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Salvador Dalí proposed to enslave “all the coloured races” as part of a new world order.

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Short Answer: Yes.

Salvador Dalí wanted to enslave races he considered inferior and establish a sadistic world religion, according to a newly discovered letter, which was written as fascism was on the rise in Europe.

The ‘I’ (the highly recommended daily, which the Tendance always buys) continues.

The Spanish surrealist proposed the enslavement of “all the coloured races” as part of the new world order, which would be “anti-Christian and materialistic and based on the progress of science”.

“The domination or submission to slavery of all the coloured races” could be possible, Dali said, “if all the whites united fanatically”.

In the letter, which was written in 1935, Dalí also insisted on the need for human sacrifices but did not specify what these should be.

This is worse than even a lifelong hater of Dalí would expect.

The letter is published in El País  (unfortunately you need an on-line sub for this article: El día que Dalí inventó una religión racista). There is a short report in Pousta, Dalí quería fundar una religión racista.

Dalí wrote the letter to André Breton, the French writer and co-founder of the Surrealist art movement.

Surrealism was offered an outline by Breton in 1924. It is “pure psychic automatism, by which it is intended to express…the real process of thought. It is the dictation of thought, free from any control by the reason and of any aesthetic or moral preoccupation.” His two Manifestes du surréalisme (1924, 1930) contain a lot more, including reference to Swift, “surrealist in his nastiness”, Sade,”surrealist in his sadism”, Rimbaud “surrealist in the way he lived, and elsewhere”. The first Manifesto declares its commitment to “absolute non-conformism”.

The second, declared their commitment to Historical Materialism, and Social Revolution, but not to the principle of “proletarian art”. Breton saw no signs of a separate working class literature and art even under the existing “proletarian regime” of the USSR. It would be, he asserted, citing Trotsky writing in 1923, be after a long and painful transition period, up to those living in a full communist future to develop their own forms of artistic development.

Nadja (1928), “un récit autobiographique” is, for many, Breton’s best book although  L’Amour fou, “le mot ‘convulsive’…pour qualifier la beauté”, (1937) rivals it. Both are published with the written text and (black and white) surrealist paintings, photos and images. There is this, amongst many memorable passages, from Nadja, “l’émancipation humaine à tous égards, entendons nous bien, selon les moyens que chacun dispose, demeure la seule cause qui soit digne de servir.” Human emancipation, in every respect, let’s be clear, with the means that everybody had, remains the only cause that is worth serving.”

Many of the Surrealists had deep ties to the left. in 1931 they published a Manifesto against the official ‘Colonial Exhibition’ in Paris: « Ne visitez pas l’Exposition coloniale » : le manifeste du groupe des surréalistes en 1931. Not content with protesting against the official event they organised their own counter-exhibition, “Surrealists and Communists in Paris A counter-exhibition that changed Western understanding of colonial cultures.”

Surrealist anti-colonial credentials were impeccable, despite accusations that they were publicity-seeking agitators and opportunists; their various tracts such as Don’t Visit the Colonial Exhibition railed against deportation of the Vietnamese, exploitation of colonies to fill the vaults of the French Central Bank, and the complicity of administrators, politicians, churchmen and industry in the repugnant idea of a Greater France. The empire’s colonial subjects were the allies of the world proletariat; it was pointless to distinguish between good and bad colonialism. Another pamphlet First Account of the Colonial Exhibition was published after a fire that destroyed the Dutch East Indies pavilion; the arrogance of the West considered its art superior to the native artefacts destroyed in that fire. The ‘savage’ was the justification for colonialism’s civilising mission, whereas for the Surrealists the savage was the superior civilisation.

There are plenty of political issues to explore in the relations between the surrealists and the political left, and particularly the fraught, eventually hostile, links Breton in particular had with the French Communist Party (PCF). There was also the transition of his founding surrealist comrade Paul Eluard to writing Ode à Staline (1950) or Louis Aragon from writing the 1920s fragments assembled as Les Aventures de Jean-Foutre La Bite to Editorship of the post-war PCF controlled Les Lettres françaises. The writer of the original surrealist manifestos, by contrast, protested against the Moscow Trials, in the late 1930s worked with Trotsky, and in 1938 they launched the Fédération internationale de l’art révolutionnaire indépendant. FIARI. In the 1950 Breton moved closer to anarchism, the Fédération anarchiste and wrote for the journal Libertaire.

There were plenty of conflicts between Breton and other surrealists for a wider variety of reasons, and his efforts to exert control over the movement had got him early on known as the “”Pape du surréalisme.” But one thing could be aid to bring them together: antifascism.

André Breton, put Dalí on “trial” in 1934 for “the glorification of Hitlerian fascism” and he was suspended. He was permanently expelled from the movement in 1939. The French surrealist’s enduring loathing of the Spanish artist is celebrated by his anagrammatic sobriquet for the painter, Avida Dollars.

This letter continues,

He said there was a need for “new hierarchies and more brutal and stricter than ever before” to “annihilate” Christianity.

“I believe that we surrealists are finally turning into priests,” Dali added.

He appeared to be scornful of Christianity’s altruism, adding: “We don’t want happiness for all men, rather the happiness of some to the detriment of others”.

The letter, which was published in El País newspaper on Thursday, was recently discovered in the digitalised personal library of Sebastian Gasch, an art critic who died in Barcelona in 1982. It had been verified by another historian who specialises in the work of Dalí, William Jeffett.

The Spanish site Cuatro says, “Tras recibir esta carta, Bretón expulsó a Dalí de su grupo.” After receiving this letter Breton kicked Dali out of his (Surrealist)group. (Los planes secretos de Salvador Dalí, al descubierto: el artista quería fundar una religión racista

The artist’s fascination with Hitler and fascism are well known but until now there has never been such an explicit expression of its values written by Dalí.

In other comments, made at the time, Dali admitted that he found Hitler “exciting”. He also said he found Nazism “hyper original” because he thought it was an example of surrealist government, with the swastika as a surrealist symbol.

The letter was part of the reason that he was permanently expelled from the Surrealist art movement in 1939. He had also professed admiration for lynchings in the United States.

During the long dictatorship of General Franco between 1939 and 1975, Dalí chose to stay living in Spain while many artists like his contemporary Pablo Picasso went into exile.

Many Spaniards admire his work but find his attitude towards the Franco regime difficult to accept. In his native Catalonia, there are few monuments to Dalí in Barcelona.

Sources from the Fundación Gala Salvador Dali, which guards the image of the artist who died in 1989, told the i: “These letters relate to the first attempt to expel from the surrealist movement.”

As is well known there is a lot of material on Dali and fascism.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 2, 2022 at 5:36 pm

Left Reactions to the Death of Mikhail Gorbachev (1931 – 2022).

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“The last socialist ” amongst the Russian leaders ?

“What did old communists and the general left expect from the USSR in the 1980s except it should be a counterweight to the USA and by its very existence frighten the rich and the rulers of the world into taking some notice of the needs of the poor? Nothing, any longer. And yet we felt a strange sense of relief, even a glimmer of hope, when Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in 1985. In spite of everything he seemed to represent our kind of socialism – indeed to judge by early statements, the sort of communism represented by the Italians, or the ‘socialism with a human face’ of the Prague Spring – which we had thought almost extinct there.

Curiously our admiration was not to be significant diminished by the tragedy of the dramatic failure inside the Soviet Union, which was almost total. More than any any other single man he became responsible for destroying it. But he had also been, one might say, almost single-handedly responsible for ending half a century’s nightmare of the threat of nuclear war, and in the Eastern Europe, for the decision to let go of the USSR’s satellite states. It was he who, in effect, tore down the Berlin Wall. Like many in the West I shall go on thinking of him with unalloyed gratitude and moral approval.”

Eric Hobsbawm. Interesting Times. 2002.

“Initially the re-established Communist Party welcomed ‘glasnost’ (openness) and ‘perestroika; (restructuring ) in the Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev. As these twin processes fell prey to forces favouring marketisation, privatisation, national separatism and the restoration of capitalism, the CP organised a series of large public meetings in alliance with former London mayor Ken Livingstone, Socialist Action Labour Party campaign group MP and others on the left.

The downfall of the Soviet Union and the socialist states of Eastern Europe in the early 1990s compelled British Communists to analyse the reasons for counter-revolution. The reconvened 41st congress of the CP in November 1992 made its assessment:

The root cause of the collapse lay in the particular forms of economic and political structure which developed in the Soviet Union, Specifically, the great mass of working class came to be progressively excluded from an drecut control over their economic and social destiny. The erosion of the very essence of socialism increasingly affected all aspects of Soviet society.

The Communist Party. 1920 – 2010. Robert Griffiths and Ben Stevenson. (Communist Party of Britain. CPB July 2010)

Comment:

Many on the left neither recognised any form of socialism, even Eurocommunism, in Gorbatchev, or the measures during his time in power, but welcomed openings to free expression and glasnost, without feeling any identity with the USSR regime. If it ever had a democratic shape in the first days of the October Revolution, the Bolsheviks under Lenin and before Stalin, eliminated political competition from the right and the left, during the Civil War. If they were bastards they were for some periods, during the Front Populaire in France and the fight against fascism in the 1930s, largely because of the existence of large Communist Parties in Europe, sometimes “our” bastards.

As for the CPSU it did not take more than casual acquaintance and reading to know that its ‘socialism’ excluded anybody but themselves from power. Unlike the mass European Communist parties in Europe which adopted Eurocommunism (whatever one might think of their national strategies or own apparatuses see, From Stalinism to Eurocommunism. Ernest Mandel. 1978), they never contested real elections. There was a gulf, to put it mildly, between the mass of the Western European left and the cadres of the Eastern European Soviet bloc, let alone the CPSU. What happened under Gorbachev began the processes of change in the USSR surpassed (depasser is the verb I am thinking of) us, in common with just about anybody watching it. We were observers. If there was any emotional pull it was rather towards those against installing what is now called the rule of the oligarchs.

Morning Star (independent of the CPB and run by the co-op).

MIKHAIL GORBACHEV, the last leader of the Soviet Union, has died aged 91 in Moscow, according to Russian news reports.

Moscow’s Central Clinical Hospital said he had died “after a long and serious illness.”

Gorbachev led the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985-91 and is famous for his policies of “perestroika” (restructuring) and “glasnost” (openness), which were pitched as attempts to democratise Soviet socialism and make it more economically efficient. Critics said the policies dismantled much of the socialist system and caused the collapse of the Soviet Union and the restoration of capitalism.

Following a failed bid to overthrow him by Soviet loyalists in August 1991, he was outmanoeuvred by the then head of the Russian republic within the Soviet Union, Boris Yeltsin, paving the way for Russia’s declaration of independence from the USSR which prompted its collapse despite 77 per cent of Soviet citizens having voted to preserve the union on an 80 per cent turnout that March.

Hailed in the West for ending the cold war, Gorbachev was deeply unpopular in post-Soviet Russia because of the fall in living standards that followed the dissolution of the union. In 1992 he was formally expelled from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union for causing its collapse.

French Communist Party leader:

The last leader of the USSR, father of perestroika and Nobel Peace Prize winner has died. He worked for the reduction of nuclear armament and the end of the cold war. Pacifist when Putin himself engaged in a criminal war.

L’Humanité,

Mort de Mikhaïl Gorbatchev, père de la perestroïka

Mikhail Gorbachev died on August 31 at the age of 91. In 2021, in front of the camera of Russian director Vitaly Mansky, the last leader of the USSR talked of his memories.

Television interview in 2021. Mikhail Gorbachev’s USSR – From Reforms to Collapse (Arte. Available in 6 languages).

“Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the USSR, died on August 30 at the age of 91. Adored in the West but strongly decried in his country, the craftsman of perestroika and glasnost allows himself to be filmed in his intimacy by the director Vitaly Manski who delivers here the existential and political testament of a combative nonagenarian despite illness and loneliness.

Like his moonlike face, his exhausted body, swollen with diabetes, is unrecognizable, but on the smooth skull, the famous birthmark of the one whom the world, from his seizure of power in 1985, to his resignation after the fall of the USSR, in 1991, celebrated as a liberator, remains clearly visible. At the end of 2020, approaching his 90th birthday, the ultimate ruler of the empire, who ” fought to the end ” but in vain to save his “Soviet homeland ” by democratising it, lives in retirement nearby of Moscow, in a vast and beautiful villa lent by the Russian State. Surrounded by a small circle of relatives and employees, at his home or at the foundation that bears his name, and the ubiquitous portraits of his wife Raïssa, who died of cancer in 1999, (see: Poutine, l’irrésistible ascension ) whom he knows well and is close to, film him in his diminished daily life, and question him on his historical and political record. How does he explain the resentment towards him of the majority of his compatriots, who regard him as the gravedigger of the empire? Does he recognise today that his company was doomed to failure?

“The Last Socialist”


On these two central questions, the contradictory, but affectionate dialogue between the two men inevitably proves to be instructive, more by the anecdotes and tasty comments distilled in passing by “Mikhail Sergeyevich” than by a profession of faith of which he has no never deviated, including two years earlier, in front of Werner Herzog’s camera. But this immersion in the intimacy of an old man is worth less for this piecemeal political testament than for the paradoxical power of seduction that it gradually reveals. Whether he evokes his love for Raïssa or for a grandfather spent in Stalinist jails, whether he mocks the ” Yeltsin method ” and his ” half-buckets of vodka“, or even (magic of direct cinema, which captures this facetiousness of history on the fly) that he opportunely loses his sonotone while Vladimir Putin delivers his New Year’s wishes on television, Mikhail Gorbachev keeps direct simplicity, the humour and humanity that made him so popular. He who defines himself as ” the last socialist ” among the Russian leaders also remains a homo sovieticus shaped by an apparatus and a doctrine that he refuses to deny. first as a man standing facing his approaching death, assuming his past responsibility as well as his present weakness. A fascinating portrait, broadcast thirty years almost to the day after the brief putsch which, on August 19, 1991, constituted the first act of his defeat .”

The French Daily comments:

“The Russian director obviously wanted to hear Gorbachev bluntly claim, in the name of the ideals of democracy and freedom, full responsibility for dismantling the system. “I cannot agree with the idea that the Soviet Union, our country, was a victim of democracy. I fought a fierce fight, until the end, to stop it being dismantled”, insisted on the contrary the former leader, without however challenging the aura he enjoys in certain former satellite countries, for his historic role.”

Shiraz: Gorbachev and the collapse of Stalin’s system.

Republished below: Socialist Organiser‘s analysis of the collapse of the Soviet Union following the failure of a neo-Stalinist coup against the “reforming Stalinist Tsar” Gorbachev.

Socialist Organiser (a forerunner of Workers Liberty) posed the choice facing the Russian working class as “Chinese-style authoritarianism and a growing sphere for market economics, or else a radical popular revolution which destroys the power of the old state: as we know, there was no working class-led revolution, and authoritarianism (and capitalism) eventually triumphed, though not exactly on the Chinese model and more gradually than might have been expected.

Tributes:

The heavyweights wade in:

More on the YCL and CPB:

YCL: Gorbachev was ‘coward and traitor of the USSR’ Lawrence Parker.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 31, 2022 at 11:17 am

Andrew Murray Goes Xi Jinping: “China increasingly reveals the advantages of socialist systems and societies.”

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“..the CPC remains the leading force and develops plans for Chinese society on a scientific basis” Andrew Murray.

In a less than challenging interview for Tribune, (the Podcast A World to Win), Andrew Murray talks about on his much heralded book, Is Socialism Possible in Britain? Reflections on the Corbyn Years (to be published by ‘new left’ Verso in September). Responding to the hard line Lexiteer (pro Brexit left) Grace Blakely, who “really enjoyed the book”, the former key Corbyn adviser talks of Labour Party history. This is marked, he asserts, by a division between “hard and soft reformism” in the party, and the lack of Marxist and Leninist influence.

The long-term Communist Party of Britain activist disposes of the its founding political force, the Independent Labour Party, in which Marxism was a marginal influence, and its “ethical socialism”, which he believes is a distinctive mark of the British labour movement. Other may observe that the German revisionist Eduard Bernstein was charged with this for his appeal to Kantian critique and ethics in his picture of ‘evolutionary socialism’, and amongst the French reformist current, the influential figure of Benoît Malon (1841 – 1893) wrote of “La morale social” which has also been compared to Kant (Emmanuel Jousse. Les hommes révoltés. Les origines intellectuelles du réformisme en France 1871-1917. 2017). 

Labour historians may equally question in more depth Murray’s claim that the ILP was not interested in the class struggle. Caroline Benn’s memorable biography of a ILP and Labour Party founding figure, Keir Hardie, is full of accounts of their backing for striking workers, trade unions, and the way in which the Scottish socialist mediated ethics, Christianity, socialism, and even references to Karl Marx. “Hardie firmly believed as well that the ILP was the ‘advanced wing’ of the working class, as ‘Marx intended the socialist section of the working class to be.'” (Page 260. Keir Hardie. 1997).

Corbyn and Corbynism was, he admits, “soft reformism”, a Parliamentary road to socialism, if rooted in the “politics of mass protests”. The book promises more on this, and, at the centre, the role of UNITE which substantially backed the anti-austerity movements, above all the People’s Assembly, that formed during the Conservative governments post 2010. It is without doubt the case that the left leader of the Party’s distance from the Parliamentary “game” and refusal to accept market liberal policies created great hostility from those who would have no truck with any form of reformism that could upset them. Above all one that was rooted on the “outside” world of street demonstrations, extra-parliamentary campaigns, or what Blakely grandly calls “social movements”,

That, by the former UNITE Chief of Staff, will be well worth reading, although dismissing ‘Parliamentary socialism’ – in Ralph Miliband’s view a loyalty to Parliament that outweighs any socialist policy is problematic (Parliamentary Socialism: A Study of the Politics of Labour (1961). It does not mean much unless you have a convincing argument and evidence for extra-parliamentary politics beyond marches, small local groups in civil society, a left presence in trade unions that is limited to the prime function of unions to defend members’ jobs, conditions and pay, and public meetings. Nor is it helpful for Murray, from his own political background to talk of Labour in terms of something external to be dissected. It is a mass party, a movement with a changing balance of forces between more complex lefts and rights than soft or hard reformists, and very far from socialist forces such as those around Tony Blair’s ‘modernisers’, groups in Parliament, local government, councillors, CLPs. and card-carriers. Aware of this potentially changeable structure Miliband’s final book, Socialism for a Sceptical Age (1994) did not think Labour was fixed in its direction. He speculated long before Murray’s sketch of the conditions that encouraged the growth of Corbynism, and during the first wave of modernising right-wing politics under Neil Kinnock, that one could never exclude social and political pressures that could push a move to socialist policies in a democratic party of the left.

But the former Chair of the Stop the War Coalition has a bee in his bonnet about “Imperialist social democracy”. Murray suggests that it is the right of the Labour Party , champions of NATO and Trident (UNITE backed Trident, on the basis of employment in the arms industry) champion, who have been the source of opposition to Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-imperialist foreign policy, seen as a threat to the “ruling elite”. Blackley, with a good degree from Oxbridge University, does not push the pillar of the StWC on the criticisms of their ‘anti-imperialist’ stands from left-wing internationalists on issues such as Syria, and Ukraine. Or China.

There are many reasons to criticise the form of anti-imperialism that Murray represents. The Tribune interview does not mention China…

Our job is made simpler by this article, which appeared a couple of days ago in the Chinese state chauvinist outlet, Global Times.

China’s power in the world, economically and politically, a fact not going to change: former Corbyn adviser.

“Andrew Murray (Murray), a former communist, deputy president of London-based anti-war organization Stop the War Coalition, and former adviser to former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, shared his views on these issues with Global Times (GT) reporter Xia Wenxin.”

Is China’s success under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) fully understood in British society?

Murray: Many of the CPC’s enormous achievements are generally neglected in the narrative in British society. I think that was based on a view that China would eventually become a sort of liberal, capitalist, bourgeois democracy. Now there is great anger that has not happened, and the CPC remains the leading force and develops plans for Chinese society on a scientific basis. So, I think the role of the CPC is not well understood. Partly it is seen as if it was merely the same as the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in years gone by, despite the many differences and the historical experience between the two countries.

I’m sure China will definitely carry on developing in the foreseeable future. The economic growth will not perhaps be at the rate it was 20 years ago, but that is normal – you can’t grow at a rate of 10-12 percent a year forever. But I’m confident that China will continue to develop.

My hope is that its development will increasingly reveal the advantages of socialism. I hope having made this tremendous development will not let inequalities breed too far, or let private domination of the economy go beyond a certain limit. China does not seek to be a model for any other country. It says, we do what works for China, and other countries can learn as they please. But China increasingly reveals the advantages of socialist systems and societies.

Murray thinks China, in contrast to the ‘neo-liberal’ imperialist West is a socialist beacon. One imperialist capitalist market bad, one imperialist capitalist market society good.

There is a word for the kind of thinking that enables somebody to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them. Perhaps a trawl through Google will help

Written by Andrew Coates

August 25, 2022 at 12:20 pm