King's College London
Exhibitions & Conferences

The theme of international Marxism

One of the aims of the Trotskyite strand of Marxism is worldwide revolution and this helps to explain why the incipient Soviet Union was held in such high suspicion by many people of other nations, fearful of revolution in their own lands. Even after Stalin’s adoption of the doctrine of ‘socialism in one country’, arguments for countering Soviet influence in conflicts throughout the 20th century were predicated largely on the fear that an expansion of Soviet power and territory would threaten the democratic nations of the world and their hard-won freedoms, trade processes and capitalist systems.

Jacob Burck in front of his mural entitled: Completion of the railroadJacob Burck in front of his mural entitled: Completion of the railroadThe publication featured here sits within this theme of international Marxism. Its subtitle is Organ of the International Union of Revolutionary Writers; and its former title was: Literature of the world revolution. Published in five languages, Russian, French, German, English and Chinese, from 1932 to 1945, the magazine names distributors in the USSR, Great Britain and the USA.

The images reproduced here show two revolutionary murals by Jacob Burck (1907-82), an American who travelled to the Soviet Union in 1935, a visit announced by the magazine on the previous page:

Burck feels that he needs a deeper understanding of socialism, to continue his artistic growth. He is coming to the Soviet Union for his “post-graduate course”. He will become staff artist of the Komsomolskaya Pravda.

A mural by Jacob Burck entitled: Education, with learners gatheredA mural by Jacob Burck entitled: EducationBurck travelled to the Soviet Union and worked on murals commissioned by Intourist, the official Soviet travel agency.

However, disillusioned by his orders to tailor his work to fit in with Stalin’s ‘cult of personality’, he returned home less devoted to the Communist cause. In later life he worked as a cartoonist for American newspapers and won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning while at the Chicago times in 1941.

These images are displayed courtesy of Conrad and Joseph Burck and we are very grateful to them for granting this permission.

In this exhibition

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