Sunday, February 25, 2024

Honourable Mention: Interplanetary Revolution

This is a just over seven-minute-long Soviet propaganda movie from 1924, with the distinction of being only the second animated film made by the Soviets and the first sci-fi. It was directed by Nikolay Khodataev, Zenon Komissarenko and Youry Merkulov. I have to thank David Annwn Jones for bringing it to my attention.

Now, before looking at why this has got a mention, I have to just remind that Marx did use the vampire as analogous to capitalism. Indeed, most famously the line in Das Kapital, “Capital is dead labour, which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks.”

sucking the lifeblood of the worker

So, to the mention. The cartoon suggests that (in the near future of 1929) men will have colonised Mars and that the evil capitalists will be sucking the lifeblood of the enslaved workers there until Comrade Cominternov saves the day by going there and sparking revolution. The cartoon shows two capitalists becoming gorged upon sucked blood. We can also see that one has a swastika on his brow – showing a Soviet conflation of fascism and capitalism (the swastika was adopted by the Nazis in 1920 but also by other far right nationalistic organisations of the time). It’s this scene that gets the cartoon its mention, but take away the Soviet propaganda aspect and think about (a hundred years later) whether there are today capitalist demagogues who have eyes set to Mars (or space generally) and play to the worst of the right-wing popularist tropes, whilst treating their workers as disposable means to capital…

The imdb page is here.

I have embedded probably the best resolution I can find on YouTube but there are versions with English subs added that can be found through a quick google.

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