PRC CR & CTA – “Rebellion is Justified!”

Immediately after reading a story about Call To Action, I found an article at the History Blog about the discovery in some forgotten box of rare paper-cut posters from China’s Cultural Revolution.

One of the posters… is entitled Eliminating the “Four Olds”. Launched by Mao and General Lin Biao, Mae’s second-in-charge and designated successor in a speech from the Tiananmen Rostrum on August 18, 1966, the Destruction of the Four Olds was one of the first campaigns of the Cultural Revolution. The “Four Olds” are Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits, Old Ideas, and the poster shows a brigade of Red Guards sledge hammering, trampling, burning, burying Chinese literature, film, religious iconography and cultural artifacts emblematic of foreign imperialism and China’s feudal past. The large flag in the foreground with the image of Mao on it reads “Rebellion is justified.”

破四旧 or Pò sì jiù

Pò sì jiù

From the CTA conference:

CTA banner

The analogy with Call To Action breaks down a bit when you consider the youthful and handsome aspect of the heroes of the Cultural Revolution. Scarce at the CTA conferences, I believe.

A CTA “Ministry Activism Dancer”

Wǒguó wúchǎnjiējí wénhuàdàgémìng

Call To Action

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Our Catholic Identity, Pò sì jiù, The Drill, The future and our choices, Throwing a Nutty and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Peggy R says:

    Michelle Obama told us we’d have to change our history, traditions, ideas, etc….Eerily familiar….

  2. Supertradmum says:

    Gramsci’s words go with the drawings-and commentary from the Internationl Gramsci Society:

    Each new comedy by Voltaire, each new pamphlet moved like a spark along the lines that were already stretched between state and state, between region and region, and found the same supporters and the same opponents everywhere and at every time. The bayonets of Napoleon’s armies found their road already smoothed by an invisible army of books and pamphlets that had swarmed out of Paris from the first half of the eighteenth century and had prepared both men and institutions for the necessary renewal. Later, after the French events had welded a unified consciousness, a demonstration in Paris was enough to provoke similar disturbances in Milan, Vienna and the smaller centres. All this seems natural and spontaneous to superficial observers, yet it would be incomprehensible if we were not aware of the cultural factors that helped to create a state of mental preparedness for these explosions in the name of what was seen as a common cause.[7]What Gramsci was describing was an authentic revolution that had a hegemonic appeal. That is, to an extent it incorporated the interests of the subordinate or subaltern groups in society in a forward-looking and emancipatory political project. Gramsci suggests that it was based on “a unified consciousness, one which was sensitive to all the woes and misfortunes of the common people”. Whether we agree with the historical accuracy of this assessment or not, the key point here lies in the method Gramsci is using to analyse a historical transformation. That is to say, Gramsci understands that the question of a sudden and apparently spontaneous revolutionary change is linked to deeper historical roots, and that the question of the historical formation of political subjectivity and consciousness is central to historical change. In other words, the political innovations associated with the French Revolution (for example as reflected in the Republicanism of Tom Paine) rested upon the transformations in consciousness and in the notions of the political subject that had been developing through the Enlightenment.

    Thus in his analysis of the relationship between the Enlightenment and the rise of bourgeois power Gramsci was also indicating the origins of a particular European civilizational form that served to change politics and social life in an earlier form of “globalisation”. This change was coincident with the emergence of modern industrial capitalism, and the deepening of capitalist social relations in England (the onset of intensive change) with their extension globally (the creation of a world market order). Central to this was not technological innovation as such. More importantly it involved a process of theoretical and political innovation that was partly inspired by the ideas of Adam Smith (and others like Ricardo), and also by the ideas of Bentham and the utilitarians and used by an instrumental state apparatus with considerable coercive power.[8]

    In other words, and there is more of the same, out with the old and in with chaos.

  3. tianzhujiao says:

    Perhaps a Call To Action musician will write a “hymn” adapting to the melody of the Cultural Revolution’s “Dong Fang Hong” (The East is Red).

  4. JonPatrick says:

    SuperTradMum’s post got me to look up Gramsci and the concept of cultural hegemony. It helps explain a lot about what people like Occupy Wall St and similar movements are trying to do, as well as why among the current powers that be, it is so critical for them to suppress religion, especially the Catholic Church.

  5. PostCatholic says:

    I’d rather suspect that the youthful and (dare I say it) handsome dissidents CTA attracted in the 1970’s have in the current period chosen to leave the Church to its errancy and found greener pastures.

  6. Robert_H says:

    Kinda disappointed that the Chi-Coms don’t do Giant Puppet Heads of Doom.

  7. CharlesG says:

    ???,???. ???????HansKueng… The CTA folks do make rather geriatric ???.

  8. CharlesG says:

    Sorry, the characters didn’t come out in the previous post. Here’s pinyin:

    “Dongfang hong, taiyang sheng, Tianzhujiao chuliao ge lao Hans Kueng… The CTA folks do make rather geriatric “hongweibing”.

  9. Charlotte Allen says:

    If you go to the History Blog site and click onto the high-resolution jpg of the Red Guards trampling the “Four Olds,” you will see that one of the cultural artifacts that they are about to crush with their feet and sledgehammers is a crucifix. The image is chilling, although I must say that the paper-cutting artistry is exquisite.

    I highly recommend Zhao Dayong’s 2008 documentary, “Ghost Town,” about a poor and rapidly depopulating rural village in remote and mountainous southwestern China (it is a long and slow-moving film but well worth the investment of time and patience). Many of the villagers are evangelical Christians, and the film is a moving testament to the suffering and resilience of Chinese Christians during the Cultural Revolution. The movie also presents a first-hand, if oblique, look at the effect of China’s one-child policy and the resulting abortions of female babies: a dearth of marriageable young women. One young man in the village sees his sweetheart sold off by her parents (who need the money) to a wealthy older suitor. It’s heart-breaking.

  10. jaykay says:

    Postcatholic: no, I think the problem is that a great many of them are still around (albeit not as youthful and handsome as they were 30+ years ago) and causing trouble. Those among them who were realists saw clearly that such things as womens’ ordination etc would never come and left for, as you say, greener pastures. The others continue as a fringe pressure group but attracting disproportionate coverage for their actual numbers (now I wonder why that might be?)

  11. PostCatholic says:

    JayKay: To clarify, I think there are just as many young people raised in the Catholic tradition who share the opinions of the aging CTA’ers. I just think they vote with their feet rather than joining fringe protest groups.

  12. catholicmidwest says:

    A lot of these people in CTA are employees of the church or relatives of employees of the church, and some are secular priests who were ordained for dioceses.

    The church needs nothing more than a ripping big reorg, such that:
    a) non-ordained members who dissent for themselves are laid off, and replaced by those who will do what the church needs to serve its members, and
    b) dissenting priests (and deacons) are strictly tutored on what their responsibilities are in light of their continuing abilities to hold faculties….and what might happen to them and their ecclesial futures if they continue causing trouble to the church.

    Any organization worth its salt will do this because it’s just good management and that doesn’t become any less of a requirement just because this is a church. It is full of people and it is an organization.

  13. sullibe says:

    Post Catholic-
    Your clarification is right on the mark, at least from my point of view. I was dragged to Mass (I was a pagan back then) every Sunday by my liberal, self-described “Bad Catholic” friends at our relatively liberal Catholic university, ’96-’97. I converted to Catholicism in ’99. My husband works for our diocese and I am a SAHM, homeschool my two oldest children, and just baptized baby #5 on Sunday. Of my friends that dragged me to Mass – one now practices Buddhism, one claims “respectful to all, belonging to none,” one has decided it’s “just me and Jesus”, and one of the others has decided, with the help of her live-in boyfriend, that the Church is an oppressive, evil entity that denies all sense of logic and science.

    They indeed “just walked away”. To paraphrase one of my friend’s, she just couldn’t belong to a religion that denies women the “right” to be priest, when she sees how another friend (now a Dominican Sister) is “called” to be one.

    I tend to find strength in the doctrines and dogmas. Needless to say, I’ve lost a lot of friends over the last 10 years.

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