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Two Decades of October Revolution: from Utopian Dreams to Utopian Visions

A panel discussion, chaired by John Callow , along with Jane Powell , Grant Pooke , Tatiana Baskakova , Elena Zaytseva

' Cities and railways, gardens and viaducts – all will be permeated with creative will, transforming the world by the lever of electricity and ferroconcrete. Instead of box-like houses – miracles of glass and steel, instead of the metaphysics of Rodin's statues – constructive forms of furniture ', - these words, from one of the theorists of constructivism, represent the utopian dream about socialism. How is this represented by posters from the Marx Library? Created by political activists with political purposes, the collection gives pragmatic visions of the future, provided by the Bolsheviks with the purpose of agitation and propaganda. The curators and organizers of the exhibition discuss the transformation of Utopia during the first two decades after the October revolution.

John Callow is a writer, screenwriter, and historian, specialising in Labour history and the political culture of seventeenth century Europe. He is the author often books including: King in Exile (2004); Marx in London (2008); Change the World (2010); The Art of Revolution (2011) – co-authored with Grant Pooke and Jane Powell; GMB@Work : The story behind the Union (2012); and James Connolly and the Re-Conquest of Ireland (2013). He was Director of Archives at the Marx Library 2005-13 and is now Chief of Political Educationat the GMB union.Heplayed a key role in locating the posters displayed at this exhibition. Together with Grant Pooke and Jane Powell he worked on the Leverhulme-funded project to research and catalogue the Marx Library’s collection of Soviet and Comintern posters.

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