Mexico: The cultural contributions in the international campaign for the 130th anniversary of Chairman Mao

Hereby we publish an unofficial translation of the article published in Periodico Mural.

Culture is a powerful weapon and has its influence on our daily lives. The music you listen to in the bus, the books you read or the soap operas that show on TV, everything transmits ideas and – coming from the mass media – those ideas are usually those from the ruling class. An example of this are the narco-corridos that glorify drug trafficking, reactionary violence and the life of gunmen, generating the self-proclaimed “narco-culture.”

The narco-corrido and all its variants, presents the position of the latifundium and their most reactionary sectors and serves to ideologically intoxicate the masses, mainly the youth. The lumpenproletariat adopts “narco-culture” and other currents such as reggaeton, “perreo”, gang rap and other degenerate trends that mediate and subjugate young people, isolating them from political life and the revolutionary rebellion of youth. “Modern” music in general preaches individualism, as it focuses on personal interests and denies the need for collectivity and, above all, revolution.

The workers and the people need a culture that serves our emancipation, which can only be achieved through a Revolution of New Democracy that advances uninterruptedly towards Socialism.

The New Culture for which we work addresses aspects of our ideology while denouncing the misery of the people and the crimes that the old State commits against them. This New Culture must strengthen the collective and revolutionary spirit of the population. Revolutionary art and culture belong to the broad popular masses as they surge among them. It is not the privilege of closed circles of bourgeois intellectuals. It is as Chairman Mao Tse Tung explained:

«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, 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 in the whole revolutionary machine.»

From that perspective, we present some multidisciplinary cultural contributions that were made in Mexico within the framework of the International Campaign for the 130th anniversary of the birth of Chairman Mao Tse Tung. In the following lines we will try to address the generalities of each discipline and the way in which they were applied to serve the people wholeheartedly.

Muralism – The walls are from the people

Muralism as an expression of plastic art is the result of the theoretical-practical creation and innovation after the Mexican Revolution or unfinished bourgeois revolution, and is, in its entire conception, a popular art of a public nature. Going from monumentality to dynamism, adapting to contexts, textures, polyangularity, handling of lights and colors, backgrounds and shapes, the large images it captures combine technique with aesthetics and revolutionary ideology, explaining some aspects of the daily life of the masses, their past and historical future, upholding the struggles of our people for their liberation. One of its greatest exponents was David Alfaro Siqueiros, a member of the Communist Party of Mexico, proletarian internationalist, editor of the revolutionary newspaper El Machete (central organ of the PCM), and combatant in the Spanish Civil War in the International Brigades. He contributed like no one else to this current and elaborated on the fundamental characteristics of muralism as an art at the service of the people that should be carried out on the street, among the masses and in public spaces and not in the museums that occupy bourgeois art and petit-bourgeois far from away from the people. Siqueiros redefined the role of the “artist” when he served the people and the revolution, claiming his historical role as a worker of art and culture, since he understood well that art cannot be placed above social classes, but that one and the other (bourgeois art and proletarian art) serve to legitimize and propagandize the program of each social class. Comrade Siqueiros’ work focused on disseminating the historical program of the revolutionary proletariat. His works are very popular and recognized throughout the world. Its murals pay homage to the combatants of our people, such as Generals Francisco Villa and Emiliano Zapata at the head of the Northern Division and the Southern Liberation Army, respectively, but they also evoke the struggle for the World Proletarian Revolution, making a clear defense of the leaders of the proletariat such as Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. His works contain a social meaning intrinsically linked to Marxist philosophy, Marxist political economy and scientific socialism. An example of this are The people to the University, the University to the people; From Porfirism to the Revolution; Portrait of the bourgeoisie; The march of humanity; New Democracy Triptych , among others.

Returning to the example of muralism as an art at the service of the revolution, some comrades made three murals with the central image of the Campaign for the 130th anniversary of the birth of Chairman Mao Tse-Tung. The image has been taken from the concept designed by the International Communist League, adapting to the different contexts of the walls and the communities where they were made.

The first mural was painted on an adobe wall, in a community kitchen where children from an indigenous preschool and primary school are fed daily under the care of community authorities. The children were enthusiastically involved in its preparation and, among other tasks, they painted some corn with their hands, symbolizing the relationship between the struggle for land and agricultural production with the struggle for the New Democratic Revolution and Maoism. In this way, with plastic art, the central contents of the Community Workshop that took place for two days were visually reinforced, combining revolutionary pedagogy, New Culture, sports, agitation and propaganda, gueza and other forms of community organization such as assembly itself.

The second mural was made in a community that was founded exactly ten years ago under the program of the New Democracy Revolution, and its anniversary celebrations coincided with the 130th birthday of Chairman Mao and other celebrations of the revolutionary left. There a mega-Mao was captured, on a wall of approximately 6.5 meters. high by 12 meters. long. Young people and residents actively participated in its preparation and, according to what they tell us, they still want to work on the mural to complement other concepts related to the worldview and the struggle of the Anáhuac peoples to impose the New Power.

The third mural was made in one of the most representative centers of the resistance, located in the heart of Rebel Oaxaca: the Municipal Community Agency of Santa Rosa Panzacola where since 2010 the population expelled the electoral parties of the old State to defend the uses and customs of the locality, basing their decisions and appointments on the Community Assembly. This mural specifically expresses the central image designed by the ICL and is honorably placed next to the mural for the Bicentennial of Frederick Engels carried out by activists of the People’s Women’s Movement in 2020. The central political-cultural event was also held in that place for the 130th anniversary of the birth of Chairman Mao Tse Tung.

Theater Works – Art is born and grows in the street

Revolutionary theater is people’s theater. As the revolutionary writer and playwright Bertolt Brecht said, people’s theater must be a form of public education and must make possible the participation of the people. Today, in general, the theater is at the service of the rich and closed in large and impressive halls, isolated from the masses and their reality. Against this form of theater, Brecht wrote a work called “Threepenny Opera.” Every worker should be able to pay the entrance fee to appreciate this work. Other works of his such as “Saint Joan of the Slaughterhouses” explain the situation of the working class and the struggle to improve their situation.

People’s theater does not need many resources, but develops through its environment, adapting to the contexts, combining the tools of the different schools and interaction with the public with simplicity to confront the spectators with the oppressive reality they suffer. In our case, even though our actors are not professionals, we were able to put on two works in different community workshops. One of them was the history of the International, the Anthem of the Proletariat, which is a war anthem. The participants developed their story with few costumes and a canvas with the image of Eugene Pottier, author of the poem turned into an anthem. Was addressed its connection with the Paris Commune, the first attempt at dictatorship of the proletariat in the world. The second work addressed the life of poor peasants, victims of the latifundiums and narco-paramilitarism, in collusion with the old State and imperialism. With everyday objects such as machetes, hats, corn and beans, the misery of the peasants oppressed by coyotes [Translator’s note: is the person who smuggles immigrants across the Mexico-United States border] and bureaucratic politicians was addressed; the role of para-militarism and the police to repress the people, and the path of revolutionary armed struggle to eliminate all parasites.

Traditional dances – Expression of cultural resistance

The traditions of the people have a rich treasure of art and popular culture, they are part of the identity of the native peoples and in many moments they are expressions of cultural resistance to the hegemony of imperialism and its dominant ideas. The traditions of our people strengthen their social fabric and collective spirit. Dance choreography is not only aesthetic, but a collective art that requires a lot of coordination from its participants, leading to interaction with the public. These dances have a community character because they are about stories, work, organization and community; It is impossible to do them individually and they can only be done in groups. The costumes reflect the cultural origin, and although they do not escape the ordinances imposed by the colonizers, they also outline characteristic features of the social organization of our peoples in resistance. Some clothing tells us about the daily life of the masses, their social being, the system of positions and even the cycle of sowing, water and life.

In one of the community workshops, the primary school children and the democratic teachers presented dances that explained how the people live in the mountains, respect for those in character (grandparents) and work. In the central event, the companions of the Macehualitzin youth dance group presented several numbers to us, from the way in which some peoples carry out marital union, tequio as socially useful work of a community nature and the peasant culture around the cornfield and the cattle. Hats, machetes, ties and other work tools were key to representing the people and its daily life. The comrades have highlighted the color red in their clothing and the combination of the traditional music of our peoples with jazz in their final pieces, as if expressing that yes, it is possible to rescue music in its various genres by providing them with pedagogical and popular content at the service of the revolution.

Revolutionary songs – An international language

Revolutionary songs are part of the culture not only in one country, but in the whole world. Music itself has its origins in the awakening of humanity, which cannot be understood without the vision of progress and collectivity. A music whose content does not seek the development itself of the materiality and spirituality of man as a social being, loses its essential reason for being. Several songs have been translated and adapted into different languages, such as “Amur Partisans” which exists in Russian, German, Spanish, Turkish and many more. These songs connect the world’s revolutionaries with a unitary culture, which gives identity to workers and people. The International Communist Movement and the revolutionary movements of different countries have created a wealth of very rich treasures with beautiful songs. Here in Our America there are great singers as Victor Jara from Chile, Victor Campos Bullón from Peru, Alí Primera from Venezuela. In Mexico we have Judith Reyes, Amparo Ochoa, José de Molina and many more who have put their music and singing at the service of the people.

In the different events of the Campaign carried out in Mexico, the different committees and commissions sang songs; some of these were accompanied by choreographies that evoke the revolutionary march of guerrilla armies, such as the song Salvo el Poder, todo es ilusión(All without Power is illusion), by the Communist Party of Peru, which was sung by prisoners of war in the prisons of reaction, making them shining combat trenches of the revolution, and the Canto al Partido(Song to the Party) whose author is comrade Anthar López and which was composed in honor of the Communist Party of Mexico, before the process of liquidation of revisionism.

There were other great musical contributions, especially the one presented by comrades of the popular guitar workshop during the central political-cultural event for the 130th birth of Chairman Mao. The comrades, in addition to singing “A desalambrar”, “Adagio in my country”, “Techos de cartón , among other pieces of Latin American revolutionary music, made the event red by performing the anthem of the proletariat on guitar and violin: The International.

Dazibaos – It is right to rebel!

Dazibaos (posters with large letters and ideograms) have their origin in China and find their peak in the Great Cultural Proletarian Revolution as a defense of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The dazibaos are an instrument of criticism of the broad masses and served to share their demands in universities, factories, companies or other public places. Chairman Mao said in a dazibao made with his hands : Bomb the headquarters of the reaction! With this useful technique for agitation and propaganda, you don’t need many resources, just a large piece of paper, paint and brushes, that’s all.

In the different community workshops, the participants performed dazibao exercises while discussing community problems and the most heartfelt demands of the masses, such as demands for electricity for the rancherías [Translator’s note: small and rural settlement of the indigenous people and poor peasants] where there has never been electricity, going to the most combative slogans where they expressed their support. to the League of Communities of the Agrarian Revolution (LCRA) and the Current of the People – Red Sun. A dazibao called for People’s War in the middle of the mountains, simply beautiful!

Sport – Prepare to fight

Sports are an active part of popular culture, and at the center are team sports such as soccer, volleyball or basketball. Only as a team is it possible to obtain results and victories, and it represents a strong contrast compared to the “cult of the body”, where the physique of individuals is the main thing as a decadent manifestation of the bourgeoisie. Team sport requires coordination and distribution of tasks among its participants, therefore, it encourages body’s spirit and collective work. In this way, sport must be conceived as a preparation for the class struggle, in which we will need coordination, body spirit collective work and of course physical strength, resistance, condition and motor skills.

In the different events held during this campaign, sports teams were formed to help with these tasks, and the need to develop a sports culture away from officiality, big brands and the mass media has been reflected. Our goal is not to generate “high-performance athletes,” but revolutionaries at the service of the people. La cascarita (improvised game of football, transl. note), la reta, school competitions, etc., they are a good starting point, as also they are solidarity and joy in working-class neighborhoods and agricultural communities.

Homage – Those who die for life cannot be called dead

We commemorate our fallen and deceased by highlighting their revolutionary attitude, their role in the class struggle and their contributions to the liberation of our country. Their loss is a collective pain. They are pioneers and models in our fight. We go with their families and honor their memory because they have been part of our joint struggle against the old State. Regardless of their rank or degree of responsibility, comrades who die for life cannot be called dead. Their path is ours and we follow it to carry out the Revolution of New Democracy.

Thus, again in the central political-cultural event we have put the wall of the people’s heroes where figures such as Luis Armando Fuentes Aquino or Javier López Martínez are mixed with those of Jorge Alberto Hernández Jimenez and Jorge Alberto Hernández Torres, among others. In this event, the image of our young comrade Irma Soledad Sorrroza Moguel, comrade Seimy, who died on the night of 23rd of December of 2023 at the age of 20, has been added. Seimy was a member of the Snake Collective, which carried out activities in support of the Palestinian cause, and a member of the People’s Youth Brigades. To all our fallen comrades, not a minute of silence, but a lifetime of struggle.

These are just a few examples of the different types of cultural activities contributed during the campaign. We hope that our readers find the motivation to also create cultural contributions that serve the New Democratic Revolution and the people. For now the New Culture launches a loud battle cry Unite under Maoism!

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