    In literary and art criticism there are two criteria, the political and the artistic. According to the political criterion, everything is good that is helpful to unity and resistance to Japan, that encourages the masses to be of one heart and one mind, that opposes retrogression and promotes progress; on the other hand, everything is bad that is detrimental to unity and resistance to Japan, foments dissension and discord among the masses and opposes progress and drags people back. How can we tell the good from the bad--by the motive (the subjective intention) or by the effect (social practice)? Idealists stress motive and ignore effect, while mechanical materialists stress effect and ignore motive. In contradistinction to both, we dialectical materialists insist on the unity of motive and effect. The motive of serving the masses is inseparably linked with the effect of winning their approval; the two must be united. The motive of serving the individual or a small clique is not good, nor is it good to have the motive of serving the masses without the effect of winning their approval and benefiting them. In examining the subjective intention of a writer or artist, that is, whether his motive is correct and good, we do not judge by his declarations but by the effect of his actions (mainly his works) on the masses in society. The criterion for judging subjective intention or motive is social practice and its effect. We want no sectarianism in our literary and art criticism and, subject to the general principle of unity for resistance to Japan, we should tolerate literary and art works with a variety of political attitudes. But at the same time, in our criticism we must adhere firmly to principle and severely criticize and repudiate all works of literature and art expressing views in opposition to the nation, to science, to the masses and to the Communist Party, because these so-called works of literature and art proceed from the motive and produce the effect of undermining unity for resistance to Japan. According to the artistic criterion, all works of a higher artistic quality are good or comparatively good, while those of a lower artistic quality are bad or comparatively bad. Here, too, of course, social effect must be taken into account. There is hardly a writer or artist who does not consider his own work beautiful, and our criticism ought to permit the free competition of all varieties of works of art; but it is also entirely necessary to subject these works to correct criticism according to the criteria of the science of aesthetics, so that art of a lower level can be gradually raised to a higher and art which does not meet the demands of the struggle of the broad masses can be transformed into art that does.

    There is the political criterion and there is the artistic criterion; what is the relationship between the two? Politics cannot be equated with art, nor can a general world outlook be equated with a method of artistic creation and criticism. We deny not only that there is an abstract and absolutely unchangeable political criterion, but also that there is an abstract and absolutely unchangeable artistic criterion; each class in every class society has its own political and artistic criteria. But all classes in all class societies invariably put the political criterion first and the artistic criterion second. The bourgeoisie always shuts out proletarian literature and art, however great their artistic merit. The proletariat must similarly distinguish among the literary and art works of past ages and determine its attitude towards them only after examining their attitude to the people and whether or not they had any progressive significance historically. Some works which politically are downright reactionary may have a certain artistic quality. The more reactionary their content and the higher their artistic quality, the more poisonous they are to the people, and the more necessary it is to reject them. A common characteristic of the literature and art of all exploiting classes in their period of decline is the contradiction between their reactionary political content and their artistic form. What we demand is the unity of politics and art, the unity of content and form, the unity of revolutionary political content and the highest possible perfection of artistic form. Works of art which lack artistic quality have no force, however progressive they are politically. Therefore, we oppose both the tendency to produce works of art with a wrong political viewpoint and the tendency towards the "poster and slogan style" which is correct in political viewpoint but lacking in artistic power. On questions of literature and art we must carry on a struggle on two fronts.

    Both these tendencies can be found in the thinking of many comrades. A good number of comrades tend to neglect artistic technique; it is therefore necessary to give attention to the raising of artistic standards. But as I see it, the political side is more of a problem at present. Some comrades lack elementary political knowledge and consequently have all sorts of muddled ideas. Let me cite a few examples from Yenan.

    "The theory of human nature." Is there such a thing as human nature? Of course there is. But there is only human nature in the concrete, no human nature in the abstract. In class society there is only human nature of a class character; there is no human nature above classes. We uphold the human nature of the proletariat and of the masses of the people, while the landlord and bourgeois classes uphold the human nature of their own classes, only they do not say so but make it out to be the only human nature in existence. The human nature boosted by certain petty-bourgeois intellectuals is also divorced from or opposed to the masses; what they call human nature is in essence nothing but bourgeois individualism, and so, in their eyes, proletarian human nature is contrary to human nature. "The theory of human nature" which some people in Yenan advocate as the basis of their so-called theory of literature and art puts the matter in just this way and is wholly wrong.

    "The fundamental point of departure for literature and art is love, love of humanity." Now love may serve as a point of departure, but there is a more basic one. Love as an idea is a product of objective practice. Fundamentally, we do not start from ideas but from objective practice. Our writers and artists who come from the ranks of the intellectuals love the proletariat because society has made them feel that they and the proletariat share a common fate. We hate Japanese imperialism because Japanese imperialism oppresses us. There is absolutely no such thing in the world as love or hatred with out reason or cause. As for the so-called love of humanity, there has been no such all-inclusive love since humanity was divided into classes. All the ruling classes of the past were fond of advocating it, and so were many so-called sages and wise men, but nobody has ever really practiced it, because it is impossible in class society. There will be genuine love of humanity--after classes are eliminated all over the world. Classes have split society into many antagonistic groupings; there will be love of all humanity when classes are eliminated, but not now. We cannot love enemies, we cannot love social evils, our aim is to destroy them. This is common sense; can it be that some of our writers and artists still do not understand this?

    "Literary and artistic works have always laid equal stress on the bright and the dark, half and half." This statement contains many muddled ideas. It is not true that literature and art have always done this. Many petty-bourgeois writers have never discovered the bright side. Their works only expose the dark and are known as the "literature of exposure". Some of their works simply specialize in preaching pessimism and world-weariness. On the other hand, Soviet literature in the period of socialist construction portrays mainly the bright. It, too, describes shortcomings in work and portrays negative characters, but this only serves as a contrast to bring out the brightness of the whole picture and is not on a so-called half-and-half basis. The writers and artists of the bourgeoisie in its period of reaction depict the revolutionary masses as mobs and themselves as saints, thus reversing the bright and the dark. Only truly revolutionary writers and artists can correctly solve the problem of whether to extol or to expose. All the dark forces harming the masses of the people must be exposed and all the revolutionary struggles of the masses of the people must be extolled; this is the fundamental task of revolutionary writers and artists.

    "The task of literature and art has always been to expose." This assertion, like the previous one, arises from ignorance of the science of history. Literature and art, as we have shown, have never been devoted solely to exposure. For revolutionary writers and artists the targets for exposure can never be the masses, but only the aggressors, exploiters and oppressors and the evil influence they have on the people. The masses too have shortcomings, which should be overcome by criticism and self-criticism within the people's own ranks, and such criticism and self-criticism is also one of the most important tasks of literature and art. But this should not be regarded as any sort of "exposure of the people". As for the people, the question is basically one of education and of raising their level. Only counter-revolutionary writers and artists describe the people as "born fools" and the revolutionary masses as "tyrannical mobs".

    "This is still the period of the satirical essay, and Lu Hsun's style of writing is still needed." Living under the rule of the dark forces and deprived of freedom of speech, Lu Hsun used burning satire and freezing irony, cast in the form of essays, to do battle; and he was entirely right. We, too, must hold up to sharp ridicule the fascists, the Chinese reactionaries and everything that harms the people; but in the Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region and the anti-Japanese base areas behind the enemy lines, where democracy and freedom are granted in full to the revolutionary writers and artists and withheld only from the counter-revolutionaries, the style of the essay should not simply be like Lu Hsun's. Here we can shout at the top of our voices and have no need for veiled and roundabout expressions, which are hard for the people to understand. When dealing with the people and not with their enemies, Lu Hsun never ridiculed or attacked the revolutionary people and the revolutionary Party in his "satirical essay period", and these essays were entirely different in manner from those directed against the enemy. To criticize the people's shortcomings is necessary, as we have already said, but in doing so we must truly take the stand of the people and speak out of whole-hearted eagerness to protect and educate them. To treat comrades like enemies is to go over to the stand of the enemy. Are we then to abolish satire? No. Satire is always necessary. But there are several kinds of satire, each with a different attitude, satire to deal with our enemies, satire to deal with our allies and satire to deal with our own ranks. We are not opposed to satire in general; what we must abolish is the abuse of satire.

    "I am not given to praise and eulogy. The works of people who eulogize what is bright are not necessarily great and the works of those who depict the dark are not necessarily paltry." If you are a bourgeois writer or artist, you will eulogize not the proletariat but the bourgeoisie, and if you are a proletarian writer or artist, you will eulogize not the bourgeoisie but the proletariat and working people: it must be one or the other. The works of the eulogists of the bourgeoisie are not necessarily great, nor are the works of those who show that the bourgeoisie is dark necessarily paltry; the works of the eulogists of the proletariat are not necessarily not great, but the works of those who depict the so-called "darkness" of the proletariat are bound to be paltry--are these not facts of history as regards literature and art? Why should we not eulogize the people, the creators of the history of mankind? Why should we not eulogize the proletariat, the Communist Party, New Democracy and socialism? There is a type of person who has no enthusiasm for the people's cause and looks coldly from the side-lines at the struggles and victories of the proletariat and its vanguard; what he is interested in, and will never weary of eulogizing, is himself, plus perhaps a few figures in his small coterie. Of course, such petty-bourgeois individualists are unwilling to eulogize the deeds and virtues of the revolutionary people or heighten their courage in struggle and their confidence in victory. Persons of this type are merely termites in the revolutionary ranks; of course, the revolutionary people have no need for these "singers".

    "It is not a question of stand; my class stand is correct, my intentions are good and I understand all right, but I am not good at expressing myself and so the effect turns out bad." I have already spoken about the dialectical materialist view of motive and effect. Now I want to ask, is not the question of effect one of stand? A person who acts solely by motive and does not inquire what effect his action will have is like a doctor who merely writes prescriptions but does not care how many patients die of them. Or take a political party which merely makes declarations but does not care whether they are carried out. It may well be asked, is this a correct stand? And is the intention here good? Of course, mistakes may occur even though the effect has been taken into account beforehand, but is the intention good when one continues in the same old rut after facts have proved that the effect is bad? In judging a party or a doctor, we must look at practice, at the effect. The same applies in judging a writer. A person with truly good intentions must take the effect into account, sum up experience and study the methods or, in creative work, study the technique of expression. A person with truly good intentions must criticize the shortcomings and mistakes in his own work with the utmost candour and resolve to correct them. This is precisely why Communists employ the method of self-criticism. This alone is the correct stand. Only in this process of serious and responsible practice is it possible gradually to understand what the correct stand is and gradually obtain a good grasp of it. If one does not move in this direction in practice, if there is simply the complacent assertion that one "understands all right", then in fact one has not understood at all.

    "To call on us to study Marxism is to repeat the mistake of the dialectical materialist creative method, which will harm the creative mood." To study Marxism means to apply the dialectical materialist and historical materialist viewpoint in our observation of the world, of society and of literature and art; it does not mean writing philosophical lectures into our works of literature and art. Marxism embraces but cannot replace realism in literary and artistic creation, just as it embraces but cannot replace the atomic and electronic theories in physics. Empty, dry dogmatic formulas do indeed destroy the creative mood; not only that, they first destroy Marxism. Dogmatic "Marxism" is not Marxism, it is anti-Marxism. Then does not Marxism destroy the creative mood? Yes, it does. It definitely destroys creative moods that are feudal, bourgeois, petty-bourgeois, liberalistic, individualist, nihilist, art-for-art's sake, aristocratic, decadent or pessimistic, and every other creative mood that is alien to the masses of the people and to the proletariat. So far as proletarian writers and artists are concerned, should not these kinds of creative moods be destroyed? I think they should; they should be utterly destroyed. And while they are being destroyed, something new can be constructed.

    V

    The problems discussed here exist in our literary and art circles in Yenan. What does that show? It shows that wrong styles of work still exist to a serious extent in our literary and art circles and that there are still many defects among our comrades, such as idealism, dogmatism, empty illusions, empty talk, contempt for practice and aloofness from the masses, all of which call for an effective and serious campaign of rectification.

    We have many comrades who are still not very clear on the difference between the proletariat and the petty bourgeoisie. There are many Party members who have joined the Communist Party organizationally but have not yet joined the Party wholly or at all ideologically. Those who have not joined the Party ideologically still carry a great deal of the muck of the exploiting classes in their heads, and have no idea at all of what proletarian ideology, or communism, or the Party is. "Proletarian ideology?" they think. "The same old stuff!" Little do they know that it is no easy matter to acquire this stuff. Some will never have the slightest Communist flavour about them as long as they live and can only end up by leaving the Party.

    Therefore, though the majority in our Party and in our ranks are clean and honest, we must in all seriousness put things in order both ideologically and organizationally if we are to develop the revolutionary movement more effectively and bring it to speedier success. To put things in order organizationally requires our first doing so ideologically, our launching a struggle of proletarian ideology against non-proletarian ideology. An ideological struggle is already under way in literary and art circles in Yenan, and it is most necessary. Intellectuals of petty-bourgeois origin always stubbornly try in all sorts of ways, including literary and artistic ways, to project themselves and spread their views, and they want the Party and the world to be remoulded in their own image. In the circumstances it is our duty to jolt these "comrades" and tell them sharply, "That won't work! The proletariat cannot accommodate itself to you; to yield to you would actually be to yield to the big landlord class and the big bourgeoisie and to run the risk of undermining our Party and our country." Whom then must we yield to? We can mould the Party and the world only in the image of the proletarian vanguard. We hope our comrades in literary and art circles will realize the seriousness of this great debate and join actively in this struggle, so that every comrade may become sound and our entire ranks may become truly united and consolidated ideologically and organizationally.
    Because of confusion in their thinking, many of our comrades are not quite able to draw a real distinction between our revolutionary base areas and the Kuomintang areas and they make many mistakes as a consequence. A good number of comrades have come here from the garrets of Shanghai, and in coming from those garrets to the revolutionary base areas, they have passed not only from one kind of place to another but from one historical epoch to another. One society is semi-feudal, semi-colonial, under the rule of the big landlords and big bourgeoisie, the other is a revolutionary new-democratic society under the leadership of the proletariat. To come to the revolutionary bases means to enter an epoch unprecedented in the thousands of years of Chinese history, an epoch in which the masses of the people wield state power. Here the people around us and the audience for our propaganda are totally different. 

    The past epoch is gone, never to return. Therefore, we must integrate ourselves with the new masses without any hesitation. If, living among the new masses, some comrades, as I said before, are still "lacking in knowledge and understanding" and remain "heroes with no place to display their prowess", then difficulties will arise for them, and not only when they go out to the villages; right here in Yenan difficulties will arise for them. Some comrades may think, "Well, I had better continue writing for the readers in the Great Rear Area; [10] it is a job I know well and has 'national significance'." This idea is entirely wrong. The Great Rear Area is also changing. Readers there expect authors in the revolutionary base areas to tell about the new people and the new world and not to bore them with the same old tales. Therefore, the more a work is written for the masses in the revolutionary base areas, the more national significance will it have. Fadeyev in The Debacle [11] only told the story of a small guerrilla unit and had no intention of pandering to the palate of readers in the old world; yet the book has exerted world-wide influence. At any rate in China its influence is very great, as you know. China is moving forward, not back, and it is the revolutionary base areas, not any of the backward, retrogressive areas, that are leading China forward. This is a fundamental issue that, above all, comrades must come to understand in the rectification movement.
    Since integration into the new epoch of the masses is essential, it is necessary thoroughly to solve the problem of the relationship between the individual and the masses. This couplet from a poem by Lu Hsun should be our motto:
    Fierce-browed, I coolly defy a thousand pointing fingers,
    Head-bowed, like a willing ox I serve the children.[12]

    The "thousand pointing fingers" are our enemies, and we will never yield to them, no matter how ferocious. The "children" here symbolize the proletariat and the masses. All Communists, all revolutionaries, all revolutionary literary and art workers should learn from the example of Lu Hsun and be "oxen" for the proletariat and the masses, bending their backs to the task until their dying day. Intellectuals who want to integrate themselves with the masses, who want to serve the masses, must go through a process in which they and the masses come to know each other well. This process may, and certainly will, involve much pain and friction, but if you have the determination, you will be able to fulfil these requirements.

    Today I have discussed only some of the problems of fundamental orientation for our literature and art movement; many specific problems remain which will require further study. I am confident that comrades here are determined to move in the direction indicated.
    I believe that in the course of the rectification movement and in the long period of study and work to come, you will surely be able to bring about a transformation in yourselves and in your works, to create many fine works which will be warmly welcomed by the masses of the people, and to advance the literature and art movement in the revolutionary base areas and throughout China to a glorious new stage.

    NOTES

    1. See V. I. Lenin, "Party Organisation and Party Literature", in which he described the characteristics of proletarian literature as follows:
    It will be a free literature, because the idea of socialism and sympathy with the working people, and not greed or careerism, will bring ever new forces to its ranks. It will be a free literature, because it will serve, not some satiated heroine, not the bored "upper ten thousand" suffering from fatty degeneration, but the millions and tens of millions of working people--the flower of the country, its strength and its future. It will be a free literature, enriching the last word in the revolutionary thought of mankind with the experience and living work of the socialist proletariat, bringing about permanent interaction between the experience of the past (scientific socialism, the completion of the development of socialism from its primitive, utopian forms) and the experience of the present (the present struggle of the worker comrades). (Collected Works, Eng. ed., FLPH, Moscow, 1962, Vol. X, pp. 48-49.)
    2. Liang Shih-chiu, a member of the counter-revolutionary National Socialist Party, for a long time propagated reactionary American bourgeois ideas on literature and art. He stubbornly opposed the revolution and reviled revolutionary literature and art.
    3. Chou Tso-jen and Chang Tzu-ping capitulated to the Japanese aggressors after the Japanese occupied Peking and Shanghai in 1937.
    4. Lu Hsun, "My View on the League of Left-Wing Writers" in the collection Two Hearts, Complete Works, Chin. ed., Vol. IV.
    5. See Lu Hsun's essay, "Death", in the "Addenda", The Last Collection of Essays Written in a Garret in the Quasi-Concession, Complete Works. Chin. ed., Vol. VI.
    6. The "Little Cowherd" is a popular Chinese folk operetta with only two people acting in it, a cowherd and a village girl, who sing a question and answer duet. In the early days of the War of Resistance Against Japan, this form was used, with new words, for anti-Japanese propaganda and for a time found great favour with the public.
    7. The Chinese characters for these six words are written simply, with only a few strokes, and were usually included in the first lessons in old primers.
    8. "The Spring Snow" and the "Song of the Rustic Poor" were songs of the Kingdom of Chu in the 3rd century B.C. The music of the first was on a higher level than that of the second. As the story is told in "Sung Yu's Reply to the King of Chu" in Prince Chao Ming's Anthology of Prose and Poetry, when someone sang "The Spring Snow" in the Chu capital, only a few dozen people joined in, but when the "Song of the Rustic Poor" was sung, thousands did so.
    9. See V. I. Lenin, "Party Organisation and Party Literature": "Literature must become part of the common cause of the proletariat, 'a cog and a screw' of one single great Social-Democratic mechanism set in motion by the entire politically conscious vanguard of the entire working class." (Collected Works, Eng. ea., FLPH, Moscow, I962, Vol. X, p. 45.)
    10. The Great Rear Area was the name given during the War of Resistance to the vast areas under Kuomintang control in southwestern and northwestern China which were not occupied by the Japanese invaders, as distinguished from the "small rear area", the anti-Japanese base areas behind the enemy lines under the leadership of the Communist Party.
    11. The Debacle by the famous Soviet writer Alexander Fadeyev was published in 1927 and translated into Chinese by Lu Hsun. The novel describes the struggle of a partisan detachment of workers, peasants and revolutionary intellectuals in Siberia against the counter-revolutionary brigands during the Soviet civil war.
    12. This couplet is from Lu Hsun's "In Mockery of Myself" in The Collection Outside the Collection, Complete Works,Chin. ed., Vol. VII.

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    Today, May 25, 2016, Black Arts Movement co-founder Marvin X will dialogue (via SKYPE) with students at the University of California, Merced. Students in Kim McMillon's class Theatre and Social Responsibility are reading two one act plays by Marvin X, Flowers for the Trashman and Salaam, Huey Newton, Salaam. Students want Marvin X to hear them reading his dramatic works and talk with him about the Black Arts Movement and artistic freedom fighters.

    Marvin X is the author of 30 books, including poetry, essays, autobiography, memoir. He has taught at Fresno State University, University of California, Berkeley and San Diego, San Francisco State University, Mills College, University of Nevada, Reno, Laney College, Merritt College. He received writing fellowships from Columbia University (via Harlem Cultural Council) and the National Endowment for the Arts; planning grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, via the Nevada Cultural Council. His archives were acquired by the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. Most recently, Marvin helped the City of Oakland create the Black Arts Movement Business District along the 14th Street corridor, downtown.


    He has two forthcoming books: Sweet Tea/Dirty Rice, New and Selected Poems, 2016, and Notes of an Artistic Freedom Fighter: Essays, Letters, 2016, Black Bird Press, Berkeley CA. 
     


     His writings appear in Ishmael Reed's The Complete Muhammad Ali
     His poetry appears in Black Gold Poetry Anthology
     This is his 13 Step manual to recover from the addiction to white supremacy
    foreword by Dr. Nathan Hare
     Writers at memorial for Jayne Cortez and Amiri Baraka, New York University
     Marvin X Fan Club
     The Black Arts Movement Poets Choir and Arkestra, University of California, Merced, 2014
     Marvin X participated in the Sun Ra Conference, University of Chicago, 2015. Marvin X and Sun Ra worked together in Harlem, 1968, and later in the Bay Area; both lectured in Black Studies, UC Berkeley, 1971-72.
     Marvin and Oakland CA Mayor Libby Schaaf, a supporter of the Black Arts Movement
     Marvin X in conversation with Amiri Baraka, Lannan Foundation, Santa Fe, New Mexico
     His writings appear in the BAM Reader, also in the BAM Classic Black Fire
    Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing - Walmart.comf
    The-Black-Panthers-Vanguard-of-the-Revolution-Stanley-Nelson.jpg
     Marvin X appeared in Stanley Nelson's film
    Director Stanley Nelson, Marvin X, Fred Hampton, Jr.
    "Marvelous Marvin X!"--Dr. Cornel West
    Marvin X and daughter Nefertiti at Laney College BAM 50th Celebration, 2014. In this inter-generational panel discussion, she urged her father to pass the baton! After working to pass legislation to establish the Black Arts Movement Business District in Oakland, he passed the baton to Dr. Ayodele Nzinga, his star student, also founder of the Lower Bottom Playaz, in residence at Oakland's Flight Deck Theatre on Broadway. She is scheduled to produce the Bay Area Black Arts Movement Theatre Festival in September.


    Panel Discussion: Women and the Black Arts Movement, Laney College BAM 50th Celebration, 2014. Left to Right: Elaine Brown, Dr. Halifu Osumare, Judy Juanita, Portia Anderson, Kujichagulia, Aries Jordan. Marvin X, producer.


    A scene from Marvin X's BAM classic Flowers for the Trashman, produced by Kim McMillon's theatre students at University of California, Merced. 
    Marvin X and students at the University of California, Merced ...
     
    Students and Marvin X in Kim McMillon's class on theatre and social activism. "My students love Marvin X!" says Professor McMillon.

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