The working class becomes subject in the art of Gustave Courbet

by Janny Farrell

People’s World | June 05, 2019

The working class becomes subject in the art of Gustave Courbet

Gustave Courbet, The Stone Breakers, 1850. (Destroyed)

A constant feature of any news program in the capitalist world is “Business News” and reports from the stock markets. Those who toil to create the profits are always absent from the story. This is particularly apparent to me because I grew up in the German Democratic Republic and at school, even our literature books always included paintings with a working class or socialist subject matter. Some of these left an indelible impression on me, so much so that I still think of them and occasionally look at them even all these decades later. One of these paintings is Gustave Courbet’s Stone Breakers.Read More »

Letter to Marx on Mayday


A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of Communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre; Pope and Czar, Metternich and Guizot, French radicals and German police spies. – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto

The London tomb of German philosopher Karl Marx has been vandalised for the second time in two weeks. The words ‘Doctrine of Hate’ and ‘Architect of Genocide’ were daubed in red on the grave of Highgate Cemetery’s most famous resident. A marble plaque was also smashed up in the ‘senseless, stupid, ignorant’ attack, said the charity which runs the cemetery. – The Independent, February 16th 2019Read More »

‘Heed the truth/Spoken by the youth!’ Stories of political activism by young people at the Battle of Cable Street


'Heed the truth/Spoken by the youth!' Stories of political activism by young people at the Battle of Cable Street

As young people take to the streets to protest about climate change, Kim Reynolds discusses the way political activism by young people at the Battle of Cable Street has been portrayed in radical children’s literature, and urges us to ‘heed the truth/Spoken by the youth’

What has come to be known as ‘The Battle of Cable Street’ was a working-class uprising that took place in the East End of London on the 4th of October, 1936. Over the decades, it has taken on legendary significance in the UK because it is credited with defining British opposition to fascism and so shaping Britain’s role in World War II. That claim is exaggerated; nevertheless, the events in Cable Street saw approximately 250,000 anti-fascist demonstrators from a great range of backgrounds converge to prevent Oswald Mosley and 3,000 members of his British Union of Fascists from marching through the largely Jewish East End of London.Read More »

Mayday poem: The Company Board


Mayday poem: The Company Board

The propertied class and the class of the proletariat present the same human self-estrangement. But the former class feels at ease and strengthened in this self-estrangement, it recognizes estrangement as its own power, and has in it the semblance of a human existence. The class of the proletariat feels annihilated; this means that they cease to exist in estrangement. It sees its own powerlessness and the reality of an inhuman existence.
– Karl Marx

Co-opting an individual usually involves giving him or her a desirable role in the design or implementation of the change. Co-opting a group involves giving one of its leaders, or someone it respects, a key role in the design or implementation of a change. This is not a form of participation, however, because the initiators do not want the advice of the co-opted, merely his or her endorsement.

– Harvard Business ReviewRead More »

Gabriel García Márquez, your word is life


Granma | April 23, 2019

Fidel and García Márquez, two men who will never leave us. Photo: Granma Archives

At the Concert Hall in Stockholm, where he was awarded the 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature, Gabriel García Márquez, who left the real world five years ago, to live eternally in the hearts of his millions of readers, expressed to a mostly European audience: “… Solidarity with our dreams does not make us feel less alone, as long as it is not concretized with acts of legitimate support for the peoples that assume the illusion of having a life of our own in the world’s making.”And later he questioned: “Why is the originality that is admitted without reserve in literature denied us, with all kinds of suspicions, in our difficult attempts at social change? … Nonetheless, in the face of oppression, plunder, and abandonment, our response is life.”Read More »

‘The Wolves’ explores the inner lives of a girls’ soccer team

by Eric A. Gordon

Peoples’ World | March 22, 2019

‘The Wolves’ explores the inner lives of a girls’ soccer team

The ensemble / Darrett Sanders

LOS ANGELES—Girls’ and women’s sports may still be underreported and undervalued, but it seems it’s a hot subject in the theatre right now. We recently reviewed an all-female cast in For the Love Of (Or, The Roller Derby Play); and now comes the L.A. premiere of Sarah DeLappe’s Pulitzer Prize finalist The Wolves in an Echo Theater Company production. It too has an all-woman cast, all but one members of a competitive soccer team at the junior high school level.

Read More »

Mark Twain’s profound understanding of history

by kulturalia

MARK TWAIN in his bed, aged 73. He would be dead in two years. (He was photographed in 1908 via the Autochrome Lumiere process.)

It is not generally realized that America’s most beloved humorist was deeply stirred by the sight of social injustice, and many times went out of his way to give voice to his feelings. His recently published biography shows that influences were at work during his lifetime to repress him, and it would seem that such influences are still active after his death.Read More »