artery publications

Ken Sprague's fish postcard design (small fish acting together against large fish)

 

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2018

 

Art for All: British Socially Committed Art from the 1930s to the Cold War

2018; Paperback; ISBN 978-0-9558228-8-9

 

Art for All reveals a forgotten or marginalised area of 20th century British art. Christine Lindey delves into the fascinating treasure trove of British socially-committed art from the 30s through to the Cold War, and of which most people will be unaware. She demonstrates that the work of these artists deserves to be rediscovered and enjoyed. In her lavishly-illustrated volume, she also examines the circumstances that turned these individuals into socially committed artists, often swimming against the current of their times; and she also examines the special circumstances of their artistic production, their achievements and the handicaps they had to cope with. At the present, with capitalism in a seemingly continuous state of crisis and a popular demand for social change, these artists and their work take on a new relevance.

Praise for Christine Lindey's book:

Christine Lindey is a doyenne of British art history and one of its most original, accessible and principled practitioners. In previous publications she has approached traditional art history in novel ways, as well as revealing the importance and fascination of previously neglected areas. Her thought and writing combine academic rigour with a rare lucidity. In Art for All she explores a rich vein of British art that in the 1940s and 1950s kept alive the idea of a socially committed and widely understandable art in the face of the increasing dominance of elitist forms of modernism and abstraction that had become tools of the West on the cultural front of the Cold War. As a historian of British art myself I found this book a revelation. An important contribution to the history of British art this book, in its focus on a socially and politically aware practice that seeks a genuinely wide audience, seems particularly timely in this historical moment of rampant individualism and raging inequality.
Simon Casimir Wilson OBE
Author of Holbein to Hockney: A History of British Art and former Tate curator, columnist for RA Magazine

Lindey's new book spreads into areas of mid-20th century British art that have hardly been explored so far, simply because of the dominance of Abstract Modernist over Realist Modern art, which left artists such as George Fullard, Josef Herman or Eva Frankfurther in undeserved obscurity. The great virtue of Lindey's book lies with the breadth of the presentation. In all, this makes for an essential contribution to the history of art and art life in an important period of British socio-cultural endeavour.
Dr Katarzyna Murawska-Muthesius Associate Lecturer, Department of History of Art Birkbeck College, University of London

This study of British Socially Committed Art from the 1930s to the Cold War is to be warmly welcomed. Christine Lindey is such a thought-provoking author. She writes with so much clarity, exploring the dilemmas of socially committed artists, striving to balance their political aims with their aesthetic ambitions, whilst struggling to survive economically in challenging times.
Marjorie Mayo, Editor, Theory and Struggle

Christine Lindey has produced a book that valuably expands our knowledge about socially committed art in Britain during the 1950s and '60s.
Robert Radford, former Senior Lecturer in History of Art, University of Southampton.

The book is available online from bookshops: £25 plus p&p.

1 copy, including P&P

 

2017

 

I'll Have the Last Laugh Yet! Karl Marx 1818-2018 in Cartoons

2017; Paperback; ISBN 978-0-9558228-9-6

Marx has the last laugh

 

Cartoonist Martin Rowson said of the book: "I got my first big break doing gags about Karl Marx. The point, however, is that so did he. Any idiot who thinks of Marx as a dour, 'humourless leftie' has never read him and probably never met a proper leftie either. This splendid book should put them right on both counts."

 

2018, May 5 marks the bicentenary of the birth of Karl Marx and to celebrate one of the most important dates in world history The Ken Sprague Fund has organised an international cartoon and caricature competition, the winners of which have just been announced.

The Tony Farsky International Marx Bicentenary Cartoon and Caricature Competition drew hundreds of entries from artists from all over the world.

They were tasked with submitting work commemorating Marx and his significance and the jury awarded a joint first prize to Stefan Siegert of Germany for his caricature of a laughing Marx and Ukrainian Konstantin Kazanchev for his cartoon of Marx confronting a young skateboarder with a Che Guevara T-shirt. Second prize went to Raed Khalil from Syria for his black-and-white drawing of Marx's head with a flock of birds breaking into flight from it. Third prize went to Ehsan Ganji from Iran for his cartoon of a factory worker on an assembly line manufacturing truncheons for a police that then uses them to attack him when protesting.

The work of a number of entrants was highly commended and, along with the winners, their efforts are being published in the book I'll Have the Last Laugh Yet! Karl Marx 1818-2018 in Cartoons,, with brief quotations from Marx's works interspersed with the images.

The few surviving photos of Marx depict a deadly serious and unsmiling Teutonic-looking intellectual. But in real life Marx was a humorous individual with a sharp and satirical wit. His letters to his friend and collaborator Friedrich Engels reveal a very different person to the one in the photos.

He surely would have been tickled — and maybe honoured — to see himself caricatured, lampooned and eternalised in such humorous ways as the images in the book show.

Cartoonist Martin Rowson said of the book: "I got my first big break doing gags about Karl Marx. The point, however, is that so did he. Any idiot who thinks of Marx as a dour, 'humourless leftie' has never read him and probably never met a proper leftie either. This splendid book should put them right on both counts."

What these cartoons and caricatures reveal is a wide range of political interpretations — some portray Marx himself, others indict capitalism and yet others vilify the whole Marxian outlook or ridicule its impact. Some are sharply funny, some deadly serious and yet others acerbic.

The book is available online from bookshops: £8.99 plus p&p.

1 copy, including P&P

2015

 

Stasi State or Socialist Paradise? The German Democratic Republic and what became of it

by John Green and Bruni de la Motte; foreword by Seumas Milne
Paperback; 250pp

In his foreword to the book, The Guardian's Seumas Milne says:

History is famously written by the victors. In the case of the former German Democratic Republic, the drive to brand it an illegitimate ‘state of injustice’ and deny the existence of any redeeming features has become a test of loyalty in today’s Federal Republic. The great merit of Bruni de la Motte and John Green’s book is that, far from whitewashing the east German experience, it offers a sober and balanced assessment - neither exaggerating its successes nor downplaying its failings.

Much has been written about how awful the German Democratic Republic supposedly was: a people imprisoned by a wall and subjugated by an omnipresent Stasi security apparatus. Such descriptions are based largely on prejudice, ignorance and wilful animosity. This book is an attempt to provide a more balanced evaluation and to examine GDR-style socialism in terms of what we can learn from it. The authors, while not ignoring the real deficiencies of GDR society, emphasise the many aspects that were positive, and demonstrate that alternative ways of organising society are possible.

This volume is an updated and much expanded edition of the authors' booklet first published in 2009. They have added more detail on how the GDR came into being as a separate state, about how society functioned and what values determined the every-day life of its citizens. There is also a whole new section on what happened in the aftermath of unification, particularly to the economy. While unification brought East Germans access to a more affluent society, freedom to travel throughout the world and the end to an over-centralised political system, it also brought with it unemployment, social breakdown and loss of hope, particularly in the once thriving rural areas.




1 copy, including P&P

 




2014

 

Perestroika and Germany: The Truth Behind The Myths

by Hans Modrow, assisted by Bruno Mahlow
Paperback; 194pp

 

Perestroika and Germany - coverThis book offers a unique insight into the processes that brought about perestroika and the demise of Eastern Europe’s experiment with socialism. It is a fascinating and essential read for all those wishing to understand those processes from the viewpoint of an intelligent insider and perceptive observer.

Hans Modrow, the author of this book, was drafted as a 17-year-old into Hitler’s army and became a Soviet prisoner of war. After his release he, like many others traumatised by the Nazi experience, decided to help build a better, democratic post-war Germany. He became active in the FDJ socialist youth movement, and soon thereafter rose through the party ranks of the Socialist Unity Party in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) to become its regional secretary in Dresden. By the eighties, he had already become disillusioned with the undemocratic practices of the SED and its leadership and began advocating the need for transformation to a proper democratic form of socialism.

After the Wall was opened in 1989, he became the GDR’s last prime minister, before elections were held and the country and the new government chose to unite with the Federal Republic by a process of annexation.

Unlike many others who once called themselves 'communist' or 'socialist', Modrow refused to cross to the other side and join the victors, nor has he succumbed to cynicism as many also did. He became an MP for the PDS (the party that emerged out of the SED, later to become Die Linke) in the Bundestag, and then an MEP. Today, he is honorary Chair of Die Linke (The Left party), and is still an active participant in the political life of Germany and maintains his international contacts.

Hans Modrow believes that the centralised ‘command economies’ of Eastern Europe were doomed virtually from the outset because democratic principles were ignored. That’s why, today, he is an adamant supporter and campaigner for a genuinely democratic socialism.

1 copy, including P&P

 

Britain's Communists: The Untold Story

by John Green, with contributions by Andy Croft and Graham Stevenson
Paperback; 250pp

Britain's Communists - coverSince its founding in 1920 the Communist Party has been an integral part of the British political scene and, despite its small size, has had an impact on the political and social life of the country far greater than would have been expected and certainly more far-reaching than has been credited by most historians.

Much has been written about communism, but little about the impact of ordinary communists on life here in Britain. This book is an attempt to write a history in terms of what E.P. Thompson called, "an act of reparation, rescuing the defeated from the enormous condescension of posterity". It is history seen through the lives of those who were, for a shorter or lengthier time, part of the communist movement at some time during the whole trajectory of its existence. Few will be aware of how communists have impacted in significant ways on their own lives and those around them. This book redresses that omission.

It is also a counter-narrative to the traditional mainstream one of communists and the communist party as alien, if not subversive, forces in Britain and marginal to real political and social life. It focuses more on the contributions communists have made in the various areas of society, rather than on the ideology of communism or on the complex relationship with the Soviet Union.

1 copy, including P&P

 

2011


 

A Manifesto for Modern Times

by Carlos Salvador and Fred Angelis
Paperback; 40pp

A Manifesto for Modern Times is not a party programme nor a blueprint for change. It is a discussion document in response to the turbulent era we are living through.

It is intended as a humble echo of the world-shaking Manifesto written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1848.

Its sole aim is to stimulate ideas and action, as well as to offer theoretical support to all those who refuse to submit to the tyranny of global capital and who dare to dream of a more just, greener and better society.

A different world is possible!

 

 

 

 

2009

Stasi Hell or Workers' Paradise? Socialism in the German Democratic Republic - what we can learn from it?

by John Green and Bruni de la Motte
Paperback; 50pp; ISBN 978-0-9558228-3-4

This book takes the German Democratic Republic as an example and examines what socialism in that country actually achieved in terms of social progress.

 


With the demise of the East European communist-led countries in the wake of the Gorbachov reforms, the "end of history" was proclaimed – there was no alternative to capitalism. However, with the present ongoing capitalist economic crisis, many people are asking if there is a workable alternative to the present system. Could socialism perhaps be the answer after all, despite the fact that the Eastern European versions failed?

This book is an attempt neither to justify nor denigrate everything that happened in the German Democratic Republic. It is, rather, an attempt to assess what aspects of GDR-style socialism were genuine achievements in terms of human progress and are perhaps worth salvaging, emulating or learning from. Enough has been said and written about how awful the system supposedly was: a people imprisoned by a wall and oppressed by an omnipresent Stasi security apparatus, ruled by a communist dictatorship. The authors have avoided going over the same ground because they felt such one-sided characterisations of the GDR are based largely on prejudice, ignorance and wilful animosity. They are more concerned with looking at what other (mainly western) writers have almost entirely ignored – those aspects of GDR society which were positive and which can provide us with insights about our own society and its failings as well as demonstrate that other alternatives are possible.

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Hung, drawn and quartered – the caricatures of Ken Gill

edited by John Green and Michal Boncza
Paperback; 132pp; ISBN 978-0-9558228-2-7

They're fantastic! I knew Ken Gill drew cartoons, but I never realised his caricatures were so good.

Steve Bell, Cartoonist at The Guardian

 


Ken Gill was one of the leading lights of the trade union movement in the 1970s and 1980s, becoming the first communist elected to the TUC General Council (in 1974, with 7 million votes), and becoming General Secretary of the Manufacturing, Science and Finance Union (MSF, now part of Unite) in 1988. Ken was voted the ‘Trade unionists’ trade unionist’ by his peers in a survey by The Observer in 1993. What better accolade could one ask for?

Tony Benn - caricature by Ken Gill

However Ken was renowned in trade union circles not just for his politics and commitment to working people, but for his perceptive caricatures of fellow union leadersand politicians with whom he negotiated. During the hours he had to sit through tedious meetings, he utilised the time to sketch those around him on anything that came to hand – the back of old agenda papers, serviettes or reports. Over the years this grew into a prodigious collection of portraits.

Ken's caricatures were so good that those portrayed were often keen to have them. He has a knack for capturing good likenesses and poked fun in a gentle fashion; they are rarely harsh or cruel. In that sense they reflect the man himself, who respects his fellow trade unionists and principled politicians, but deplores sell-outs, back-sliders and opportunists. Everyone knew Ken was a Communist but he was never dogmatic in his views and he recognised that true comrades do exist outside the Communist Party too. He felt perfectly at home with those on the left of the Labour Party who believed in socialism as he does, even if they may have differed on how to get there. This book offers a small segment of history as seen from the perspective of a leading trade unionist through the medium of caricature. The texts and anecdotes accompanying them are only intended as laconic complements.

Thatcher, Heseltine caricature by Ken Gill

I think this is a brilliant collection. Weirdly, I reckon the best is Bill Sirs.

Paul Routledge, Labour Editor, The Times



Ken Gill's caricatures are not what you would expect from a militant communist trade union leader. But then again you wouldn't expect a militant communist trade union leader to draw caricatures.

As caricatures they are affectionate rather than grotesque, but there's a confidence in the line which gives a brilliant insight into the confidence and determination of the man holding the pen, and the extent of his ability as an artist. Knowing that most of his caricatures were drawn on the spot, scribbled down in meetings, it is impossible not to be hugely impressed with Gill's drawings.
Morten Morland, Cartoonist at The Times

 

 

Red Reporter: Covert Correspondent for East Germany
by John Green
2009; Paperback; 347pp; ISBN 978-0-9558228-1-0

‘Television correspondents often write books as recycled products of their foreign reports. They tend to be self-indulgent; self-criticism is not on their agenda. In contrast to such self-portrayals John Green stays reassuringly humble. He is plagued by doubts about his profession and is, in the end, determined to hang up his tools. That’s an honest move, more honourable and creditable than a number of other accounts that have been written by former comrades from the GDR.’

Peter Schütt, Die Tageszeitung

 

Red Reporter is the reminiscences of someone who worked for 20 years as a covert correspondent in the West on behalf of the German Democratic Republic’s (East Germany) state television. It reveals how the GDR – in its early years ostracised as an illegitimate state by the western world – obtained its Western news coverage and was able to report from countries viscerally opposed to socialism in any form. It also explains how this coverage was based on a tradition of solidarity with the struggling peoples of the world and as a means of promoting the idea of socialism.

 

John Green grew up in Coventry. After abandoning a zoology degree course after his second year at Bristol University, he switched to Drama. In 1964 he made the adventurous move to the German Democratic Republic to study film at the National Film School in Babelsberg, near Potsdam. He was the sole British student in the country. Returning to his native Britain in 1968, he became television correspondent for the GDR and spent 22 years reporting from around the world. Because the GDR, particularly at the height of the Cold War, was not officially recognised as an independent state, he and his colleagues were obliged to work anonymously and quasi-clandestinely in order to obtain the footage they needed.

 

‘Green’s reports from fascist Greece, Ireland, Grenada, Chile, El Salvador and the so-called Third World countries of Africa convey a fascinating insight into the life of a reporter from  “the other side”.’

Dirk Ruder, Unsere Zeit


During the closing decades of the 20th century, the author travelled to many parts of the world in his work as a television correspondent, covering liberation struggles in Africa and Latin America, social and political campaigns in the USA and labour struggles in Britain and Western Europe. As a reporter on the front line he had a unique insight into the causes of conflict, the pertaining historical parameters and the political forces at work.  In its scope this book offers a special view of history through the eyes, as the author puts it, of a foot soldier rather than through the lenses of the leaders and generals who invariably write history. The book is also a welcome antidote to the plethora of simplistic ‘Stasiland’ caricatures of the GDR as merely a tyranny, peopled only by spies and victims. It is an honest and revealing account, which will be of interest to anyone concerned with the communications media and politics.


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2008

Engels: A Revolutionary Life
by John Green
Paperback; 347 pp; ISBN 978-0-9558228-0-3

Tony Benn says of this book:
‘A new and popular biography of Marx’s friend and collaborator, Friedrich Engels, is long overdue and to be welcomed. He fought his life long for socialism, and most of those years were spent in Manchester and London. His life and his ideas on democracy, socialism and economics still have relevance for us today and can be an inspiration in a struggle that is never ending’.

 

Friedrich Engels was the Che Guevara of his day. Like Che, he also came from a privileged background, but rejected middle class privilege to devote himself to the struggle for the liberation of working people, for justice and socialism. As a young man he fought in the hills of southern Germany with a small band of like-minded guerrillas. After defeat, he fled Prussian persecution to settle in Britain, where he spent the rest of his life.

book cover - Engels: A Revolutionary LifeInstead of continuing his adventurous life as a full-time activist, he took on a double life in order to support his friend, Karl Marx. In the middle class citadels of Manchester, he was known as a staid, honest and respectable businessman, but clandestinely he devoted himself to the struggle for socialism. His and Marx’s ideas and his vision helped transform the 20th century world and still resonate today. In this fascinating new biography, the icon Engels is given flesh and blood, bringing his life and times vibrantly alive.

 

 

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