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Graphic (Title): Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times
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History of Cultural Revolution

Right to Rebel

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Looking Back

Sidney Rittenberg Presentation


LEARNING (1968–76)


During the Cultural Revolution, student activists and class officers relied on blackboards to communicate revolutionary messages.


Reply to Comrade Guo Moruo

On this tiny globe
A few flies bang against the wall
Sometimes angry, sometimes tearful.

Ants on the locust tree act like they’re a great nation
And mayflies talk about how easy it would be to topple a giant tree.
The west wind scatters leaves over Chang’an,
And the flying arrows twang.
How many deeds, always urgent.

The world rolls on,
Days and nights press.
Ten thousand years is too long,
Just seize the day.

The Four Seas are rising, clouds and water raging,
The Five Continents are shaking, wind and thunder rocking.
We must sweep away all pests
No one can oppose us.

Written by Mao Zedong for the Marxist scholar Guo Moruo, and set to the classical tune “The Whole River Runs Red.”


“Study hard, progress daily.” —Mao Zedong


Supreme Instruction: “If we don’t speak, who will speak? If we don’t act, who will act? There are a thousand strands and ten thousand threads of truth in Marxism. But in the final instance, it’s just one sentence: ‘It’s right to rebel.’”

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This page last updated September 27, 2002

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