FOLLOW US ON:
GET THE NEWSLETTER
CONTACT US
‘Our Lenin’: Soviet propaganda book for kids, 1934
01.17.2014
06:07 am

Topics:
Art
Books
Class War

Tags:
Communism
propaganda
Lenin

Our Lenin
 
While the word “propaganda” has a rather nasty, manipulative connotation, it isn’t necessarily defined as “lies” per se. All that WPA art encouraging people to brush their teeth and get tested for syphilis? Excellent uses of propaganda! And whether you’re trying to organize a community garden or start your own fascist regime, I think the most effective propaganda follows that same model of simple, informative, attractive messaging, easily interpreted by children or the uneducated. Catch ‘em young, and make it pretty, I always say.

Our Lenin, a children’s biography of Vladimir Lenin, does this perfectly. Translated and adapted from a Russian book, the US version of Our Lenin was published in 1934 by the US Communist Party. Although teaching the kiddies to revere Vladimir Lenin uncritically is certainly problematic (to say the least), the book is a beautifully executed piece of messaging, and the illustrations are just exquisite.
 
Our Lenin
 
Our Lenin
World War 1
 
Our Lenin
Would you like a socialist utopia, or capitalist fascism? Pick carefully now, children!
 
Our Lenin
Ohhhh, so that’s how it works. Seems easy enough.
 
Via Just Seeds

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING: DADA, a ‘destructive agitation against everything’
12.31.2013
08:46 am

Topics:
Art
History

Tags:
Lenin
Dada

DADAManifbulletin.jpg
 
When he was in exile in Zurich in 1916, the Bolshevik leader, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin would visit the DADAist club Cabaret Voltaire. Lenin was writing his revolutionary plans for a future socialist Russia, and he was living in an apartment nearby the club. The Cabaret Voltaire had been founded by Hugo Ball and Emmy Hennings, with the intention of making it a cabaret for radical artistic and political purposes. It was also a focal point for refugees and conscientious objectors, who had fled to Switzerland to avoid fighting in the First World War.

Lenin considered himself quite revolutionary, but when confronted with the nonsense poems, the shouting and verbal abuse, the noise poems, and the endless drumming, the future Russian leader was left confused, and wondered whether this was perhaps how real revolution began? Where these performers more revolutionary than Lenin himself? Or, were they just privileged bourgeoisie play-acting at being revolutionaries? Lenin approached one of the performers and said:

”I don’t know how radical you are, or how radical I am. I am certainly not radical enough; that is, one must always be as radical as reality itself.”

DADA was like Punk, but without the Rock. It was subversive, dangerous and revolutionary. European DADA was originally created as a protest movement against war. It was formed by a small group of immigrants from Germany (Hugo Ball, Emmy Hennings, Richard Hülsenbeck), Romania (Marcel Janco, Tristan Tzara), and Austria (Walter Serner). These individuals were politically motivated, and wanted to express an new kind of mentality, a “destructive agitation against everything”:

No more painters, no more writers, no more musicians, no more sculptors, no more religions, no more republicans, no more royalists, no more imperialists, no more anarchists, no more socialists, no more Bolsheviks, no more politicians, no more proletarians, no more democrats, no more armies, no more police, no more nations, no more of these idiocies, no more, no more, NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING.

Thus we hope that the novelty which will be the same thing as what we want will come into being less rotten, less immediately GROTESQUE.

DADA may have been a small movement, responding to the “moral bankruptcy” of the day, but its influence has touched upon almost all major artistic and cultural movements of the twentieth century.

Helmut Herbst’s 1968 documentary An Alphabet of German DADAism presents a comprehensive A-Z of the Germans artists and writers who contributed to DADA. Produced and directed by Helmut Herbst, with Hans Richter and Richard Hulsenbeck, featuring sound-artist Kurt Schwitters, satirist George Groz, and artist Max Ernst.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Kurt Schwitters performs ‘Ursonate’: ‘The Greatest sound poem of the 20th century’


 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Leftist Lemonade, Comrades!
07.07.2013
05:36 pm

Topics:
Amusing

Tags:
Lenin
kitsch
Leninade

Leninade
 
Real Soda in Real Bottles’ founder Danny Ginsburg came up with name and idea of Leninade as a joke in 1987 when he drew the bottle’s label in Russian language class.  It became a real drink eleven years ago, “Simple Soviet Style Soda,” that is “worth standing in line for,” with high kitsch value. 

My favorite slogan is “Surprisingly Satisfying Soviet Refreshment, ” a play on the Cyrillic letters CCCP (USSR). It tastes like any other carbonated sweet pink lemonade, but is unrivaled as a conversation-piece beverage (try serving it at your next партия with some Willie Nelson Spring Water for some cool refreshing cognitive dissonance). It supposedly tastes good mixed with vodka, as is only appropriate. 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Lenin in Los Angeles
 

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Leave a comment
Lenin in Los Angeles?
02.01.2012
11:02 am

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Lenin


Photo by Ana Bustilloz/LAist

Driving down La Brea Avenue in Hollywood the other day, I did a double-take when I spotted this amazing gleaming bust of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.

What’s a massive chrome bust of the Bolshevik leader of the October Revolution doing chilling on one of LA’s premiere shopping strips catering to bourgeois hipsters who want to purchase expensive lamps, rugs and designer furniture, you ask?

“Miss Mao Trying to Poise Herself at the Top of Lenin’s Head” is by the Gao Brothers, Gao Zhen and Gao Qiang, who have made quite a name for themselves by making controversial art focusing on the mixed legacies of some of world Communism’s historical figures.

From the LA Times:

Their specialty, however, is Mao. The Beijing artists have created works including a sculpture of the former chairman kneeling on the ground (and with a removable head), a series of torso sculptures of Mao sporting large female breasts, and another sculpture depicting Mao in a submissive sexual position.

One of their best-known works is a sculptural installation called “The Execution of Christ,” featuring the Messiah in front of a firing squad. One member of the firing squad is Mao.

Their work also verges into performance art. On their website, the artists report on one such performance in which they smashed one of their big-breasted Mao sculptures while wearing Mao masks.

This sculpture is really amazing. It’s presently sitting in front of the Ace Museum at the corner of La Brea and 4th Street.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Beautiful Failure on Film: Fanny Kaplan’s Unsuccessful Assassination Attempt on Lenin

image
 
“Try and fail, but don’t fail to try.” That common platitude seems entirely apropos today, on the 92nd anniversary of the attempted assassination of Communist Russian leader Vladimir Lenin by young Fanya Yefimovna “Fanni” Kaplan.

The Ukranian-born Kaplan was born in 1890 to a Jewish family and joined the Socialist Revolutionaries (or Esers) early on in life. At 16, she was busted for her involvement in a terrorist bomb plot and sent to one of Tsar Nicolas II’s Siberian prison for 11 years. Kaplan’s brutal tenure there was cut short after the February Revolution led by Lenin.

But her disillusionment with the leader came hard and fast, as Lenin’s Bolsheviks sought and succeeded to dissolve the elected Constituent Assembly, a key instrument of democracy during the revolution. Lenin’s move in 1917 to put all power in the hands of the workers councils—or Soviets—convinced Kaplan to take matters into her own hands.

As portrayed in the clip below from Mikhail Romm’s 1939 propaganda film Lenin in 1918, Kaplan got three or so shots off after the leader spoke at a Moscow factory. Lenin, who was 48 years old at the time, was hit in the shoulder and jaw—he survived, but the injuries were thought to contribute to his death by stroke 6 years later.

Fanny was shot dead five days after the attempt at age 28, and within a few hours the Red Terror—a four-year program of mass arrest and execution of counterrevolutionary enemies of the state—had begun.
 

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
Brilliantly animated Soviet history from a workers perspective—to the tune of Tetris

image
 
Really creative stuff here. UK designer and video artist Chris Lince has put together a fantastic video for his fellow Brits in the group Pig With the Face of a Boy, which describes itself as “the world’s best neo-post-post music hall anti-folk band.”

The song, “A Complete History Of The Soviet Union Through The Eyes Of A Humble Worker, Arranged To The Melody Of Tetris” (that melody is actually the 19th-century Russian folk song “Korbeiniki”) is clever enough, packing a 70-year history into seven minutes. But the metaphor of the famously addictive video game truly comes alive in Lince’s atmospheric vid. He captures the grime, the grit, and the blocks beautifully. I’m not a gigantic fan of satirical musical comedy, but I think this is executed really well.
 

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
Have a Slice of Iron Fist
07.30.2009
03:05 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Politics

Tags:
Lenin

image

 

Cake Wrecks recently held a “dead Lenin cake caption contest.”   I say, “Cake eaters of the world unite!”

 

image


Thanks Paige!

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment