marxism-digest V3 #361 (rock'nroll)

Richard Bos Richard.Bos at
Mon Sep 9 10:34:29 MDT 1996

wdrb at wrote:
> 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.

I agree with what thrust of what Paul had to say.

> 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
> system
> and
> 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

I have read something about this before, anyone got any details?


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