Sergei Gerasimov. Kolkhoz Holiday. 1937 Photo by E. Kogan / RIA Novosti; State Tretyakov Gallery

Cool or cold? – Pop Art vs Socialist Realism

An exhibition of art in the Berlin Gropius Bau Museum has led to two reviews in the Western media. One in the New York Times (NYT) and the other in the Forbes Magazine (FM). The exhibition is based on the theme ‘cool and cold’ and includes artworks from the cold war period both western and Soviet. We are sure that the reader has already worked out where the organisers are going with this, Western art = cool and Soviet art = cold.

The narrative of the exhibition is fairly easy to read as is that of the two reviews; that Western artforms are bold and colourful, inspiring and challenging while drab and dreary Soviet art in the officially dictated style of Socialist realism has nothing to say because the artists were not free to express themselves, at least not until the latter days of the Soviet Union when brave underground artists dared to paint in the Western styles of Pop art, abstract expressionism, etc! Continue reading “Cool or cold? – Pop Art vs Socialist Realism”

Koreans who fled Japan for the DPRK branded ‘kidnapped’

The BBC ran an article ‘North Korea’s Kim Jong-un faces ‘paradise on Earth’ lawsuit’ focusing on a currently ongoing legal case in Japan regarding migration of Koreans from Japan to the DPRK between 1959-84.
The Japanese were able to scrape together 5 people for the lawsuit, out of the 90,000 ethnic Koreans who had left Japan to settle in the DPRK during this period. These 5 essentially represent the sum total of imperialist efforts to find defectors willing to go on record as anti-socialist and anti-DPRK dupes and as fodder for imperialist propaganda.

The Western capitalist class hates ‘North’ Korea. The Mainstream Media we get in the West therefore reflects the views of its owners. Continue reading “Koreans who fled Japan for the DPRK branded ‘kidnapped’”

Anti-communist stocking filler

Bookshops of the Bourgeoisie

A theme which often surfaces in contemporary depictions of socialism in literature and popular culture is the use of restrictive controls on the sort of books people in socialist countries had access to, encouraging a notion that bookshops only sold volumes of Marx and Lenin.

Accompanying this is the notion that western literature was totally forbidden to readers of the socialist world, with only state approved propaganda available to slake people’s appetite for entertainment. Continue reading “Bookshops of the Bourgeoisie”

BBC praises a grand rewilding to hide how capitalism sparked environmental degradation in Kazakhstan

The BBC’s science and technology journalist, Chris Baraniuk, wrote back in January a distinctly ecohippie article celebrating the decline of human presence in the Eurasian steppes of Kazakhstan.

With the title “How the Soviet Union’s end sparked a grand rewilding”, the author appears to echo extinction rebellion’s rhetoric rejoicing in the fact that nature has rejuvenated, as millions of people were kept indoors during the lockdowns. It is quite fashionable to be “scientifically” misanthropic nowadays, and willing to highlight the so called “positive” effects of the pandemic that devastated human lives globally. It is a hideously insensitive and irrational argument, in the context of over 4.5 millions of deaths, that fails to address the responsibility of specific economic interests and the profit motive of capitalist exploitation. Conveniently for the current system, this attitude instead opts for blaming vague “anthropogenic” causes for all ecological catastrophes and to praise the “anthropause” as a respite given to the natural world, which magically takes care of itself. Continue reading “BBC praises a grand rewilding to hide how capitalism sparked environmental degradation in Kazakhstan”

Soviet statues and the Superstitions of a Class in Terminal Decline

In the psyche of the modern imperialist mindset, there is often displayed a unique, often morbid fascination with Soviet era statues and monuments, especially when they can be found languishing in derelict or partly dismembered conditions. Writing in the Mail Online, Isabel Baldwin’s August 4th article “Spooky Stalins and Lonesome Lenins” covers a photo documentary exhibition currently being exhibited in Portland, Oregon, by American photographer Matthew Moore which perfectly encapsulates the superstitious and titillating nature of the bourgeois fixation with this theme. Continue reading “Soviet statues and the Superstitions of a Class in Terminal Decline”

People take part in a demonstration to support the government of the Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in Havana, on July 11, 2021. Yamil Lage/Getty Images

MSM deceptions: Pro government demonstrators pictured as ‘anti govt’ in news reports about Cuba

A Bloomberg article appeared on the 14th July 2021, with the title “Cuba Protests Fanned by Worst Economic Crisis Since Fall of USSR”.

The article started: “The deepest economic crisis since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a spike in Covid-19 infections, power blackouts and increased use of social media all helped fan discontent with the 62-year-old communist regime.

Lets look at what is actually happening in Cuba. Continue reading “MSM deceptions: Pro government demonstrators pictured as ‘anti govt’ in news reports about Cuba”

Corporate workplace burn-out culture is no match for Socialist emulation

On 29 June 2021 the Conversation website published an essay entitled “How a Soviet miner from the 1930s helped create today’s intense corporate workplace culture”, co-authored by Bogdan Costea and Peter Watt, two academics from Lancaster University. In the essay, the authors strive to draw supposed parallels between the  destructive “corporate workplace culture” of present-day capitalism and the Stakhanov movement of the 1930s. Whilst their depiction of the dehumanising character of social relations under capitalism is spot-on, the attempt to paint social relations in the USSR with the same brush is a grotesque calumny which vanishes in a puff of air when exposed to the historical record. Continue reading “Corporate workplace burn-out culture is no match for Socialist emulation”

Kalashnikov: The designer of the weapon of uprisings and revolutions.

Translated from an article originally written in Greek by Dimitris Patelis

(Associate Professor of Philosophy, Technical University of Crete, member of the Association of Revolutionary Theory) 

Young comrades have asked me to write something about Kalashnikov, who passed away on the 23rd December 2013. I had the good fortune to meet the legendary engineer-gunsmith Mikhail Kalashnikov in April 1998 in Izhevsk, Udmurtia, Urals. At 81 then, he impressed me with his incredible vitality, good-natured smile and the sparkle in his eyes. “Speak loudly to me, my son” – he would tell me, “I have been shooting all my life, working in shooting ranges and factories. I am hard of hearing… ”.

Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov was the seventeenth child of a rural family (eight out of the eighteen children survived). His biography provides a unique and at the same time illustrative picture of the history of the Soviet people, of the triumph and tragedy of the first country of early socialism (see: Patelis’ “Lessons from history. October Revolution: the contradictions of early socialism and the prospects of humanity”), but also the development of military technology (see: “Armed forces and war technique in history. Militarisation of science and technology”). Continue reading “Kalashnikov: The designer of the weapon of uprisings and revolutions.”

Art in the service of anti-communism? Anything goes.

Expose this foul slander of the Red Army

Mark Kermode’s Guardian review of the latest Soviet-bashing film, ‘Dear Comrades!’, is nothing if not tasteful. (Dear Comrades! review – dreams and disillusionment of a Communist party stalwart, Mark Kermode, Guardian 17 January 2021)

The film’s director, Andrei Konchalovsky, is praised for this “disturbingly handsome feature” which “presents its bleakly crisp black-and-white images in a retro 4×3 frame”, whilst the cinematographer, Andrey Naydenov, is congratulated on his achievement of “an utterly convincing air of mounting chaos, brilliantly captured on multiple cameras”. But all this obsession with aesthetic form is merely to sugar  the pill of yet more bitter anti-communism. It is like complimenting Leni Riefenstal on her artful camera angles in “Triumph of the Will”. Continue reading “Art in the service of anti-communism? Anything goes.”

Beware of the “erratic Marxist” Greek bearing his toxic gifts

An antidote to the corrosive effects of Varoufakis’ snake oil on class sonsciousness

We keep coming across this performer of conjuring verbal tricks Yanis Varoufakis and his latest snake oil branded “cure against techno-feudalism”. After his Guardian-acclaimed numbers as an acrobat somersaulting in the Eurogroup’s stage and his melodramas as “erratic Marxist” shunned by the Brussels baddies (which brought millions of Greeks to real tears),Yanis embarks on the role of his career as juggler of Communist allure. Continue reading “Beware of the “erratic Marxist” Greek bearing his toxic gifts”