marxism-digest V3 #361

wdrb at wdrb at
Mon Sep 9 14:07:45 MDT 1996

I enjoyed and agreed with the writing by Paul Barrett
on 'rock and roll'. I have frequently been dissapointed
by the sneering ignorance and of old leftists towards
rock and roll (from skiffle through reggae, punk, funk
and metal to rap and drums n' bass). I have always
thought that popular culture was of great political
and cultural sugnificance to the working class,
certainly in the UK. These questions are, of course,
riven with contradiction. But the wealth and radical nature
of the political ideas carried in popular music should
not be underestimated.

On a related (I think) point.....there was a very
interesting (for me astonishing) program on the BBC
that described how senior elements in the CIA ran
a well funded campaign after the 2nd World War to promote
the art of the most avant garde American painters
(Pollack, Rothko etc) because

i) They regarded Stalinist cultural authoriatarianism
and conservatism to be a central weakenss of the Stalinist


ii) They wanted to wrest culural hegemony of the visual arts
>from Western Europe (notably France) to the USA.

The campaign was highly funded and organised and took place
without the knowledge of the painters that were promoted
and in spite of the fact that a number of them were left
wing politically.

The program certainly suggested that, even if the Left
doesn't take the power of culture very seriously,
the ruling class seem so to do.

Will Brown   Bristol  England

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