Conversation with Comrade Lenin by Vladimir Mayakovsky, 1929
Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930) was a Bolshevik revolutionary and came to be one of the most celebrated communist poets in the Soviet Union and internationally. He was also a talented playwright, artist and actor who used art as a medium to convey the politics and ideals of the new socialist state.
The Carpet Weavers of Kuyan-Bulak Honour Lenin by Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht was a German Marxist poet, playwright and theatre director. Brecht lived through a turbulent era. Narrowly avoiding conscription at 16 during World War One, he worked prodigiously through throughout the period of the Weimar Republic. Brecht was forced to flee with the rise of the Nazis in 1933. He left the USA during the McCarthyite “Red Scare” returning to what was then the German Democratic Republic. He died on the 14th of August 1956.
Langston Hughes was a poet and social activist of African, European and Native American heritage. A communist who was particularly involved with the struggle of African-Americans, he travelled extensively around the USSR and was involved in film making and Soviet anti-segregation propaganda before travelling to Spain to report on the Civil War.
After various accusations and a testimony in front of the US senates anti-communist Homeland Security Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations he was distanced from the Communist Party USA and the socialist movement as a whole. Although still venerated as a great African-American activist and poet large sections of his work are still shunned due to their intimate attachment to the communist movement.
Robert Griffiths, General Secretary of the Communist Party, was invited to speak at the (COVID-19 delayed!) International Scientific and Practical Conference in honour of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, hosted by the Leningrad Regional Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, last Saturday (17 October 2020). Challenge carries a transcript of the speech delivered by the CP General Secretary.
Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, known to us as Lenin, was born 150 years ago on the 22nd of April. His effect on history, on revolutionary thought and on the minds of the people of this world, all remain possibly unparalleled by any figure of the tumultuous 20th century. One of the ways in which Lenin remained immortalised was by the admiration displayed for him by various artists around the world, especially writers. Lenin remains, as Marcel Liebman once wrote, a figure which nearly every insurrectionary movement claims as their heritage.
On the 22nd April, communists around the world took part in birthday celebrations like no other. 150 years previous, leader of the Great October Socialist Revolution, Vladimir Lenin, was born. While the Coronavirus has changed our lives and restricted our ability to campaign, it has not hampered our spirit, nor our pride in remembering the heroes of our movement who came before us.