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Communists, Socialists, And Anarachists Oh My

The Internationale, the anthem of international socialism, has been sung in many different ways. The original French. In Irish - Gaelic. In Russian. Hungarian. Romanian. By Billy Bragg. By Alistair Hulett and Jimmy Gregory. As Disco. As Chinese rock karaoke. As Gypsy guitar.
posted by The Whelk on May 1, 2010 - 35 comments

 

Candy Packers of the World, Unite!

Celebrate the eight-hour work day, dance around a pole, affirm your patriotism to beat the reds, build your community through candy and flower filled baskets, and get caught in flagrante delicto: it's a very special day. Previously, previously
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Apr 30, 2010 - 31 comments

"The most important questions regarding North Korea are the ones least often asked: What do the North Koreans believe? How do they see themselves and the world around them?"

Hitch reads up on North Korea: "I have recently donned the bifocals provided by B.R. Myers in his electrifying new book The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters, and I understand now that I got the picture either upside down or inside out. The whole idea of communism is dead in North Korea, and its most recent "Constitution," "ratified" last April, has dropped all mention of the word. The analogies to Confucianism are glib, and such parallels with it as can be drawn are intended by the regime only for the consumption of outsiders. Myers makes a persuasive case that we should instead regard the Kim Jong-il system as a phenomenon of the very extreme and pathological right. It is based on totalitarian "military first" mobilization, is maintained by slave labor, and instills an ideology of the most unapologetic racism and xenophobia." Read the first chapter here.
posted by ocherdraco on Feb 2, 2010 - 59 comments

Satan Satan Satan Satan

The devil rides out - How Dennis Wheatley sold black magic to Britain.
posted by Artw on Jan 30, 2010 - 23 comments

Lovetown

Queens of Poland Long review/essay at the DRB on Michał Witkowski's Lubiewo (forthcoming in English translation as Lovetown; extract here), a book about gay life in Poland both in the days of communism and the subsequent Third Republic.
posted by Abiezer on Jan 17, 2010 - 7 comments

20 years ago, Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu were executed.

"The verdict was read out after a few hours. The Ceausescus were sentenced to death. They had ten days to appeal, but the sentence was to be carried out immediately. A nod to Kafka." 20 years ago on Christmas Day, the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena were sentenced to death by an impromptu revolutionary tribunal and executed by firing squad. The Times speaks with one of the men who was there that day. Footage of their trial. Translated transcript of the trial, courtesy of the very informative ceausescu.org. [more inside]
posted by Sticherbeast on Dec 24, 2009 - 21 comments

Imperialist Beetles

The American Imperialists have sent potato beetle by clouds and air to our Republic. He May Be a Communist.
posted by Gratishades on Nov 22, 2009 - 23 comments

Jelly Donuts or Bananas?

"In hindsight, it’s often seen as inevitable that the two Germanys would reunite. But this, too, is a somewhat revisionist view. " Tim Mohr writes about the "awkward twist" about the fall of the wall, many of the protestors did not seek unification.
posted by The Whelk on Nov 12, 2009 - 17 comments

1989, revolution in Eastern Europe

The BBC World Service has put together a special report on the 1989 revolutions in Eastern Europe (they also have a simpler portal). There is a wealth of material, including TV reports on key events from the BBC archives, interviews, a map timeline, a report on Catholicism's role in the 1989 revolutions, a first-hand report of what it was like to gather news in East Germany during that time and much more.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 27, 2009 - 20 comments

Why the Chinese support the Communist party

Why the Chinese support the Communist party Interviews with four elderly Chinese. Among the answers: "We used to live in a tiny house, over ten people all together, just a place of over ten square metres. Now I often say to my husband that life has been totally different for our grandchildren, not only from ours, but from their parents too. They have nothing to worry about, no need to worry about food, clothes."
posted by shetterly on Oct 4, 2009 - 52 comments

The form of the Joint Dictatorship of the Proletariat of Oppressed Nations

I have proposed, in the past, that the Joint Dictatorship of the Proletariat of Oppressed Nations should disperse the Amerikkkans throughout the Third World instead of allowing them to remain in occupied North America. Here are some of my reasons.
[more inside]
posted by shii on Sep 29, 2009 - 93 comments

Arthur Ransome: Beloved Children's Author was a noted fan of the Lake District, and also Bolshevik Revolutionaries

Yet another 20th century English author in bed with the communists? Literally, in this case - Arthur Ransome might be best known for his 'Swallows & Amazons' books about children sailing in the idyllic Lake District, but before all that, he left his first wife (and a libel case that got him mixed up with Oscar Wilde's lover, Lord Alfred Douglas) to study fairy tales in Russia... only there he fell in love with Leon Trotsky's private secretary, ended up working for the Bolsheviks and also MI6. [more inside]
posted by Sifter on Aug 13, 2009 - 35 comments

Everyday life in the USSR

Real USSR is a blog containing commentaries on everyday life in the former Soviet Union. The liberal use of family and other amateur photos provides unusual insight into the daily experience of Soviet life. Topics range from 1940s homemade double-exposure photography to queueing to USSR - the birthplace of feminism. via
posted by Rumple on Aug 5, 2009 - 23 comments

Kocham Reksio!

Bolek i Lolek and Reksio are both Polish cartoons with little dialogue and similiar animation style. Both cartoons originated in the 60s (during the Communist era in Poland), and were extremely popular for decades. Due to their general lack of vocalization (except for Bolek i Lolek's later seasons), both cartoons were easy to bring to other markets. Famously, Bolek i Lolek was one of the cartoons broadcast on Iranian television after the 1979 revolution. [more inside]
posted by Askiba on Aug 2, 2009 - 11 comments

"Files Vanished, Young Chinese Lose the Future."

Imagine you're living in China, trying to work your way out of the family date farming business (which garners approximately $450 annually). You do all the right things. You apply for (and receive) Communist Party membership. You study literally to the point of collapse, and despite coming from coal-town origins, you score high on your gao kao ("high test," more-or-less the only thing that matters in getting into a Chinese university). Your already-poor family goes deep into debt to send you to college, and you even manage to come out with a degree. Classic rise-up-by-your-own-bootstraps tale, right? However, finally, when you go to apply for a job—your state-sanctioned educational, occupational, and political records are inexplicably, awfully gone. What has happened to that plain manila folder (!) that serves as your only legitimate, official history in Chinese society? Probably stolen and sold so a party official's child can get everything you worked so hard for. And then, of course, your family is detained by party officials when your parents demand to know where the hell your life went. Of course. [more inside]
posted by Keter on Jul 27, 2009 - 47 comments

Living communally in Russia

Kommunalka - communal apartments - were begun by the Bolsheviks in Russia at the end of the Russian Revolution to address overcrowding in cities - and also to punish the bourgeoisie who had previously lived in comfort. Kommunalka were an enduring social experiment, where multiple families were assigned by the state to live together in close quarters with no expectation of privacy. It was not uncommon for tenants to spy on each other. Though communism ended in Russia almost two decades ago, Kommunalka still exist today.
posted by contessa on Jul 18, 2009 - 18 comments

A spectre is haunting Western academia

Slavoj Žižek recently gave five talks under the title Masterclass - Notes Towards a Definition of Communist Culture. It sez 'ere, "The master class analyses phenomena of modern thought and culture with the intention to discern elements of possible Communist culture. It moves at two levels: first, it interprets some cultural phenomena (from today’s architecture to classic literary works like Rousseau’s La Nouvelle Heloise) as failures to imagine or enact a Communist culture; second, it explores attempts at imagining how a Communist culture could look, from Wagner’s Ring to Kafka’s and Beckett’s short stories and contemporary science fiction novels." Audio of Zizek's talks and subsequent discussion is now online: Part I Utopias; Part II Architecture as Ideology; Part III Wagner’s Ring as a Communist narrative; Part IV Populism and Democracy; Part V Environment, Identity and Multiculturalism. Those who like to watch the beard in motion will find links to video of some of the talks posted here.
posted by Abiezer on Jun 22, 2009 - 29 comments

Bonsoir, Monsieur COK!

Bonsoir, Monsieur COK!
Dans un formidable élan de générosité notre patron adoré nous offre enfin la possibilité de voir son FILM sur la toile!
A short film about efficiencies in bomb manufacturing.
posted by boo_radley on Jun 15, 2009 - 16 comments

Proletarians of All Lands, Unite!

Peasant! Free your pregnant wife from work, don't allow her to pick up heavy items since this will harm her and the child. An excellent collection of vintage soviet propaganda, public health, and infographics posters from 20s to 30s, many with full translations.
posted by madamjujujive on Jun 7, 2009 - 17 comments

No freedom without Solidarity

June 4, 2009 marks 20 years since Poland's first semi-free election under Communism. The election marked the beginning of the end for Polish Communism with its overwhelming mandate for the pro-democracy movement, Solidarity. Today, the world recognizes Poland's accomplishment.
posted by orrnyereg on Jun 4, 2009 - 15 comments

You don't even have to be a Marxist to enjoy it

Everything you ever wanted to read about left-wing political theory but were afraid to look up. [more inside]
posted by cthuljew on Mar 23, 2009 - 67 comments

Sustainable Development or Green Menace?

Apparently some members of the far-right have figured it out! Environmentalists are communists! Being green is tantamount to an attack on "Western culture, and the Judeo-Christian and Islamic religions". Think this is just an American phenomenon? Think again...
posted by JVA on Jan 16, 2009 - 27 comments

Communist Christmas

Communist Christmas. There's a red star up on the Christmas tree. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Dec 13, 2008 - 20 comments

He made her forget she was a Communist.

He's a madman, she thought as he made love to her again. Oh my God, after twenty years of being the most rational Bolshevik woman in Moscow, this goblin has driven me crazy! Oh joy! It's time for the annual Bad Sex Award. Shortlist is up at The Guardian.
posted by jokeefe on Nov 25, 2008 - 69 comments

Someone is peeling Kundera's onion for him.

The czech magazine Respekt, known for its investigative reporting, has published a story claiming prize winning author and anti-communist dissident Milan Kundera denounced a young exile who was back in Prague to the communist secret police. [more inside]
posted by lucia__is__dada on Oct 14, 2008 - 22 comments

The last American Maoist in China

In the 1950s, American Communists fled to China. The idealists returned home and got book deals. But one pragmatist remained behind. [more inside]
posted by shii on Aug 29, 2008 - 21 comments

America the Godly

One nation under God. The "bold conservative" GOP Congressman Paul Broun from Georgia is intent upon removing a vexing comma from that phrase in the Pledge of Allegiance, which was amended in 1954 when President Eisenhower was moved by a sermon by one Reverend George M. Docherty on the need to defend America from the "militantly atheistic communism that has already enslaved 800 million of the peoples of the earth, and now menaces the rest of the free world."
posted by digaman on Apr 15, 2008 - 147 comments

Modern "Utopias" or Modern..Communism?

This whole "money" thing got you down? Two artists in their late twenties moved to NYC for a few years and freaked out by the cost of living, so they decide creating an American kibbutz, minus the dining hall wiener schnitzels, up state is the way to go.
posted by bondgirl53001 on Apr 11, 2008 - 34 comments

North Korea's Soccer Hero

70 year old Pak Doo-Ik will lead North Korea's prestigious Olympic torch bearers to Beijing this summer. In the 1966 World Cup at Middlesborough, Pak scored the goal that lead his team to a stunning 1-0 upset win over Italy (video). Pak Doo-Ik and the team returned home as heroes, but ultimately fell under the suspicion of North Korean leadership. The team underwent "mental re-education" and were exiled, Pak Doo-Ik spending ten years as a forest laborer. Dear Leader Kim Jong-il later allowed Pak to coach North Korea's national soccer team, and a fascinating 2002 BBC documentary brought Pak Doo Ik back to the international stage.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Mar 27, 2008 - 12 comments

Commie Kids Telly

One rather strange minor cultural phenomena you experienced as a kid growing up in 60s and 70s Britain was a number of television programs that originated from beyond the Iron Curtain. Most infamous was the downright scary The Singing Ringing Tree from East Germany (Radio4 doc), later spoofed by the Fast Show but there were several others... [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Mar 13, 2008 - 25 comments

Commemorating the Holodomor

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Holodomor. The Holodomor was the starvation of millions of Ukranians at the hands of the Soviets. The Ukranian government is using this year to push for greater recognition for the genocide. Ukranian communities in Australia, Canada and all over the globe are holding events all year in the lead up to this years Holodomor day on November 25.
posted by sien on Mar 9, 2008 - 14 comments

It's The Ones Who've Cracked That The Light Shines Through

Jeffrey Lewis brings you The Complete History of Punk Rock and Its Development on the Lower East Side (1950-1975) in eight and a half minutes. [more inside]
posted by StopMakingSense on Feb 27, 2008 - 24 comments

The People's Singer

"If Communists liked what we did, that was their good luck," said Lee Hays, founding member of the Almanac Singers. A fascinating portrait of one of the linchpins of the politically engaged folk movement of the '40s and '50s. Hays sang beside the more celebrated (and, on one important day in Bob Dylan history, infamous) Pete Seeger on such classic Almanac albums as Talking Union. [Listen here.]
posted by digaman on Feb 18, 2008 - 9 comments

The metafilter of extremism

Suicide bombers in Valhalla "Sverige fights back! I'll see the heroes in Valhalla, inshallah." Where can you find an eclectic mix of Fascists, Libertarian Socialists, Trotskyists, National Anarchists, DPRK apologists, Dixie lovers, Christian Reconstructionists and Islamists all in one place? [more inside]
posted by symbioid on Feb 15, 2008 - 20 comments

The Rise of China

The Rise of China and the Future of the West: Can the Liberal System Survive? "China's rise will inevitably bring the United States' unipolar moment to an end. But that does not necessarily mean a violent power struggle or the overthrow of the Western system. The U.S.-led international order can remain dominant even while integrating a more powerful China -- but only if Washington sets about strengthening that liberal order now." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Dec 29, 2007 - 29 comments

Pete Seeger condemns Stalin...

The pleasant but hagiographical Pete Seeger: The Power of Song (production company website w/ trailer) is playing in New York and Los Angeles. The movie is entirely uncritical... prompting this response by Ron Radosh who is interviewed in the film, but whose critical comments were left out. But most interesting is this followup article by Radosh describing Seeger's response and a new song against Stalin. The filmmaker comes out worst in Radosh's account... [more inside]
posted by Jahaza on Nov 16, 2007 - 22 comments

The Fever Dream of Comrade Koolhaas

Delirious Moscow: a survey on stellar and interstellar Soviet constructivist architecture, or, buildings in the time before Stalin (with pictures).
posted by Falconetti on Oct 11, 2007 - 6 comments

Railway of Bones

Dead Road - Museum of Communism in the Open. "It was one of the most ambitious projects of the Stalin era, known as the 'railway of bones'. At least 10 people a day died during the four years of its construction [actually 1947-1953], but unlike most of Uncle Joe's grand designs it was never completed and now sits unfinished in the tundra, an icy road to nowhere." The transpolar railway was built by labour camps^ 501 and 503 and construction was stopped after the amnesty following Stalin's death in 1953; 800km, about half, was built. Some sections are currently in operation, but much is abandoned: depot and locomotives in Dolgoe, Dolgoe itself, labour camps, more spectacular decay. (Previously: Norilsk, which was supposed to see an extension of the line.)
posted by parudox on Aug 27, 2007 - 13 comments

More Luxury Hotels Required

SimCity 2008, Scenario: Beijing. Prepare your city for the 2008 Olympics. Raze slums, build luxury hotels, and stadiums. Make the nation, and the world, proud!
posted by SansPoint on Jun 11, 2007 - 38 comments

East German Commercials

East Germany suffers from a posthumous image problem. People think that life in the former GDR was a dreary round of dodging the secret police and mandatory attendance at Boy-Loves-Tractor films. Nothing could be further from the truth. Life in the GDR was fun. You could take pictures with ORWO Film (mildly NSFW. Five seconds of toplessness at 1:15). You could zip through the countryside in your MZ. You could fit every soccer ball in the neighborhood in your Wartburg. And for the ultimate in class-conscious, revolutionary mackitude, there was the Trabant. If these little clips aren’t enough, if you want a whole bunch of East German commercials, here’s a long video called Flotter Osten (Again, mildly NSFW: Same topless shot for about five seconds at 8:07).
posted by jason's_planet on May 6, 2007 - 42 comments

Let's see if Jesus will bring you candy!

If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do? (1971). This film based on the pro-Jesus/anti-Commie teachings of Baptist minister Dr. Estus Washington Pirkle (3/12/1930–3/3/05) warns what will happen to America if the citizens do not give up their depraved ways and turn to God and Jesus for salvation. Fun for the whole family! Also by Reverend Pirkle: The Burning Hell & The Believer's Heaven. Good times.
posted by miss lynnster on Apr 20, 2007 - 22 comments

Kaysone Phomvihane

He fought battles on the Plain of Jars, hid his rebel faction in caves for nine years to escape U.S bombs and now has a huge museum in Vientiane. Laos' Kaysone Phomvihane is not the most well documented 20th century communist leader. And not everybody is happy about him of course. But if you want to judge him for yourself go to Laos and visit those caves or visit his humble residence and have a look at his tennis shoes.
posted by PHINC on Apr 19, 2007 - 10 comments

Korean War POWs who defected to China

At the end of the Korean War, James Veneris was an American POW awaiting repatriation. But when his time came, he—along with twenty other Americans and a Briton—declined to leave and chose to cast his lot with Mao and the Chinese Communist Party. Over time, almost all of these men became disillusioned with Marxism and eventually returned to their homelands. The Cold War that informed their decisions has become a chapter in the history books but the story of Western defectors to the Communist bloc is just now being written.
posted by jason's_planet on Jan 4, 2007 - 9 comments

The Kremlin minutes

Diary of a Collapsing Superpower - "Seventeen years ago, the Berlin Wall fell, and two years later the Soviet Union broke apart. More than 1,400 minutes published earlier this month in Russia from meetings that took place behind the closed doors of the Politburo in Moscow read like a thriller from the highest levels of the Kremlin. They reveal Mikhail Gorbachev as a party chief who had to fight bitterly for his reforms and ultimately lost his battle. But in doing so, he changed the course of history and helped bring an end to the Cold War."
posted by Gyan on Nov 28, 2006 - 32 comments

Cuban political billboards

"Señores imperialistas, no les tenemos ningún miedo!" : Political billboards from Cuba
posted by champthom on Nov 25, 2006 - 10 comments

Neo-Maoism in China

Conditions of the Working Classes in China is an essay that presents a Marxist perspective on the changes taking place in China. The author addresses the tensions between workers and employers, antagonisms between city workers and impoverished migrants from the countryside and the political fights between those who support the moves towards a market economy and those convinced that Mao had it right all along.
posted by jason's_planet on Nov 12, 2006 - 31 comments

Hungary 1956. Still divided after Fifty years.

Fifty years ago, on October 23, 1956, Hungarians rose up in a violent revolt against the Soviet occupation and Communist domination of their government and country. The revolt was not materially supported by NATO or its allies, and - given the timing - was doomed to failure. Today, many of the heroes are forgotten. After 16 years of democratic government, Hungarian politics is still bitterly divided and Hungarians are unable to celebrate this anniversary with a single united National ceremony.
posted by zaelic on Oct 22, 2006 - 8 comments

Ain't no Mao no mo'

Mao who?
posted by mr_crash_davis on Sep 1, 2006 - 36 comments

Pictures of subway riders in Moscow

Riding the rails in Russia And I thought my guitar took up some space on the bus...
posted by persona non grata on Aug 30, 2006 - 17 comments

Laszlo Kovacs, Vilmos Zsigmund, and the Hungarian Revolution

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. A key documentary artifact of the uprising is Magyarország lángokban (Hungary in Flames) [embedded .wmv], partly composed of footage shot by two young film school students using whatever equipment they could find. Narrowly avoiding capture by the Communists, the duo smuggled 10,000 feet of film out of the country in spare tires and potato sacks; there's much more to the story, but better to hear Vilmos tell it in his own words. [.rm] Eventually, they made their way to America, where László Kovács, ASC (Five Easy Pieces, Ghost Busters, more) and Vilmos Zsigmund, ASC (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Deliverance, more) became two of the most prolific cinematographers in Hollywood history. [more inside]
posted by milquetoast on Aug 8, 2006 - 7 comments

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