Marx’s Das Kapital on Chinese stage


This video from Brazil says about itself:

[Sergio Silva] The Surplus Value Samba

This video is in Portuguese and has already been uploaded to YouTube twice. The original version was first uploaded in October 05, 2006 as [Sergio Silva] O samba da mais-valia. Then, French subtitles were added and uploaded in March 19, 2008 as [Sergio Silva] La Samba de la Plus-value. However, to better understand the thought of Marx, the world clamoured for English subtitles and here they are at last. The credits of that spectacular work are at the end of the video. We can see the world as change now. At least the WWW world. Revolution and Carnival are finally together.

From British daily The Guardian:

China to bring Das Kapital to life on Beijing stage

Producers promise blend of Broadway and Vegas for all-dancing, all-singing adaptation of Marx‘s treatise

* Tania Branigan in Beijing
* Tuesday 17 March 2009 08.22 GMT

You’ve read the book, attended the seminars and pondered the accumulation of surplus value – now see the musical.

Chinese producers are attempting to transform Das Kapital from a hefty treatise on political economy into a popular stage show, complete with catchy tunes and nifty footwork.

Whether Karl Marx would approve of his masterwork being served up as entertainment for China’s new bourgeoisie is a matter of speculation. But the director He Nian – best known for his stage adaptation of a martial-arts spoof – has promised to unite elements from Broadway musicals and Las Vegas shows in a hip, interesting and educational play featuring a live band, singing and dancing.

“The particular performance style we choose is not important, but Marx’s theories cannot be distorted,” he said sternly, in an interview with the Wen Hui Bao newspaper.

Zhang Jun, an economics professor at Shanghai’s prestigious Fudan University, is being drafted in to ensure the production is intellectually rigorous.

The director said the play, which is to open next year, will be set in a company and will document the progress of its workers. In the first half they realise their boss is exploiting them and begin to understand the theory of surplus value. But far from uniting, as Marx enjoined them in the Communist Manifesto, some continue to work as before, some mutiny and others employ collective bargaining.

Yang Shaolin, the general manager of the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre, said that in the past it would have been difficult to imagine Das Kapital adapted into a play with “main characters, major dramatic elements, and profound educational meaning”, but that it was now possible thanks to the flourishing of different styles in Chinese theatre.

Even so, the producers face a tough challenge. True, the social criticism of Marx’s 19th century contemporaries Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo has been transmuted into two hugely successful all-singing, all-dancing musicals – Oliver! and Les Miserables. But unlike the novels on which those were based, Das Kapital has never been noted for its vivid characterisation or gripping plot.

There is some precedent for the new production. A Japanese writer and translator is said to have adapted Das Kapital for the stage in the 1930s, and the result was subsequently translated into Chinese.

Three years ago a German theatre group had another bash.

See also here.

If Marx and Engels had written a comprehensive article on aesthetics, what would it have said about music? Here.

About Engels’ Anti Dühring: here.

The 150th anniversary of the publication of Capital: here.

Wal-Mart vs. Karl Marx


Wal-Mart in Karl Marx street in Berlin, Germany

This is a photo of Wal-Mart in Karl Marx street in (West) Berlin, Germany.

See also here.

USA: Black Teacher May Get 15 Years in Prison for Cutting in Line at Wal-Mart: here.

It must have seemed like a great plot line at the time. In 2005, Wal-Mart and Netflix announced that the companies’ two online retail sites would “promote each other’s core business.” Now, the deal is back in the headlines — but with a negative spin: here.

More than six years before the biggest sex discrimination lawsuit in history was filed against Wal-Mart Stores, the company hired a prominent law firm to examine its vulnerability to just such a suit: here.

Why the Wal-Mart Case Is So Important to Women, Minorities: here.

Wal-Mart v. Dukes and the Matter of Size. Erica Payne, New Deal 2.0: “Women’s History Month is a celebration of women’s progress and the American piece of this epic story began in Lawrence, Massachusetts, when 25,000 mill workers took to the streets to protest for better wages. One particularly memorable account from the Bread and Roses strike involves several women who surrounded a police officer, stole his gun and then his pants and then tried to throw him in a river. The officer was saved from an icy dunking by fellow members of the force (who were colluding with the mill owners to stop these fierce women from striking). Here in the U.S., we will best honor our sisters past and present by ensuring that women’s progress doesn’t come to a grinding halt on March 29th in the hallowed halls of the Supreme Court”: here.

UK: Laurence Bradshaw, sculptor of Marx’ monument in London


Highgate Cemetry, Karl Marx monument

From London daily The Morning Star:

The man who moulded Marx

(Tuesday 03 April 2007)

IN FOCUS: Marx’s grave

CHRISTINE LINDEY goes in search of the artist who made Marx’s grave.

We all know what the Karl Marx Monument in Highgate cemetery looks like, yet few stop to ask who made it or the circumstances under which it was made.

Only 11 people were at Marx‘s funeral in 1883 and the first grave at Highgate was a modest one, but it quickly became a place of pilgrimage and, in 1955, the Communist Party of Great Britain set up the Marx Memorial fund.

Laurence Bradshaw (1899-1979) won the commission.

I met his widow Eileen Bradshaw, who made the following written statements by him available for this article.

Germany, Karl Marx’ Capital on stage


Karl Marx, Das KapitalFrom British daily The Guardian:

Collective puts Marx’s Das Kapital on stage

Jess Smee in Berlin

Thursday November 9, 2006

There is no wedding, no romantic interest and no plot to speak of.

Instead the reader of Karl Marx’s epic work, Das Kapital, is treated to a lengthy treatise on the division of labour and capitalist modes of production, offered up in long, convoluted sentences.

Yet none of this has deterred a German theatre group from achieving the seemingly impossible: bringing the huge classic on economic theory to the stage.

Not since Proust was serialised has a dramatist faced such a gargantuan task – turning catchy topics such as “the production of absolute surplus value” into a crowd puller.

To that purpose, the stage of the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus is bedecked with bookcases and a bust of Marx.

Eight people – selected from among the few who have read the book from cover to cover – tell their own stories, creating a theatrical collage where Marx forms the common thread.

The play, Kapital: Volume One, is the brainchild of Rimini Protokoll, a collective of young German directors who have made a name for themselves in “documentary theatre”.

In Kapital, the participants make up a diverse bunch.

There is a staunch Marxist who rails against Coca-Cola and the evils of consumer society, a socialist singer from the former communist east Germany, and a blind call-centre worker who dreams of going on Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

In an unusual take on audience participation, every theatregoer gets a bound book – Volume 23 of the Collected Works of Marx and Engels.

Marx and Hegel: here.