Under the banner of Marxism [«Под знаменем марксизма»], 1923-1931

So it seems some glorious madman has taken it upon himself to scan and upload the entire run of the early Soviet theoretical journal, named Under the Banner of Marxism [«Под знаменем марксизма»]. A stupendous Stakhanovite feat. Needless to say, whoever did this is a bona fide герой труда.

Using a comically outdated online platform, no less. It was posted somewhere in the ultradank universe of Russian Livejournal, which has more or less become a medium for blogging. On one such blog, evidently belonging to a Baconian Bolshevik — entitled Знание власть, or “knowledge is power” — I found it.

Predictably, the quality of the articles began to sharply decline by the end of the 1920s. Wilhelm Reich’s Dialectical Materialism and Psychoanalysis was published on its pages as late as 1929, however. You can download all of them, excepting the post-1931 issues (which can be found here), by clicking below.

Following those links, you can read the open letter Trotsky sent the editors of the first issue. Lenin himself singled out this letter in his own note, which was included in the double issue published next, while expressing the hope this venture would take the shape of a “society of materialist friends of Hegelian dialectics.” Abram Deborin, the stuffy Hegelian Menshevik and prominent critic of Lukács, edited the journal from 1926 through 1930, before being purged later in that decade.

Trotsky himself underscored the importance of the letter in The Stalin School of Falsification (1937), which, in pointing to the difference between the changed conditions of education of the younger members of the party from that of their older comrades, outlined the necessity of a new theoretical approach in order to safeguard the political experience accumulated within the party.

Despite the importance attributed to the letter by Lenin and Trotsky, Leszek Kolakowski, in his Main Currents of Marxism, considered the letter to be unexceptional. So much the worse for him.



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Moisei Ginzburg’s “The international front of modern architecture”

Translated from the Russian 

Image: Photograph of Moisei Ginzburg,
editor of Modern Architecture (1927)


[From Modern Architecture (1926) № 2]

[Pg. 41]

If one takes a cursory glance at everything that is now taking place in the architectural life of all countries, the first impression will be this: the world is split into two halves. In one of them, eclecticism still reigns — having lost any point of departure, having exhausted itself through and through — perfectly symbolizing the deteriorating culture of old Europe. In the other [half] young, healthy shoots push themselves through — landmarks, the beginnings of a new life start to emerge, from which it is not difficult to extend the single, unified thread of an international front of modern architecture. Despite all the differences and peculiarities of different countries and peoples, this front really exists. The results of the revolutionary pursuits of the modern architectural avant-gardes of all nations intersect with one another closely in their main lines of development. They are forging a new international language of architecture, intelligible and familiar, despite the boundary posts and barriers.

But it is worth examining this picture a little closer, as it now becomes evident that within the overall stream [of modern architecture] merge various currents.  The path of the creative pursuit in different countries and among different peoples is not quite the same. For along with the general similarity there also exist differences — differences not only in the formal expression of this language, but also in the basic principles that inform it. Continue reading

The Major Works of Iakov Chernikhov

Many thanks to Arch-Grafika.ru/ for making available the following major works of the famed Russian avant-garde architect Iakov Chernikhov, which I have converted into PDF form and rendered searchable:

1. Яков Чернихов — 101 архитектурная фантазия (1927) [101 Architectural Fantasies]

2. Яков Чернихов — Основы Современной Архитектуры (1930) [The Fundamentals of Modern Architecture]

3. Яков Чернихов — Конструкция машинных и архитектурных форм (1933) [The Construction of Machine and Architectural Forms, of which I have recently posted an excellent full-text translation by the late Catherine Cooke]

An additional thank you to Arch-Grafika for crediting my work in uploading Izvestiia ASNOVA.