Communism, Communist Musics

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  • 8/13/2019 Communism, Communist Musics


  • 8/13/2019 Communism, Communist Musics


    2 Roherl Adlinglonof communist regimes in other parts of the developing world - notably Castro'sCuba and 11 Chi Minh's Democratic Republic of Victnam - lent a pluralistICquality to communism that proved attractive both for dissenting youth and forolder figures who had abandoned the Soviet model following the suppressionof the Ilungarian urrising in 1956." Nuclear tensions the erection of the BerlinWall, and the prolonged military conflict in Vietnam attitudes towardscommunism at all points along the spectrum of opinion. By the early 19705the perceived of the previous decade's protest movements encouragedsome in Europe and the United States to adopt more radical Marxist-Leninistand Maoist philosophies, which in some cases underpinned campaigns ofviolent activism. The industrial unrest brought about by increasing mecha-nization and the introduction of global markets led in France, Spain and Italyto the emergence of a rowerful 'Eurocommunism' asserting full independencefrom the Soviet Union. In Latin America and Africa, communist activists androliticians engaged throughout the 19()Os and 1970s in struggles againstautocrats, military regimes and neo-imrerialism (real and imagined). Into thetwenty-first century, 'guerrilla comlllunism' - to use the term preferred bythe historian ofeolllmunism David Priestland- continued to be an active forcein countries such as India and Nepal.('

    Given the broad and multi-faceted presence of communism outside thecommunist bloc after 1945, it is hardly surprising that many musicians'existences, practices and personal beliefs were also bound up with communismduring this reriod. The impact was felt by Illusicians in many continents andworking in every musical genre and tradition. Musicians were no difTerent inthis regard from writers, artists, III m-makers and other cultural figures. 7 Yetwhile the left-leaning tendencies of artists and intellectuals have long beenrecognized, thc extent and depth of musicians' involvement in comll1unismspecifically has been largely ignored in existing histories ofll1usic. This is notleast by eOlllrarison with studies of the impact ofcommunisll1 upon ll1usiciansbehind the Iron Curtain, which have proliferated in the past two decades asarchives and other previously inaccessible sources in Russia and Eastern Europe

    \ See Max Elhaulll. Rel'oll/Iioll ill Ihc Air: Sixlics Radicals TI/rn 10 /'cllin. Mao olld ell().I (Princeton. N.I: Princc(on University Prcss. 200' ).

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    COMMUNISMS, COMMUNIST MUSICS 3have become available. x While the intersection of music and politics currentlypreoccupies a good many musicologists, the spectacular demise of globalcommunism since 1989, and the opprobrium that has been heaped upon com-munist ideology as a consequence of that demise, have tended to lead tocommunist-related activities and involvement being ignored, suppressed, ordismissed as youthful infatuation or frivolous detail.9 In recent years theemergent subfield of Cold War music studies has begun to address the relevanceof ideological debates arollnd communism for musicians outside the communistbloc, but the prevailing focus there has been upon those figures who declaredthemselves or their music entirely detached from politics, and thereby (iron-ically) emboldened their propaganda value for a US diplomatic effort revolvingaround expressive' freedom' and liberty. Neglected, then, are those musiciansmore outspoken in their political stances, and also the substantial role playedby local communist organizations in musical life during this period. Only infolk music scholarship has there been more general recognition of theimportance of communism to music outside the communist bloc. This hasincluded explorations of the cultural initiatives of the Communist Party USAto support folk music ('the people's music') in the 1940s and 1950s, and of thecentrality ofcommunist figures to the Brit ish folk revival. Ethnomusicologicalresearch has also produced compelling studies of the interrelation of com-munism and music in Latin America and Asia, although this too has tended toconcentrate on developments within communist states. 2'See for instance Rachel Beckles Willson. Ugeli, I\ur((ig and lIungarian Music nuring Ihe ColdWar (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 20(7); Danielle Fosler-Lussier. Music nil'ider :8arlok's regael' in Cold- War CU/lure (Bcrkelcy: University of Cali fiJrnia Press, 200(,); MarinaFrolova-Walker, Russian Music and Naliollalism: Frolll Glinka 10 Sla/ill (New Havcn. CT: YaleUnivcrsity Press. 20(7); Petcr Schmclz. Such Freedolll. I(Onl\' Musical: Uno 1icia/ SOI'iel Musicf)urillg Ihe Thall' (Ncw York: Oxf(ml University Press, 20(9).'I Exceptions arc single-figurc studies of politically committed musicians. such as John Tilbury.COl"llelills ("ardell': A Uti' Unlinished (1Iat'low: Copula. 200X) and Stephcn Chase and PhilipThomas. eds, ('hangillg Ihe S,'slelll: The Music o(( hrislian Wo/lj (Aldershot: Ashgate, 20 I0).

    See f() instance Mark CaIT(;II, Aiusic alld Ide%gy in Posl-War Euro ,e (Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press. 2(04); Richard Taruskin. The Or/im/llislor\' o(Weslel"ll Music, vo\. 5 (NewYork: Oxf(ml University Press. 200S); Amy Hcal, Ne\\ Music. Nell' A/lies: ,fmerican Er ,erilllenla/Alusic ill Wesl (ierlllanr/i'ollllhe /el"O HOII/'lo Re-Uni/icalioll (Berkeley: University of'Cali f(lrIliaPress. 20(6); and two issues of'.Jollma/ o(AllIsic%gl' 2009).11 See respectively Robbie Licberman, 111 SOllg Is i \ I ' JYea 'oll: I'co '/e '.I' Songs. AIIt('l i( (/1ICOlltlllllllisllt. and Ihe I'olilics o(CII/lllre. 11 30 5 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 19X5)and Lieberman, The Slrangesl f)rl'all/; Hen Ilarker. Class Acl: The CII/lllra/ and I'olilica/ Uti' o(10\\ (//1 (I.ondon: Iuto Press. 20(7). For a related but controversial perspective. see alsoJ)ave Ilarkcr, Fakesong: The Manll/ilclwe o/Brilish 'Fo/honl ., 170010 Ihe Presl'nl Jay (MiltonKeynes: Open University Press. I iR5).12 A notable contribution is a volumc of' thc Brilish .Jollma/ o(l:'lhIlOIltIlSic%g.l entitled 'Red

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    4 Rolierl dlillglOIl

    Whilst cOlllmunism thus does not loom large in histories of music outsidethe communist bloc, recent years have seen a resurgence of general scholarlYinterest in 'Western communism'. This has been stimulated partly by the twen-tieth anniversary of the fall of communism', which brought the launch of anew scholarly journal (Twenfiefh-Cel1fllrl' Co111 m un s 1/1 ), and high-profileconferences (April and May 2009, for instance, saw major conferences nLondon and ltaly).ll But another reason for a resurgence of interest n com-munism is undoubtedly the global crisis caused by the collapsc of financialinstitutions in autumn 200S. As the Introduction to the volume of papersdelivered at the April 2009 London conference has it, state 'bail-outs' of ailinginstitutions, and the economic downturn and austerity measures that swiftlyfollowed, seemed to mean 'socialism for the banks, capitalism for the poor' .14Stimulated by recent reflections upon ' the communist hypothesis' by politicalphilosopher Alain Badiou, the bald intention of that volume (and of othersto arise from the same debate) is to urge its readers to undertake a positivereassessment of the 'idea of communism' for the twenty-first century. nsimilar vein, Tariq Ali, the best-known British veteran of 1965, writes:

    The of official Communism in the twentieth century and the restorationof"capitalism in Russia and China, with all that this has entailed, f ar f rom negatingsome of the premises that underlined the project in the first place, elllphasizestheir continuing importance. ,

    The continuing attraction of communism for many intellectuals newlypronounced in the context of the very evident shortcomings of twenty-flrst-century global capitalism remains the object of continuing criticism fromcOllllllunism's entrenched opponents, especially in the United States. Recentstudies continue to urge vigilance regarding the ongoing presence of Marxist

    Rilual: Ritual Music and COllllllunism' 1111 (2(J02)). which includes chapters on Cuba, China,North Vietnam and Pcru.These conferences were titled, respectively, 'On the Idea of Coml11unism', and 'VOIl1l'urokOl11nlllnislllus /ur sozialcn DCl11oKratie.11 Costas Douz.inas and Slavoj Zi;ek, eds. The Idell O(C Oll1l11l1l1i.I1II (London: Verso, 2(10). vii.I1 Alain Iladiou, 'The Communist lIypothesis', The Nelll.eji Rn;e\\ , 49 (January February20(}X).' http://www.newlef> (accessed 26 April 2(12); Alain Badiou, i l l( O l l l l l l l ll l is/ /I1 /)o//H'sis t I.undon: VerS(I, 20 I 0). Iladiou summarizes the cOllll11unist hypotheSISas asscrting 'thal a different collective organization is proeticablc, onc that will eliminate theinequality of wealth and even the division of labour' (Badioll, 'The ('onllllunist Ilypothesis').Sec also Bruno Hosteci's The Ai lIIIII i /I ' 11(( '0 II III 1111 ism (London: Verso. 20 I I ). the ail11 of which'is to v'erify whether communism can be something l110re than a utopia Illr beautiful souls'19)

    11 Tanq Ali. f i l l ' Id ,1I O(COll l l l l l l l l is l I l (I.ondon: Seagull Books. 200 )), 4.

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    COMMUNISMS, COMMUNIST MUSICS 5and Marxist-Leninist seams within European leftist organizations, and attemptpsychological diagnoses of the social prestige of leftist affiliations withinacademic circles and sections oflhe urban intelligentsia, a prestige that appearsto have withstood the recurrent disastrous of all serious attempts torealize communism in practice,I7 Richard Posner s withering inventory of theattributes that ineline Western intellectuals to sympathy with communismundoubtedly applies to at least some of the schooled musicians drawn to asystem to which they were, conveniently, not subjugated in their daily lives:

    \ proclivity for taking extrcme positions, a taste for universals and abstraction,a dcsire for moral purity, a lack of worldliness, and intellectual arrogance worktogether to inducc in many academic public intellectuals selective cmpathy, aselcctive scnsc of justicc, an insensitivity to context, , . an impatiencc withprudence and sobriety, a lack of rcalism and excessive sell -confidcnce,IK

    The leading American musicologist Richard Taruskin has been foremost inreminding musicologists and musicians alike of the dangers of utopian thinking,which in the cases ofcommunism and fascism 'always implied a body count', I )For Taruskin, the 'purely aesthetic' consequences of musicians' involvementwith dangerous ideologies to immure those musicians fi om negative ethicalevaluation, not least because the appeal to art's autonomy ref1ects the samearrogant utopian impulse to disregard the inconvenient reality of people s actualpreferences, desires and aspirations, Insistence on music's answerability tohigher principles, in Taruskin s view, lies not so far removed fi om communism'scoercive suppression of difference in the cause of a greater good.

    Clear-cut polemical intent, to one or other side of this debate, was emphat-ically not part of the agenda of the three-day conference in which this volumeoriginated - 'Red Strains: Music and Communism outside the Communist Blocafter 1945', held at the British Academy in London in January 201 1. t wasexpected that the meeting would attract speakers with a range of views, fromthose with a personal commitment to the ideological standpoints they discussed,to those for whom communism was 'the biggest political delusion of thetwentieth century'. 20 In the event, more dispassionate stances generally pre-vailed, although not without moments of sharp disagreement and tension. For7 Paul Gottli'ied, The Slrallgc Dcalh ,,{MarxislII: The /,'lmJ/JCI/II I.cti ill Ihc Nelt' Mil/Cllllilllll

    (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 200S); Paul lIollander, The 1, 11,1 o{ ("Ollllllill/ICIII:IlIle//ecllla/s, IIc,'o/lIliollaric.\'lIl1d Polil ica/ Mo/"(/lil.l' (('hicago: Ivan R. Dec. 20()().1< Richard I'osncr, cited in Ilollander, Thc 1,'lId o{e 'o1llIlliIIllCII/, X.1< Richard Taruskin, T re f)allger ,,(MlIsic alld Ol rer Allli-Ulopiall Essa.1 s (Ikrkeky: Universityoj'Caliti)rnia Press. 2(10). xii.Cl John (iray, review of Priestland, The Rcd F/ag, in New Statesman. 27 August 200' ,


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    6 ohert AdlillgtOI1those conccrned to stake out unambiguous positions on the question of com-munism, the present volume, in trying to preserve the balance of perspectivesoffered during the conference, may as a result be vulnerable to criticism fromboth directions - representing an act of bourgeois recuperation on the onehand; veiled red apologia on the other. 2 Yet the complexity of the phenom-enon of communism outside the communist bloc militates against stockjudgements or position-taking. This is made clear by asking the question: what,exactly, was (or is) communism?

    The answer is hardly straightforward. According to the cultural criticRaymond Williams, the word communism was used to describe quite differentideologics even before Marx and Engels s Communist Manifesto of 1848.This diffuseness was only exacerbated with the creation in 1918 of theBolshevik All-Russian Communist Party (Williams describes this as an actof historical reconstitution of the word ), the subsequent splintering of theThird International, and the growing global influence of divergent readingsof Marxism. For the sake of the Red Strains conference, the term was prag-matically considered to encompass developments related first to those figuresand entities who considered themselves communist , and secondly to thoseinspired by Marxist-Leninist thought and its myriad offshoots. But this doesnot make it easier to discern a common core of shared ideas or beliefs. tincorporates many individuals and groups with mutually contradictory view-points, as well as many Marxist-Leninists - for instance, most Trotskyists -who rejected the term communist itself. The Eurocommunism of the 1970sdefined itself precisely by its distance from the pro-Stalinism of EuropeanCommunist Parties of the 1950s. These positions were markedly different againfrom those of the small Maoist groups that sprang up all over Europe in the1960s and early 1970s. The communist nationalism of parts of Latin Americaand Asia had its own distinctive characteristics; and the relationship of thegreat majority of Wcstern and Third World communist organizations to theCommunist Party of the Soviet Union was vexed and subject to frequent realign-ment. Many Westerners who considered themselves communist remainedwholly independent of formal movements or groups, for principled reasons ofideological difference. Others attached themselves to ideas and idols of which< mill u n ism -comlllun ist-sov iet> (accesscd 26i\priI2(12)." The conference stimulated both reactions, as can be seen from the blog posting of composer.lames MaeMillan, and the subsequent readers responses:

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    COMMUNISMS, COMMUNIST MUSICS 7they had little or no direct knowledge - Mao s Cultural Revolution, for instance

    and then promptly abandoned them when the appalling realities were even-tually exposed beyond doubt. (The romanticism of revolutionary ideals attractedno small number of musicians for whom the artistic productiveness of theencounter was at times inversely related to the detail of their knowledge ofMarxist texts and practices.) Little surprise, then, that many scholars of theleft increasingly prefer to refer to communisms in the plural. 3

    A corresponding irreducible diversity marks both the attitudes and practicesof communist musicians outside the communist bloc, and the various invest-ments in music made by communist organizations. This was made vividlyapparent by two sessions at the Red Strains conference involving distinguishedmusicians with a personal involvement with communism. A panel session wasaddressed by the composers Giacomo Manzoni and Konrad Boehmer, and thefolk-singer and lyricist Ernie Lieberman. There followed an interview with rockmusician and writer Chris Cutler, together with a response from musician andscholar Georgina Born, who had performed together with Cutler in the bandHenry Cow. The present volume includes these five musicians contributionsin full. While other individuals would undoubtedly have different stories to tell,these statements nonetheless provide a remarkable and unprecedented cross-section of perspectives and reminiscences from musicians representing diversenational histories (Italy, Germany and the Netherlands, the United States andthe United Kingdom), distinct generations (spanning the entire post-war era),and contrasting musical traditions. Many of the red strains that emerge bothwithin and between these powerfully honest evaluations - in which ongoingstrength of political conviction does not preclude elements of self-criticism -continue to resonate throughout the remaining chapters of the book.

    In order to trace some of the more prominent binding themes within thecontested territory mapped by the volume as a whole, I make use here of aschema offered in Georgina Born s presentation, which helpfully singles outfive dimensions of the mutual mediation of music and politics . These arc:the direct involvement of musicians and music in political and social move-ments; musicians rc-imagining of the institutional and organizational formssupporting the production and distribution of music; the social relations of2 1 Sce for instance the reeent conferences on Post-socialist Prospects and ContemporaryCommllnisms in Art I istory , and Local COl11munisms, 1917- iN , (both accesscd 26 April 2012). Along similar lines, Ernesto Screpanti refers to a proliferationof Marxisms [marked by] the richness and the diversity of interpretations and philosophicaloricntations ; Ernesto Screpanti, Uhertarian COl11l11unislII: A/a/ X, ngcls and tlie PoliticalEc(}//olln (}(Freedolll (Basingstokc: Palgrave Macmillan, 20(7). ix.

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    8 Robcrt dlingtonri f hit . ofmusicalmusical practice and penormance; t 1e po ItlCS 0 t e aest 1e I -I.e., f

    materials themselves; and the use of music as a vehicle for and mediator 0texts. Of these, it is the fourth dimension - the politics of the aesthetic - thatlargest in the contents of this volume. This. be a reflecti.onongol11g resonance of what was arguably the defll1ll1g cultural antithesIs .the Cold War era, between the realism of Soviet art and the abstraction Of, iSoviet terms, formalism ) of much modernist production in the West. 24chapters in this book demonstrate that positioning on the realism-abstractiOnspectrum was by no means a reliable indicator of political stance, andhow the vcry idea ofidcntifying a particular musical style as authcntically redcame under increasing strain from the 1960s onwards. The chapters by AnneShrefller and Gianmario Borio - keynote speakers at Red- each pertall1 to these key questions. Shreff1er delll1eates two 11lstoncsprogrcssive music in the twentieth century: the one privileging accessibilityto the masses; the other prioritizing advanced idioms that pose as criticism ofthe establ ished order. Focusing upon musical works and debates from the 1920sto the 1950s, shc argues that assumptions made about the appropriate musicalidiom to embody a leftist political message depended significantly upon timeand place. The bifurcation between Populist and Modernist impulses, she noteS,reflects tensions with Marxism itself , whose dual imperatives of mass reYO-lutionary action and the liberation of individual consciousness arguably pointedin opposite directions as far as musical style was concerned. 25 Local conditionscould incline communist musicians one way or the other, as is clearly evidentfrom other chapters in this book: compare Giacomo Manzoni, who neverany contradiction between artistic experimentation and his communistconvictions, with Argentinian folk-singer Yupanqui, who is quoted by Fabio laOrquera as stating simply: I play the music of the people .musicians vacillated between the two impulses. Konrad Boehmer, schooled InMarxist critical theory and post-war serialism but drawn towards Maoismin the early 1970s, dcpicts the compositional dilemma that this newpresented in terms of the triangular poles of Stock ha us en, North Korean socialistrealism, and the appealing synthesis of Hanns Eisler s militant music - none

    2j For an account, sce Karol Bergcr, Theory 0/Art (New York: Oxford University Prcss, 1999),140-50. Peter Schmelz, however, has noted the manifold difficulties in adhering to a rigid equa-tion of abstraction with anticommunist West and realism with communist East; see Schl]1c1Z.,Introduction: Music in the Cold War , Journal a/Musicology 26 1 (Winter 20(9), 3-16: 9. ,

    25 In the early years of the new Soviet Republic, furious debates between the main musiciansorganizations revolved around precisely this dilemma; scc Amy Nelson, Music/or fheMusicians alld Power ill Early Soviet Russia (University Park: Pennsylvania State Univcrs1tyPress, 20(4),41--44.

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    COMMUNISMS, COMMUNIST MUSICS 9of which, however, could completely satisfy. What Beate Kutschke describesas th I e pro etanan turn of the West European left at the very end ofthe 1960spropelled many engaged avant-garde musicians into fraught territory thatfrequently resulted n awkward creative compromises between populist andexperimental impulses (the collective Mannesmann Cantata', cxamined byKutschk ., e, IS a case pomt), and rendered the most ardent convcrts - such asCornelius Cardew - adrift from both established institutions and former col-leagues. 26 Communist movements, too, could find realignments on the questionof aesthetics to be necessary or strategically beneficial. A striking example iswhat Ben Eade terms the 'remarkable volte-face' of the Italian CommunistParty (PCI) n the late 1950s, when a new generation ofyoung communist COI11

    achieved decisive influence upon official policy, and the 'nco-realism'of party stalwarts like Mario Zafred was abruptly abandoned in favour ofserialexperiment. 27 Eade intriguingly takes sharp issue with the verdict ofhislory-one determined in no small part by what he calls a 'modernist musicology' -that the subsequent obscurity of musical neo-realism was well-deserved.

    Dilemmas of this kind were especially pressing after 1960, when demo-?raphic shifts, re alignments on the terrain of musical genre, and the growingImperative upon communists to demonstrate their distance from the diktats ofthe Soviet authorities rendered claims for the ideological rectitude of eitheravant-garde or vernacular musics ever-more problematic. Gianmario Borioexamines a later phase of Italian communist-inspired thought on music, fromthe eurly 1960s through to the mid-1970s, when a widespread desirc to resistthe 'planning of everyday life' /cd to a politicization across multiple musicalgenres, both 'Populist' (folk and rock music) and 'Modernist' (improvisationand avant-garde music theatre). This movement represented, as Borio notes,an 'original conjunction ofpopular and experimental ventures', one that culmi-nated in the PC 's open declaration in 1973 of the need to resist 'any impulscto identify with any specific "poetics" or "tendency", 10 ignore the greatvariety of creative experiences' 2X Nonetheless, all 0 f the developments traccdby Borio share a faith in innovation of one sort or another, as the vehicle for'antagonist' sentiment - afIirming ShrefTIer's observation that the ModernistmOdel for socialist music has predominated in Europe (thc Populist one, by2" Scc the critique offered by admirers of Cardew in Eddie Prcvosl, cd., COI"l1f /iIlS Cardew A

    (Harlow: Copula, 2006), xiv-xvii (Michael Parsons); 350-52 (Richard 13arrett).Another case of a Western European communist composer (Serge Nlgg) responding sym-

    pathetically though not uncritieally to socialist rcalist tenets is explored in Leslie A Sprout, The1')45 S . W . F / . /travlllsky Debates: Nigg, Messiacn. and the Early Cold ar ranee, . Olll ll{l (26/1 (Winter 2(09),85-131; see especially 123-24 on Nigg s Piano Concclio (1954).

    (Jlorgio Napolitano, cited in Gianmario Borio s chaplcr in this yolumc.

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    10 Roherl d inglolcontrast, finding greatest purchase in the United States and the Soviet bloc). Itshould be noted however, that not every instance of communist position-takingon musical genre and style was motivated by questions of principle. As wewill sce, in the desire to capitalize upon the dissent and activism of the 1960syouth counterculture, many communist organizations countenanced an instru-mentalization of kinds of musical expression that, from a purely aestheticstandpoint, were undoubtedly theoretically problematic.

    A second contested axis which pertains to the question ofthe politics oftheaesthetic -. that is to say, to the notes themselves (so to speak) - involves thehandling of cultural difference. That this was a germane issue for Marxistaesthetics is clear enough from the history of Soviet negotiations with thecultural others containcd within the borders of the USSR. Marxist theoryadvocated the international unity of the proletariat and regarded nation statesas bourgeois entities; national sentiment functioned to hold back social progressby uniting exploited and exploiter against external oppressors. Despite thisdanger, Lenin opted for considerable state support for the ethnic minorities ofthe new Republic, support intended, in Marina Frolova- Walker s words, towin the confidence of the peoples 2 1 Yet the sanctioned musical expressionsof local nationalisms in the Soviet era typically took the non-indigenous formsof opera and symphony, and in their handling of folk material aped the orien-tal isms of the nineteenth-century Russian nationalists - aspects fully in keepingwith the growing centralism and imperial nostalgia of the Soviet leadership,not to mention its disregard for basic human rights . lO Revelations about Stalin sgrotesque crimes, and especially the convulsions of 1956, convinced manycommunists outside the Soviet bloc of the need to develop a communist theoryand practice clearly distinct from that of the USSR - an other communism ,in Manzoni s words, onc that was specifically attuned to human rights andindividual freedom. This view received confirmation with the pronouncedemergence, in the course of the 1960s, of what Ben Piekut (in his interviewwith Chris Cutler) describes as a field of different struggles that alignedthemselves along different axes - of gender, race, nation, sexuality , replacingwhat had previously been thought of as a single struggle delineated along classlines. More than ever, social dissent was forming around a recognition andvaluing of difference.

    Identification with others had been intrinsic to much communist activismwell before the 1960s. American communists had championed the rights of

    2 1 rrolova-Walker, Russiall Music lIlId Natiollalism 303.1i, Ibid. 304 OS

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    African Amcricans many years prior to the civil rights movement; ErnieLieberman, for instance, recalls the centrality of interracial collaboration tohis singing activities in the United States of the 1940s and early 1950s, acommitment that came at a heavy cost to the professional lives of all involved.The conviction that anti-imperialism and anti-capitalism were related strugglessimilarly aroused communist sympathies and sometimes active involvement

    with the distant national liberation struggles of colonized peoples in the wakeof he Second World War. Yet arguments for equality of reatment did not equateto a commitment to preservation of difference; and debates around dillcrentmusical cultures reveal this to be a point of sensitivity for Marxist musiciansand organizations. Eamonn Kelly s examination of uses of music by the BlackPanther Party (BPP) at the end of the 1960s highlights the party s growingopposition to the cultural nationalism of other black nationalist movements

    that is to say, their focus upon African ancestry through clothes, hairstylesand other cultural forms (including music). The BPP s Marxist theorists viewedsuch preoccupations as a distraction from the underlying economic causes ofoppression, and their own propagandistic uses of musie consequently cameto downplay the overt Afrieanisms of other black activist musicians. Inthe very different context of the opera The SlIgar Reapers (1961 by theBritish communist composer Alan Bush, clear attempts were made, as JoannaBullivant shows, to incorporate elements of the indigenous l usies of thedillcrent ethnic communities ofl3ritish Guiana. But strikingly, full endorsementof cultural difference was withheld by the fact that the characters most asso-ciated with socialist ideals are represented by the least exotic , most Westernmusic.

    Amongst the studies in this volume, some of the strongest examples ofadvocacy of national difference emerge in response to the specific threatof coca-colonization or the Marshall plan in the field of ideas , as l3ritishcommunists regarded the growing global pervasiveness of American popularculture (sec Ben I-Iarker s chapter). This brain-softening cultural invasion (toquote I-Iarker s characterization of the communist view) gave new impetus tothe Communist Party ofGreat l3ritain s engagement with Britain s national folkculture, which had hitherto held an ambivalent status in relation to the party sinternationalist and revolutionary agendas; reconceived as a radical national-ism rather than a bourgeois one, home-grown folk traditions were nowregarded as having potential to counter the spread of the synthetic products ofthe US culture industry. Similarly, in Australia the folk musical Reed\ River,staged in 1953 by a communist theatre group (and discussed in Anthony Ashboltand Glenn Mitchell s chapter), conspicuously rejected American models formusical theatre, and in the process symbolized a new confidence in the potential

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    12 Robert Adlinglon31 Tl e flip sidevalue of home-grown traditions as f0D11S of cultural resistance. 1 b the

    to this stance was that those vernacular musics of other peoples touched . jwedclear influence of an increasingly global American culture tended to be VI:etterwith disdain, quite regardless of he fact that Marxists ought to have been panequipped than most to comprehend the historicity andeconomic relations of all cultural forms. Bullivant reports Bush's dIsapp .canment that the repertoire ofmany Guianese musicians revolved around Amen tiet R onstruesongs learned from the radio. A few years later, in the libretto 0 e oserS(,Reconstruction'), a music-theatre work by a team of young Dutch ssaabout Latin American resistance to US imperialism, Astrud snova style was bluntly dismissed as a 'US interpretation of Latin-American I ofmusic' .32 Conversely, Fabiola Orquera's description of the European trave/en_Atahualpa Yupanqui emphasizes the appeal ofthe perceived purity and aut 1ticity of the songs of this 'Indian Casals' to his French communist

    F 1 d h I f . I thnic liberatlO ,or t 10SC Immerse I t clr own strugg es or natlOna or e . d nothe legitimacy of culturally specific forms of expression usually reqUIre d adefence or explanation. In Chile and Argentina, the nueva cancionprimary role in the anti-colonialist movements ofthc 1960s and 19705, al1 re. I f db . . 31 This genactive y ostere y coml11Ul11st musicians and orga11lZatlons. C ywas expressly rooted in indigenous folk music, but conspicuously steered.from 'traditional "tourist" folk' in favour of a progressive idiom that dl a. . .abjure US ll1fluence.34 In her chapter on Nepalese commu11Ist mUSIcla, . IStirr shows how sentiments of national unity were common both to the offiCla, rO-culture of the 'Panchayat' dictatorship of the 19605 and 1970s and to the P r. fI . hoWeve ,gresslve songs 0 t le communist resistance. It was commu11Ist song,that found more room for musical elements from minority ethnicpartly due to the desire to convert regional populations through 'shared I? ensounds'. More recently, communist and Maoist parties in Nepal have glY j emorc formal recognition to distinct ethnic cultures, although Stirr notes that. f 1 d . d necessa1)assertion 0 et 1l1IC 1 entity appears to be regarde by these groups as a I .

    . . I .. I'd' tators lIPtransltiona stage, rather than a deSired end-pomt. Somewhat as t le IC