We had more freedom then: Yugoslav artists on socialism

A fascinating post over at Propaganda called ‘We had more freedom then‘.

The following are interviews with two Yugoslav artists, Goroslav Keller and Bata Knežević, discussing what it was like to work as a graphic designer during socialism. The videos were part of the “Design for a New World” exhibition at the Museum of Yugoslav History in Belgrade, Serbia.

(ht ak)


Contradiction analysis: an explainer

A useful piece for those interested in the central function of Marxist contradiction analysis in a Chinese situation. Xi Jinping recently announced that the primary contradiction has now changed, ushering in a new era. And if you are still interested, it is worth reading (again) Mao’s two pieces, ‘On Contradiction‘ and ‘On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People‘. Crucial here is managing contradictions so that they remain non-antagonistic.

Interview with Yukon Huang: Understanding a Socialist Market Economy

An insightful interview with Yukon Huang in the Global Times, who has recently published Cracking the China Conundrum: Why Conventional Economic Wisdom is Wrong (2017). Crucial here is that neo-classical economic theory is unable to make sense of China’s socialist market economy. So read the interview and then the book. Some excellent points, but also could go further.

Xi Jinping’s Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era

In what is clearly his most important speech yet, Xi Jinping spoke for three hours at the opening of the CPC’s 19th congress yesterday morning (18 October).

You can view the full video of the opening and Xi’s speech here (with English translation). Rather stunning in its relative simplicity, especially if you keep in mind that this is not only the congress of the largest political party in the world, but the most powerful communist party in human history.

In the next post, I will provide an infographics of the key points of Xi’s speech, but it is worth noting here that it has officially been designated as a significant new phase of Marxist thought in a Chinese context: Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.


And in a speech in which Marxism is clearly the framework, it is worth noting the continuing importance of Mao’s ‘contradiction analysis’. The key is to identify through careful analysis the primary or most important contradiction that needs to be addressed.

For Xi: ‘What we now face is the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life [mei hua sheng huo]’. By this is meant democracy, rule of law, fairness and justice, security, a better environment, and spiritual and cultural concerns.

Countdown to the CPC 19th congress

Even if you were in total hibernation, you couldn’t miss the fact that the CPC’s 19th congress opens here in two days with a major speech from Xo Jinping.

Security is super-tight (another level of that extremely complex Chinese word, anquangan), with almost a million local people – often retirees – involved in keeping an eye on things, all party members in the city on roster at major sites, and of course extra internet security.

Along with the banners all over China and the shorthand ‘shijiuda’ (19th congress) on everyone’s lips, it is a fascinating time to be here.

I was planning to keep up to date with the many themes emerging, but it has simply become too much to do so – except for items that take my fancy.

So, to keep up with all manner of activities, with news, videos, interviews, in-depth analyses and so on, check out the dedicated English-language site at Xinhua news. If you want the latest information at your fingertips (that is, on a smartphone), download the new English language app from the People’s Daily. Or if you want the core site in Chinese, then go to the official site and use either the Chinese or English version.

Apart from the expected promotion – or propaganda in the good old sense of the word – of the CPC and China, the foreign language sites also include explainers concerning processes of election, breakdown of party members and delegates, and so on. And you may be struck by how often Marxist concepts and strategies appear in this material, giving you a sense of how vibrant Chinese Marxism really is.

Ecosocialism in action, and further items on the CPC 19th congress

Some time ago (2001) Michael Löwy and Joel Kovel put together the first Ecosocialist Manifesto. Since then there have been subsequent revisions and versions. However, neither of them have much time for the Chinese Communist Party, which is a shame really. Even the corporate media has been forced to take notice of what can only be called ecosocialism in action, as can be found here. What interests me in all of this is that it is precisely a strong socialist state that can drive through such programs.

Speaking of related matters, especially the 19th congress of the CPC, a few more pieces of interest.

The first is called ‘Socialism with Chinese characteristics: 10 ideas to share with the world‘. A long explanatory piece well worth a read.

The second is called ‘Decoding the DNA of the CPC‘, of which the first item concerns a rising focus, ‘faith in Marxism’.

Of course, these are official statements, and I like to analyse maters at another level, but they do seek to provide information to an often ignorant world about crucial issues relating to the future of this very same world.