Tuesday, April 15, 2008

'A positive example for budding proletarian artists'

Maoism and reviewing seem to have been the dominant subjects of discussion on this blog over the past couple of days, so I thought I might as well post some excerpts from this masterpiece of film criticism produced by the Maoist International Movement. It really does raise the bar:

Disney and Pixar's "A Bug's Life" has as good side and a bad side. The good side is that it portrays the successful collective struggle of the apparently weak oppressed and exploited (in this case, an ant colony) against the apparently strong oppressors and exploiters (in this case, a band of grasshoppers). So it could be used as a parable about the struggle against u.$. imperialism. The bad side is that it never directly ties its oppressors (the grasshoppers) to the biggest oppressors in the real world, the imperialists.

Amerikan imperialism has always cloaked itself in the rhetoric of freedom and the struggle against oppression, while actually denying the broad masses any true freedom and oppressing entire peoples around the globe. So very few audiences will recognize themselves or their government in the grasshoppers of "A Bug's Life" and take home the lesson that they should be fighting against Amerikan imperialism...

The grasshoppers demand tribute from the ants crops every year (feudalism); the ants bear this tribute because of the armed force of the grasshoppers; there is debate among the ants about whether to stand up against the grasshoppers at all and, once they decide to fight, how to do it; in this debate we see the importance both of leadership and of winning over the majority of the oppressed; the head grasshopper decides to make an example of the one ant with a rebellious attitude; the ants turn their seeming tactical weaknesses into strengths and defeat the grasshoppers; etc. etc. At the end of the film, we see that defeats of the grasshoppers and of superstition have allowed the ants to adopt a mechanical method of harvesting grain, leading to prosperity.

Art is not the same as science or politics. MIM believes that art should popularize scientific truths (and spur scientific thinking) using artistic forms. In this sense "A Bug's Life" is a positive example for budding proletarian artists...


Does that bring back the memories, for Comrade Taylor?

22 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

from the same site:

'On this point of struggle in the face of apparent doom, we find the Lord of the Rings 3" useful. Sometimes the choice is between the impossible (communist revolution and organizing people to be more harmonious and peaceful) and certain death (letting things slide as they are). With tens of
thousands of Orcs about to invade Middle Earth, to say this or that military or political mission has
little chance of success becomes meaningless, stupid and immoral. We have to choose the missions
with the greatest chance of success even if those greatest chances are not that great.

In Mao's military writing he warns his comrades again and again not to launch the guerrilla battle
without a 90% chance of winning. It would be better to run than lose. He said so because he saw
again and again that it is possible to set up battles against Japanese invaders and their
lackeys such that the enemy is outnumbered and outgunned 10 to 1--despite the fact that the
Japanese and comprador armies far outnumbered the communists at the beginning and had more money and
better technology. However, it would be important to point out that if there were no battles
possible which would guarantee 90% success rate, then Mao's statement would not apply. His battle
tactics coincided with a certain overall strategic situation in which he believed he had time and
numbers on his side in the long run. He had
witnessed concretely the possibilities he wrote
about and so his battle tactics were not at all a question of speculation or estimation or analysis
which people would disagree over. Had Mao been
placed in the Middle Earth military situation, he
would have adapted his military tactics. Like the
wise bearded wizard Gandalf, Mao would not have
sent a small band of men (including the caretaker
king's son) to face certain death at the hands of
more numerous and better defended enemies down by
the river.

Mao turned out to be right about China's overall
strategic situation and so his battle tactics were
able to produce the desired end. Today the problem
is that we have a lot of people who look away when
they think about nuclear war, environmental
destruction and black markets and legal markets in
weapons of mass destruction. In the backs of their
minds, many people know that imperialism is
producing doom, but they escape the horror of
politics and war, by among other things going to
movies like "LR3" or listening to heavy metal like
"Led Zeppelin" or just drinking a lot of whisky.

Today, the planet faces certain death in the hands
of imperialism and the forces of evil have the
upper hand momentarily. It's time for the heroes
of the proletariat to step forward.'

3:48 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Richard Taylor says that he isn't a Maoist at pressnt.

Well, he certainly sounds like one. In his film review.

Richard Taylor was probably a member of the Purified Communist Party. That was an ultra-Maoist group. It briefly existed in the late 1970s. It was very unstable. They had a bookshop in Newton, but it never took off. Probably because most of the books were in Chinese (Mandarin I think) and Albanian.

It's funny to reflect on those times now. Richard doesn't seem to have reflected enough.

Bob Feith

7:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The heroes of the proletariat have stepped forward in Nepal...and won the election. They ran and won.

8:55 pm  
Blogger Tim B said...

Gotta love those MIM guys...so ultra r-r-revolutionary that according to the them all the other Maoists are nothing but a bunch of "crypto-trotskyists" and running dogs of imperialism!

12:16 am  
Blogger Richard Taylor said...

Bob Feith

You are thinking of probably a mix of three "movements" or maybe 4 or more -

In the late 60s to 70s there were various groups - some were say

1 The NZ Communist Party (Maoist basically but there was much 'splitting' and so on amongst them...Vic Wilcox, the leader of the C.P. (a chicken farmer) was later found to have been spying for the SIS (I am fairly certain that is true)). But they had book shop called The Progressive Book Shop, ear Q-Street, run by Len Parker - a very nice fellow - a shop full of political writings of all kinds... [Resistance also had many books and pamphlets and much information]

2 The PYM - there were a youth group mostly open but run partly by the Communist party by Bill Lee (I went to the same school (Tamaki Intermediate etc) as him (and Barry, his brother) - Bill was a fitter at the Railway Workshops when I was there also in about 1969 and few others...there were a lot of Commos and Trade Unionists there - that is where I got a copy of Rape of Vietnam - a must to understand the massive duplicity of the US Imperialists

3 'Resistance' - in the middle of Queen street kind of in sight of the police station (lol!)...near the town hall on the (opposite side to where Borders etc are now) - all sorts used to meet there - a lot was done - it was more or less anarchistic and there were hippies and all sorts of rabble and characters, students and so on - they did a lot of good work opposing the Vietnam War - apartheid and so on...Roger Fowler was more or less "based there" & Tim Shadbolt (a great orator who could draw crowds as if by some magical powers) or and very funny,not politically affiliated as such - he was very courageous, charging straight into the sops and so on - he was a boxer and won many amateur fights BTW) and even Helen Clark used to turn up for meetings...

4. Warrick Jordan (the present owner of the Hard To Find Book Empire - from a family of multi millionaires I believe (hearsay from Iain Sharp - wit,journo,poet and librarian extraordinairre)) and others had a press run I think by Bill Millett (I think it was called The Hard Echo Press) - poet and passionate politico of some ilk...who also had a Poster Shop in Mt Eden - he had great abilities and was at one stage involved with the "beat scene" in the US...

5 Dr Steve Taylor who had group at about 127 Ponsonby road - these may have been the strange "super Maoists" - I am not sure of their political direction but they had broke away from the CP - I didn't attend any of the meetings but I met Steve when he was on a hunger strike against the Vietnam war in Albert park - my ex knew of it and we went to see him - he was there in the Rotunda himself with drinks...I used to visit him in his capacity as a doctor! (And mine as hypochondriac...)

6 Frank Lane - he "broke away" from Resistance and the PYM (of course this wasn't a dramatic or bitter break...but there was some talk at the time and so on -Frank's mother was in the Australian Communist Party and they did a lot of organisation against the war in Australia -he and many others Australia - not wanting to get killed in Vietnam - came to NZ to avoid the draft.

Frank pushed Mao's ideas in a way that no one else I knew did at the time - we were to live like fish in the sea (of the people) and work with and for the people...and we actually did do that - also Roger Fowler did also [his was another group working at the local and wider levels - they organised cheap food for local people and civil liberties etc rent protection etc etc] - he and his group (he is still around working for new immigrants and others in Mangere I think)]...Frank and his mother started a book shop that became a poster shop -Hendrix, Mao, Marx, pop "idols" and others were hug in the shop and sold quite well - he also showed films of various kinds (Rosmemary's Baby, Fahrenheit 451, Planet of the Apes, Easy Rider I think...and a lot of documentaries and political films from Eastern Europe and so on - or set during the war) to locals - it used to pack out on Sunday afternoons)...it was a brilliant idea...we also organsied a big protest against the expulsion of Mrs Martinac and Peter Williams QC got her more money - the AC council, crooked lawyers, and various Real Estate agents were using the Public Works act to intimidate people off and gobble up land in Central Ponsonby and then re-sell at huge profits - Mrs Martinac's place was on the corner of Angelsea and Wellington streets opposite to where the famous Bushell's Dairy used to be; she was the last and refused to move even as bulldozers menaced around her... and so on...I and my then girl friend stayed in her house to "guard it" at nights and to give her moral support...so perhaps we were super-Maoists but we were not blind fanatics -we took the useful ideas and applied them as much as we could, we even had criticism-self criticisms sessions and studied The Little Red Book - a great book BTW, but we were in tumult and greatly excited and perhaps disturbed or troubled by those heady times - given we were young and passionate and mixed up etc and I was in love...

2:54 am  
Blogger maps said...

Thanks for that Richard - very interesting. I'm sure Tim Bowron, as a paid-up member of the Leftist Trainspotters site/list will be able to use it some way!

10:43 am  
Blogger Richard Taylor said...

To Bob Feith again - you referred to the late 70s -- I wasn't involved actively in politics then, I know that the Communist Party moved over to being Albanian. By that time I realised that the political movements in NZ were effectively either full of demoralised or degenerated madmen and women or dead (mostly totally ineffective) as a force - so I didn't take part in much - nothing much has happened since -

But - sub speciae aeternitatis - none of this really matters.

5:02 pm  
Blogger Richard Taylor said...

Maps - you are too kind - but to be quite candid I don't really care tuppence about Tibet or China but I do like talking about these memories of mine.

Very egotistical and un-PC of me but there you go!

Perhaps I should contact these "trainspotter" fellows...

BTW what actually do trainspotters do? It is interesting (or boring in a - well an especialy boring way) that Sidis (a brilliant child prodigy - his IQ was the highest ever recorded - who "dropped out" so to speak) and who was one of the greatest geniuses who ever lived - 'chilled out' of science and academia or any intellectual stuff etc and worked as clerk etc - I read the book about him - but his interests included pacifism and he was a (very keen) COMMUNIST !!

- and he was also a member of a club that kept tabs on train transfer tickets (his fantastic memory helped him there)...

5:15 pm  
Blogger Tim B said...

Hi Richard,

you can find out all you want to know about leftist trainspotters here:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/
leftist_trainspotters/

cheers!

5:46 pm  
Blogger Richard Taylor said...

"Amerikan imperialism has always cloaked itself in the rhetoric of freedom and the struggle against oppression, while actually denying the broad masses any true freedom and oppressing entire peoples around the globe. So very few audiences will recognize themselves or their government in the grasshoppers of "A Bug's Life" and take home the lesson that they should be fighting against Amerikan imperialism...

The grasshoppers demand tribute from the ants crops every year (feudalism); the ants bear this tribute because of the armed force of the grasshoppers; there is debate among the ants about whether to stand up against the grasshoppers at all and, once they decide to fight, how to do it; in this debate we see the importance both of leadership and of winning over the majority of the oppressed; the head grasshopper decides to make an example of the one ant with a rebellious attitude; the ants turn their seeming tactical weaknesses into strengths..."

Yes this is an interesting take. And the sub text does exist, These things can work for the good of people or not...

Proletarian art I see potentially as liberating -certainly nothing to do with the present Hollywood stuff - and glamorous stars etc...a more creative and more collaborative 'art' involving many people and encouraging each in his/her potentials...

Even films such as the one here could be used - the industry is controlled too much by profit and big money etc. Dr. Jack Ross has examples of degenerate films with "sexy robots" on his Blog right now - that would have to go...that sort of corrupt stuff dreamed up by demented Boffins....

Yes he has some deep and mysterious theory of it all but that would have to be suppressed - that kind of thing...

7:49 pm  
Blogger Richard Taylor said...

I made this comment in error:

"1 The NZ Communist Party (Maoist basically but there was much 'splitting' and so on amongst them...Vic Wilcox, the leader of the C.P. (a chicken farmer) was later found to have been spying for the SIS (I am fairly certain that is true)). ....]"

The grand daughter of Vic Wilcox -contacted me recently - and she pointed out that this is not true as far as her grandmother can recall and I realise now that I have fallen here into the trap of admitting hearsay and forgetting to check it - and in fact I have no idea how I thought I knew this .. my guess is that Wilcox was approached by the SIS - told someone of the incident (or the SIS spread the news) and then one of his "enemies" or whoever repeated it and it became "he was spying".

So I apologise to Wilcox relatives and his granddaughter for this error.

5:59 pm  
Blogger Richard Taylor said...

I will add that a lot here are Trotskyites - now we always suspected them of being connected - or many of them probably were - to the SIS or the CIA etc -

and Maps/Feith acting in his Trotskyite cloak "stirred me" up to write all this stuff....

My feeling is that contra Mao - Trotsky was useless - and as a philosopher and leader Mao was indeed very great - Trotsky a crackpot and very likely a spy himself ... but that is my view.

It's very likely the Trotskyites undermined the Maoists for payments from the secret services - but that cant be known for sure.

6:09 pm  
Anonymous Viagra Online said...

men I think that make this kind of comparision could bring you some problems, I mean is a movie not oppression form as you say, it's good that you think against the imperialism, but there's impererialism not only US.

5:42 am  
Anonymous levitra cialis said...

It is one of the most nice films in the world, My son love the movie.
Review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes reports that 91% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 81 reviews, with an average score of 7.9/10.

6:18 am  
Anonymous Sweet HitcherHiker said...

Sorry Richard, but Bill Millett never printed anything. He did own a printing press he never used for a few years in the early 70's.
He sold it to a lovely man named John Von Tunzelman in about '74-'75.He was never part of the beat scene either.

10:54 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

I knew Bill Millett well. He made posters or bought them and sold them in poster shop in Mt Eden, I know as my ex wife worked there before I met her.

Frank Lane also opened poster shop (started as a book shop) at 123 Ponsonby Road and I also heard about him then.

I don't know if he printed anything himself but I have about three of his books and they have interesting (unique) printing and form (one is 'Things of Iron...' [Saggitarius Press] which includes art work by pretty well known NZ artists.) Ian Sinclair said to me that he was associated with Hard Echo Press which did work by poets such as him and Mike Johnson and the Hard to Find man Warwick Sven Jordan who also wrote poetry ..in fact I found and now possess "Razors on the Slide". (someone famously put a razor blade in the slide at then then Parnell Baths, and a girl was injured, and incident I recall from the 50s) -

but I don't think I ever though Bill was in any "beat scene" in NZ. He was from the United States and was (said to be) in the air force the turned against the war. The Hiroshima, Nagasaki bombs was his big angst, and also racism in the US.

I don't recall any beat scene in NZ, but in the US he was associated with some of what might also loosely be called "Beats" ..I saw a ref. to him somewhere in book on that theme in book owned by Martin Leo.

But the books he did, whether printed by himself or not were done on special press.

11:49 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Bill Millett also did work involved with animation and even strobe lighting etc one of the books I bought off Martin that Bill once owned was about the experimental film maker Norman Mclaren...

But you, being "anonymous" can claim anything.

12:04 am  
Anonymous Sweet Hitcher Hiker said...

Sorry if Ive offended you Richard.
I may be anonymous but I speak the truth.
He was a very interesting, dynamic person, especially for a place like NZ, but he was pretty much a hypocrite who said one thing but did another.(Probably not too different from a lot of "artists".)
His best ability in my opinion was to attract very nice, intelligent, but slightly naive people to listen to him.
But he did a lot of harm to the people closest to him.
As for his stint in WW2, he told me that the reason he joined the airforce was to delay his entry into the war and combat, while he was trained.
Ive always thought it was quite tragic that thousands of nice, less crafty young men fought and died, while a person like Bill survived to leave a trail of destruction in his personal life.

11:07 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

You haven't offended me it's just scary (or strange) talking to someone I don't know! (But this intriguing nevertheless).

My guess is you are an ex of his or something...

I am well aware of Bill's faults and I assure you I have always had healthy skepticism - BUT he is definitely mentioned in the book I talked about. (How truthful all of that was in the book I saw I have no idea).

He also talks about being behind Tiny Tim and knowing the poet Shapiro (there are two, I mean the older bloke) and so on...

I have no idea whether he was in the war or what he did at all -I cant corroborate any of it..a person is in fact made up of the "reality" and the fictions he or she tells about him or herself...

But I saw quite lot of him, I organized at least two readings for him (and others) I got him to read one night, and advertised it then in part as "Wild Bill Millett..." at my Panmure Poetry Club about 1995 or so, and it was tremendous success, and the night was also "open", he had those "scrolls he used to unroll and did his thing with the pointer (I recall some of my teachers using those when I was in primary school).

He was certainly gifted in his own way - perhaps not a great poet but very dynamic and quit committed, and as you suggest, he had the gift of the gab in abundance...but he's not the first bullshit artist I've met!! But he was no fool is sure. And it would be hard to find anyone on this planet who hasn't hurt another person in some way.

After the poetry night (where he was a big hit!)he phoned me and went on for about an hour about how badly everything went, who there were people eating in from of him. I am quite a patient person as you may have gathered...and in fact I have been known to ear bash!

Also, I just recalled, I'm pretty sure a certain Michel Eliard (a musician) who Bil wanted to collaborate with was almost driven mad by irascible Bill...that was also the time I organized poetry readings at Ron Riddell's first Bookshop in Dominion Road. We had range of readers in 1995/6 I think it was.


I don't think it would have changed the course of human history if Bill had fought in WW2 or not!! As my own father (who avoided WW2 also, I am a glad or I might not have existed!) said - it is better to be a live chicken than a dead duck!
You cos d say all the others who pulled the triggers were mugs, idiots, warmongers,...after all you cant have war without soldiers to pull triggers. So Bill was wise to at least survive. That's what it is about...surviving as long as you can whatever. Bill in fact, didn't start the war...it was little man with a funny moestache if I recall rightly...anyway we are talking about ancient history, these days most people in the world have no idea what the big wars were about or when they happened...or if they happened.

But I think you might find (if you think really hard about it) find the US has as many suckers as NZ.

But Bill was certainly a presence. he die of an asthmatic attack about 1998 I think it was. He had waned to read at some festival butI wasn't organizing the readings so I couldn't help him. I am sad he is no longer with us, given his faults, he was a part of my (and many others' history.

12:12 am  
Anonymous sweet hitcher hiker said...

Hi Richard, thanks for your interesting reply.
Im sorry that he's gone, too.
I only found out from an earlier post of yours, and I was quite shocked.
I am an ex, as you correctly guessed.(A survivor perhaps?)
I spent most of my teens and twenties with him, which is a pretty large chunk of anybody's life.I'd appreciate remaining anonymous for personal reasons.
I think Bill did meet Jack Kerouac but didnt like him.
Its true he used to manage Tiny Tim in the 60's in new York.
T.T was on a visit here about '76.
We went to his concert and afterwards met him backstage.
He came to our place with his manager and Bill asked him to take back to NY a recording of his bird calls.
As often happened, Bill sabotaged the renewed friendship over the cost of a tape. He had paid $18 for a new tape (quite a lot back then) and as Tiny was taking it home with him, insisted he should pay him for it.
An argument naturally ensued, during which I noticed T.T and his manager glance in my direction, then Tiny Tim opened his wallet and handed over $20.
They never contacted Bill again and who could blame them.
They were two very nice, polite gentlemen.
As for Bill avoiding getting killed in WW2. You can't blame him, plus he was only 18 or 19 when he was drafted.
Of course someone had to fight that nasty little man with the moustache and Bill being half-Jewish had more reason than most.
I know he was very upset that his mum was apparently hoping to collect his life insurance if he was killed in the war.
Most of his problems probably stem from his anger at her.
His only brother joined some religious order.
Its been nice reminiscing with you.
We all have our faults, some more than others!
Nice to converse with someone with a shared history.
I will keep dropping in to your blogspot.

12:03 am  
Blogger Richard said...

The Wonderful thing about Bronstein - Twatsky I always dream about is that lovely Ice Pick slicing through his degenerate and fevered skull and brain after a lurid night he spent in sodomitic and passionate debauch with Frida Khalo.

Just like one of my all time favourite films "The night of the long knives when the Evil Man decimates his dodgy Brown Shi(r)ts mates...sorry David L B!!

9:53 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

" Hi Richard, thanks for your interesting reply.
Im sorry that he's gone, too.
I only found out from an earlier post of yours, and I was quite shocked.
.......... .
T.T was on a visit here about '76.
We went to his concert and afterwards met him backstage.
He came to our place with his manager and Bill asked him to take back to NY a recording of his bird calls.
....................
We all have our faults, some more than others!
Nice to converse with someone with a shared history.
.... "

Thanks for this...interesting about Bill.

I don't run this Blog - I do have one called EYELIGHT -
not surprising you thought so as I make huge and often irrelevant posts on here..hmm...

Comrade Dr. Scott Hamilton runs this Blog when he isn't boozing or raging against or in his new book to be called: "Revisionists and The Deep Problem Maoism, the Death of the Author of Marxism, Catholicism and Theoretical Terry Eagletonism and Evil and the Postmodernist Intersection and The Rise of the New Intertetxtual Transcendental Nihilism"

That aside, all the best, RT

10:06 pm  

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