Morning Sun

Smash the Old World!

How the "Red Guards' Battle Song" Was Born
By Red Guards of the Middle School of the Central Conservatory of Music

China Reconstructs, March 1968 (pp. 36-37)

We are Chairman Mao's Red Guards,
We steel our red hearts in great winds and waves,
We arm ourselves with Mao Tsetung's thought
To sweep away all pests.

LISTEN! The dynamic melody and rhythm of the "Red Guards' Battle Song" resounds across our great socialist motherland!

Listen! This song bursts forth as group after group of daring Red Guards, wearing shining Chairman Mao badges and carrying red quotation books, pour into the streets to destroy the "four olds" of the exploiting classes and promote the "four news"* of the proletariat!

Hear the Red Guards sing it as they board trains for every part of the country to spread the flames of revolutionary rebellion far and wide!

Hear the Red Guards sing it as they charge forward in the battle to "fight self, repudiate revisionism", mercilessly attacking the "self" in their own minds and raining annihilating blows on the handful of Party capitalistroaders in authority!

"The Red Guards' Battle Song", a revolutionary marching song of the proletariat, was born in the life-and-death struggle between the proletarian and bourgeois headquarters, between the socialist and capitalist roads, between the proletarian revolutionary line and the bourgeois reactionary line.

Red Guards of Chairman Mao

In June 1966 our great leader Chairman Mao himself launched the great proletarian cultural revolution, a revolution unprecedented in history. Revolutionary teachers and students responded at once and rose up to rebel against the capitalistroaders, exposing and denouncing their crimes. For 17 years, in the literature and art world and in our school, these traitors had tried to create public opinion for the restoration of capitalism in China by protecting, fostering and spreading decadent, bourgeois and revisionist literature and art, and opposing Chairman Mao's revolutionary line on literature and art.

China's Khrushchov and his followers were by no means willing to take defeat. They tried to put out the first flames of the cultural revolution by sending out work teams to suppress the growing mass movement. One such work team came to our school. But after a short while we felt there were things seriously wrong with it, so we stuck up dazibao (big-character posters) against it. The work team promptly retaliated by branding us "counterrevolutionaries." We were only a tiny minority, but we were confident that this was only a temporary situation, that the capitalistroaders could not crush revolutionary fighters armed with Mao Tsetung's thought.

When our struggle was the toughest, we drew strength from these lines of Chairman Mao's poem:

Only heroes can quell tigers and leopards
And wild bears never daunt the brave.
Plum blossoms welcome the whirling snow;
Small wonder flies freeze and perish.

Chairman Mao also says: "The world is yours, as well as ours, but in the last analysis, it is yours. You young people, full of vigour and vitality, are in the bloom of life, like the sun at eight or nine in the morning. Our hope is placed on you."

How profound these words are! Our revolutionary forbears gave their blood and their lives to win this state power for the proletariat. Can we young people allow criminal revisionism to trample it down? Can we allow our red state power to change its colour in our generation? Never! We must become successors to the revolutionary cause of the proletariat. After we have studied Chairman Mao's teachings, our minds are illuminated, our eyes grow sharper, we are firmer in our stand and stronger in our strides. We swear never to leave the field of battle until we have wiped out every poisonous vestige of the sinister line on literature and art, until we have thoroughly repudiated and discredited China's Khrushchov.

Chairman Mao had not been in Peking when China's Khrushchov began suppressing the revolutionaries in the early part of the cultural revolution. He returned in July, and the bourgeois reactionary line of suppression went bankrupt. The black clouds lifted, and once again we saw the glorious rays of the sun. With the warmest support from our dear Chairman Mao, the great Red Guard movement rose. It's right to rebel! In this spirit we organized the first Red Guard group of the Central Conservatory of Music on August 2. We swore to defend Chairman Mao, to defend the red state power and to be Red Guards for ever faithful to Chairman Mao.

Taking Up Our Weapon

How should we express our boundless loyalty, love, veneration and faith in our great red commander Chairman Mao? What could we use to help inspire the Red Guards in our struggle against the class enemy? We recalled what Chairman Mao had taught us, that we must "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". We are music students — our weapon would be music, a battle song for the Red Guards!

We concentrated on studying Chairman Mao's brilliant work, Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art, and other related articles, and this helped clarify our task. Into the stanzas of the song we wrote the revolutionary rebel spirit of the Red Guards. The revolutionary composer, Li Chiehfu, helped us set the words to music.

We had many discussions. We all agreed that the first line of each stanza should begin with "We are Chairman Mao's Red Guards" because Chairman Mao is the reddest sun in our hearts and Mao Tsetung's thought is our guiding light. It was Chairman Mao, with the true spirit of a great proletarian revolutionary, who discovered the Red Guard organization when it was first born, praised it highly and supported it firmly. This is our greatest pride and joy. The second sentence is "We steel our red hearts in great winds and waves". Chairman Mao teaches us that successors to the revolutionary cause of the proletariat must steel themselves in the teeth of winds and waves. We are now in the midst of a great storm of class struggle. We must, in fighting against the bourgeoisie, forge red hearts completely dedicated to serving the great majority of the people of China and the world.

The first stanza we emphasize: "We arm ourselves with Mao Tse-tung's thought to sweep away all pests." Mao Tsetung's thought is living MarxismLeninism at its highest in our era, the era in which imperialism is heading for total collapse and socialism is advancing to worldwide victory. We will wield the invincible weapon of Mao Tsetung's thought to wipe out the imperialists, revisionists, reactionaries and human pests of all types.

In the second stanza we stress, "Marching on the revolutionary road of our forbears, we shoulder the heavy task of our age". Chairman Mao teaches: "In China the struggle to consolidate the socialist system, the struggle to decide whether socialism or capitalism will prevail, will still take a long historical period." Will the socialist system be consolidated or not? Will China turn revisionist or not? It is our generation which will decide these lifeanddeath questions. Not only will we overthrow China's capitalist roaders, we will wipe out U.S. imperialism. We will help the world's revolutionary masses overthrow all the forces of reaction. This is the heavy responsibility of the era which we must shoulder.

In the third stanza, "We unite with the masses and together plunge into the battle to wipe out all monsters and demons" expresses our determination to follow Chairman Mao's teaching to unite with all the people that can be united in our struggle; to unite with all revolutionary peoples to sweep away every ghost and monster from the face of the earth!

In the refrain we write: "Dare to criticize and repudiate, dare to struggle, never stop making revolutionary rebellion! We will smash the old world and keep our revolutionary state red for ten thousand generations!" Yes, we Red Guards will always put daring to the fore. We dare to criticize and repudiate any aspect of the "four olds" that is not in accord with Mao Tsetung's thought. We are determined to rebel against all revisionist counterrevolutionaries. No matter who he is, how high his position, how famous his name or how great his seniority, as long as he dares to oppose Chairman Mao and Mao Tse-tung's thought, we will overthrow him without mercy and trample him underfoot, never to rise again.

Today, singing this battle song, we have smashed the plot of China's Khrushchov to restore capitalism, defended the dictatorship of the proletariat and Chairman Mao's revolutionary line. Tomorrow, singing this song, we will plunge into the final great struggle of the world's people to smash the system of exploitation and realize communism throughout the world. The future is ours. The all-illuminating thinking of Mao Tse-tung will inevitably win a whole bright red new world!

Red Guards’ Battle Song (Hongweibing Zhan Ge)

We are Chairman Mao’s Red Guards,
We steel our red hearts in great winds and waves.
We arm ourselves with Mao Tse-tung’s thought
To sweep away all pests.

We are Chairman Mao’s Red Guards,
Absolutely firm in our proletarian stand,
Marching on the revolutionary road of our forbears,
We shoulder the heavy task of our age.

We are Chairman Mao’s Red Guards,
Vanguards of the cultural revolution.
We unite with the masses and together plunge into the battle
To wipe out all monsters and demons.

Dare to criticize and repudiate, dare to struggle,
Never stop making revolutionary rebellion.
We will smash the old world
And keep our revolutionary state red for ten thousand generations!

*The "four olds" means the old ideas, culture, customs and habits; and the "four news" means the new ideas, culture, customs and habits.

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