Friday, March 29, 2019, 08:37 (GMT+7)
Literature and arts must not stand outside of politics

Official literature and arts of a social regime always serve and promote the building and consolidation of that social regime. It is a principle that literature and arts must not be outside the politics or separate from the ruling class’ leadership. However, in our country, several people and groups deliberately are going against that objective law.

In recent years, some degenerates working in the field of literature and arts have strongly claimed the independence of literature and arts from the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) and the existing political regime (although this political regime has provided them with the true values that they have been enjoying). They strive to propagate literary works, paintings, musical programs, and movies which oppose socialism and deny the revolutionary achievements, Marxism-Leninism, and Ho Chi Minh’s ideology. They highly value and support a number of works by extreme artists. They even believe that those works have brought a “new wind” to our country’s press, literature and arts, being the vanguard in the movement to escape from the CPV’s leadership, correctly expressing the spirit of “open arts”. Besides, a number of artists deliberately defame and attack persons and literary critics with official political standpoint, alleging that they are pay writers of the CPV and “puppets” on the literary forum. Typical example is the self-proclaimed “the Committee to Promote the Founding of the League of Independent Vietnamese Writers” which claims in a bias manner that literature and arts under the CPV’s leadership only illustrate its resolutions and decorate practice under its direction.  It is a pity that some writers and poets who were famous in the revolutionary literature under the CPV’s leadership have denied their own “spiritual children” when continuously saying that literary works written in the wars were the illusions under the CPV’s order instead of their emotions, without values, and that they need to achieve a new way of thinking to get rid of the CPV’s intervention.

Obviously, the “open” artists and writers know that the existence of politics within a society is often expressed in the two aspects, namely political doctrine and state. In this regard, the former plays a central role in the social consciousness in handling the relationships between classes, peoples, and social strata as well as in building a state for organizing, managing, adjusting, and orientating the society’s development under its theories and viewpoints. So, within a society, politics holds a leading role in both social consciousness and system of state-related institutions to ensure the realization of political ideology. When playing a key role in the society, politics not only affects other social consciousness formations within the superstructure, but also leads and controls all material and mental operations of the society. With a really objective, scientific, comprehensive approach, Marxism-Leninism proves that literature and arts represent a typical social consciousness formation which most sufficiently and profoundly demonstrates men’s aesthetic relationship with reality, while emphasizing that literature and arts must be deeply imbued with revolutionary ideology and under the political orientation. President Ho Chi Minh ever said that “it is clear to see that when the nation is under oppression, literature and arts lose freedom. To liberate themselves, literature and arts must join the revolution”. Therefore, in spite of their particularities, literature and arts must be aimed at contributing to the people’s revolutionary cause and settling the requirements and disagreements of the times. Political consciousness and literary consciousness are companions in the same road. Political voice and literary voice supplement each other and maintain the balance of the society’s spiritual life.

Performing the mission assigned by the people, the CPV has exercised its leadership over literature and arts and brought into play the true, the good, and the beautiful to their utmost for the sake of our people’s lofty aspirations. That said, the CPV’s leadership over literature and arts does not mean the imposition; it has become an objective demand for the nation’s goal and ideal as well as the survival and development of literature and arts; the CPV’s leadership will ensure this particular social consciousness formation develop in a comprehensive, proper, helpful manner and meet the people’s fine, diverse, healthy aspirations. Therefore, in 1943, the Cultural Outline - the Party’s first strategy for Vietnam’s culture (including literature and arts) regarded culture as a revolution that would be carried out concurrently with the political revolution and the economic revolution. That viewpoint has been reconfirmed in many resolutions by the CPV. During its process of leading the revolution, our CPV has always heightened the role of culture and seen it as the society’s spiritual foundation and the goal for the sustainable development; according to the CPV, “there is no ideological formation that could replace the role of literature and arts in building up people’s healthy sentiments and greatly impacting on their ways of thinking and living”.

During its leadership process, the CPV does not impact on artists’ creativity, inspirations for their art works, and skills. The CPV has determined to renew the method of exercising its leadership over literature and arts in order to ensure the development of culture, literature and arts under its political direction as well as individual rights to freedom and democracy on the basis of promoting the self-awareness. Addressing the 70th anniversary of the Alliance of Arts and Literature Associations of Vietnam on July 25th 2018, the CPV General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong confirmed that the CPV and the State always encouraged and respected artists’ freedom of creativity, while building special mechanisms and policies for literature, arts, writers and artists in accordance with the country’s socio-economic development.

Reality of the Vietnamese revolution has proved that the CPV’s guidelines for literature and arts represent part of its guidelines for Vietnamese human and national development and are formulated on the accurate scientific bases for the sake of noble goals which literature and arts also strive for. As a result, since the CPV exercised its leadership over Vietnam’s literature and arts, they have transformed many petty bourgeois into patriotic revolutionary intellectuals. Typically, the poem “Từ ấy” (Since then) by To Huu (1938) marked a turning point in artists’ pursuit of noble revolutionary ideal at that time. Expressing his thanks for the CPV, the poet Che Lan Vien wrote that it (the CPV) changed my life, it changed my poetry. The writer Nguyen Cong Hoan affirmed: it was the August Revolution that had saved his life and liberated his family and writing career. Between 1930 and 1945, literature and arts played an important role in mobilizing the masses in the revolution and encouraged the people across the country to clinch the history victory of the 1945 August Revolution. During the wars against French Colonialists and US Imperialists, famous writers and artists, such as Nguyen Dinh Thi, Pham Tien Duat, Xuan Hong, Pham Tuyen as well as heroes who sacrificed their lives for the country, such as Nguyen Thi, Le Anh Xuan engaged in both combat and art activities, making contributions to building a noble image of “artists-soldiers”. They created the art works which reached the ideological, literary, and artistic peak, built up the ideal symbols, really had the great cultural importance to the revolutionary struggle, and directed the readers towards noble, heroic aspirations. Since the country was reunified, especially in the national renewal, literature and arts have continued to gain the encouraging achievements. The majority of writers and artists have promoted their responsibility as a citizen and an artist to create many works of ideological and artistic values, thereby contributing to boosting the development of the country’s culture, deserving to represent the sustainable values and the quintessence of the community.

As a matter of fact, the “open artists” and “pioneering writers” should wonder whether it is the suppression of freedom and democracy or the imposition of ideology and viewpoints or the oppression of artists who fight for the freedom of ideology and creativity. If the art works were created with the style of “illustration” or under the CPV’s order, would they reach such an ideological, literary, and artistic peak? It is the political awareness combined with their pure hearts that bring the willpower and immense love for the country’s great cause to generations of Vietnamese revolutionary writers and artists. That is why Vietnamese writers and artists has felt free to create art works and made contributions to the nation’s historic, impressive achievements.

Over the past years, we have prohibited publishing and decided to revoke a number of literary works due to their violation of the Law on Publication. Some works have even contained viewpoints and evaluations without scientific bases and political awareness, such as “The Ups and Downs of Chinese Dynasties” which distorted the history of Vietnam’s sovereignty in the East Sea, “The Road to Serfdom” which was translated into Vietnamese with the equation of socialism in the Soviet Union with fascism, the “Gac Ma-Immortal Circle” which contained sources of incorrect information, propagated the revisionism extremely, incited the ethnic hatred, and brought about the feeling of resentment. Those actions by our competent offices have been totally correct and proper in order to facilitate the development of the true literature and arts, make positive contributions to building the socialism selected by our people, and fight against the distortion that we eliminate the contributions by the intellectual elite. In fact, those actions are aimed at preventing the art works which vent individual anger on and take the authors’ ego as the yardstick for the community. Such art works always bring the “counter-values” to themselves and the authors. Therefore, the claims for separating literature and arts from politics represent the support for the hostile forces and the signs of infantilism and disorientation only.

Sr. Col. Pham Quang Thanh, PhD, Political Officer College

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