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Cuba banned the beatles

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Dec 2013, 14:24
Ideology: Democratic Socialism
Unperson
Post 04 Jan 2014, 17:52
Hard to believe but during the 1960's and 1970's the Beatles were banned for being "too American", ok, fair enough but Jorge Serguera, then the president of the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television claimed that their music posed a thread to the revolution taking place there!
Umm, really? You either liked the Beatles or you didn't. Those that did listened to the music, enjoyed it and I don't believe there was any great anti-Cuban message in their lyrics. Later Jorge would admit that he enjoyed their music and only banned them on orders from above.
Right, so he listened to them and didn't undermine the revolution, so what were they so scared of?
Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 04 Jan 2014, 18:04
Funny since their LPs were freely published by the Soviet state-owned music store. Anyway Beatles suck.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Dec 2013, 14:24
Ideology: Democratic Socialism
Unperson
Post 04 Jan 2014, 18:08
Loz wrote:
Funny since their LPs were freely published by the Soviet state-owned music store. Anyway Beatles suck.


Oh, I'm not a fan either but over in the UK, the CPGB in 1968 said that liking the Beatles was a symptom of fascism.
Are being availalbe in the USSR I always thought they were banned there too.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/docum ... ussr.shtml

What is it with communism and the Beatles?
Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 04 Jan 2014, 18:09
I wouldn't trust that BBC article, at least when it comes to the Beatles.
El. guitars certainly weren't banned in the USSR, which you can check in five seconds with Google.
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Soviet cogitations: 589
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Dec 2013, 14:24
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Unperson
Post 04 Jan 2014, 18:22
Loz wrote:
I wouldn't trust that BBC article, at least when it comes to the Beatles.
El. guitars certainly weren't banned in the USSR, which you can check in five seconds with Google.


Thanks, but what is your take on The Plastic People of the Universe, did they have a pivotal role in the demise of communism in Czechoslovakia?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Plasti ... e_Universe
Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 04 Jan 2014, 18:53
Never heard of them, don't care. Obviously if "this avant-garde group went against the grain of the Communist regime" they would have faced harassment from the police back then.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 22 Oct 2004, 15:15
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Politburo
Post 04 Jan 2014, 22:22
They did not make these decisions on the specific content of the lyrics, but rather as part of a bigger cultural offensive against Anglo-American influences. There was this big idea that rock 'n roll promoted anti-social attitudes, that it instilled foreign values, etc. There was also a fear of the loss of national culture to Anglicisation. This should also be considered in its Cold War context: culture is not politically neutral. It can be, and has been, mobilised by imperialism.

Nevertheless, banning this kind of music was a mistake, derived from fear and ignorance. It's not some unique communist crime, because western countries ban and censor music all the time as well, but it's particularly damaging when you literally don't have any legal option to listen to perfectly normal music.

In this particular case, apparently it was only a matter of a few years (although each year was one too many), at the height of ideological rigidity in Cuba. At least they now give Lennon the recognition he deserves. I don't know what the situation was in other socialist countries. In western countries, communist parties apparently also criticised rock 'n roll on the same grounds, at least until the late 60s.

I actually like The Beatles, by the way.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Mar 2010, 01:20
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Forum Commissar
Post 05 Jan 2014, 01:20
No14 has the right idea as usual. The ban was just a bit of a knee jerk reaction to something popular in the West. If there was any deeper analysis they might not have been quite so threatened by it.

They've tried to make up for it now although delinquents hipsters have taken to stealing his glasses.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lennon_Park

Quote:
Anyway Beatles suck.
Look ... here's one now.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Mar 2005, 20:08
Embalmed
Post 05 Jan 2014, 01:32
No 14 wrote:
At least they now give Lennon the recognition he deserves..


As a guy who wrote a song about how religion is dumb and communism is good and also laid in bed for a week with his wife to protest the war?

Also lol:

Wikipedia wrote:
According to FBI surveillance reports (and confirmed by Tariq Ali in 2006) Lennon was sympathetic to the International Marxist Group, a Trotskyist group formed in Britain in 1968.[204] However, the FBI considered Lennon to have limited effectiveness as a revolutionary since he was "constantly under the influence of narcotics".[205]
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"Bleh, i don't even know what i'm arguing for. What a stupid rant. Disregard what i wrote." - Loz
"Every time is gyros time" - Stalinista
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Mar 2010, 01:20
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Forum Commissar
Post 05 Jan 2014, 01:51
He was no political theorist and his ideas are pretty muddled and inconsistent, but I think he's more useful (at this stage) as an ally than an enemy.

The FBI were quite correct about the drug issue. It reminds me of The Clash song "Ghetto Defendant" about how drug addiction was undermining the political side of the the Punk movement. Even if it wasn't a legal issue it's very easy to discredit, undermine and manipulate people who are addicts.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 Apr 2010, 04:44
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Philosophized
Post 05 Jan 2014, 02:02
All the "establishment" needed to do to shut Lennon down was to point out the inconsistency of slogans like "Power To The People" with the reality of his tax exile from Britain, which (in my opinion) he disguised by claiming that British society were racist toward Yoko. Which, fair enough, many were, but it's also true that lots of people really resented Yoko being allowed on stage, since she had (and has) ZERO musical talent. But Lennon left the U.K. over money, not racism.

I like John and I like the Beatles, and it's simply stupid to deny the overwhelmingly liberating effect that they've had on our culture, but none of this should blind us to the fact that they were VERY far from being perfect human beings. And they certainly aren't useful propagandists for either side of the purely political divide between "the establishment" and "the revolution".

As for "banning the Beatles", it was equally as stupid a move then as banning (or jailing) Pussy Riot is today. All they do is make martyrs of them, when the smartest thing to do would be to hand the girls a microphone and let them spout off all the nonsense they please. Honestly, 15 minutes of untrammeled pro-Khodorkovsky gibberish would be enough to defuse any "credibility" they may possess in the eyes of the public, Russian or Western.
Miss Strangelove: "You feed giants laxatives so goblins can mine their poop before the gnomes get to it."
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 22 Oct 2004, 15:15
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Politburo
Post 05 Jan 2014, 14:45
Well, as far as I know, Lennon wasn't at the vanguard of social change and revolution, neither as a Beatle nor in his solo career, but when he jumped on the bandwagon, he was an effective voice for it anyway. The Vietnam War, and the growing movement against it, was already going on when The Beatles were still making love songs, and yet by the 70s, Lennon was considered a dangerous man and he was followed around by the FBI. Most wanna-be iconoclasts focus only on the first bit and conveniently forget about the rest.

Sure, the guy was a utopian, and sure, he was in a privileged position by any measure, but it would be silly to reduce his work to just that. No matter what else can be said, he did make the case against war and for a more egalitarian society. And in his time frame, pacifism in the west was undoubtedly, objectively a progressive movement, providing aid and comfort to the struggle of the Vietnamese people while destabilising and polarising society at home. Right there, in the belly of the beast, the ruling classes were badly shaken by the events. Even if they managed to co-opt and then defeat this movement in the end, it took them a couple of decades, and there hasn't been such an existential threat to their dominant culture since then.

One only needs to look at the timeline of events, seeing what sorts of actions were taken, how many people were involved, and how they affected public opinion and, presumably, policy. Today, the Stop the War Coalition gives a platform to Gilbert Achcar, a supporter of the Fourth International who says that the West is not doing enough to support Jihadism in Syria, while barring a Syrian nun who supports the Assad government. Quite a difference compared to the IMG and Tariq Ali in the late 60s, which Lennon supported.

Lennon certainly was a latecomer to this movement, and he was not the greatest or the most consistent radical in the world, but he still played a prominent role in the end. Just consider his open support for Irish republicans, and compare that to the spinelessness that leftists display towards their government today ("Stop the war, please?"). How is that for revolutionary defeatism? Even in 1980, just three days before his death, he wrote a letter in support of striking Japanese workers in LA, and would have attended their protest if he hadn't been shot.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Mar 2011, 14:10
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Komsomol
Post 05 Jan 2014, 19:09
There was an American singer named Dean Reed who had Elvis-like levels of popularity in the USSR and GDR in the 1960s-80s. He covered various Beatles songs as well. In other words, the government was more concerned about who was singing it than the actual music.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBZziSBxwwY

It's also worth noting that the Cuban government always sought to appear more "revolutionary" than the Soviets, this included the cultural sphere, where Cuban tolerance of Western pop music was significantly less compared to the Soviet revisionists.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 Apr 2010, 04:44
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Philosophized
Post 05 Jan 2014, 23:04
Ismail wrote:
It's also worth noting that the Cuban government always sought to appear more "revolutionary" than the Soviets, this included the cultural sphere, where Cuban tolerance of Western pop music was significantly less compared to the Soviet revisionists.

Cuba's colonial history under Spain and then the U.S. gave it much more reason to distrust Western influence. Of course, Cuba also has an extremely rich local culture, especially when it comes to music, so there was also a bit of justifiable pride (and a little provincial chauvinism) in it as well.
Miss Strangelove: "You feed giants laxatives so goblins can mine their poop before the gnomes get to it."
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 05 Jan 2014, 00:40
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Pioneer
Post 06 Jan 2014, 03:33
Cuban music has developed its very unique sound because rock music didn't arrive there until very late. I would be interested to hear the exact argument against The Beatles though, aside from the usual compositional critiques (too much emphasis on rhythm, relation to jazz, etc.)

A good book on the Eastern European experience is 'Rock Around the Bloc: A History of Rock Music in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, 1954-1988' by Timothy Ryback. It contains some amusing anecdotes, such as controlling the crowds at concerts of touring rock artists by seating a guard with a truncheon in every second seat, and various failed attempts at creating a socialist version of American 'dancing apart' (e.g. the twist, etc.)

The reaction of the socialist countries to jazz and rock was not simply fuddy-duddy bureaucrats, however. At the time, rock music was strongly associated with rioting, which occurred when the first concerts were held in Eastern Europe. There were also strong philosophical (aesthetic) arguments against the influence of modernism and other reactionary trends in these genres. It was all about 'national in form, socialist in content' - modern instruments and foreign influences were eventually allowed, but lyrics had to be in the national language and avoid subversive or overtly foreign themes. The DDR particularly allowed many foreign-style genres.
— Crìsdean R.

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Mar 2011, 14:10
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Komsomol
Post 06 Jan 2014, 04:20
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Dec 2013, 14:24
Ideology: Democratic Socialism
Unperson
Post 06 Jan 2014, 12:29
Saying power to the people and living in tax exile is not a contradiction!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of ... ce.2C_1848

Remember that Britain is a capitalist country and the state is not neutral in the class war. It is on the side of the capitalists and not the working classes.

Taxes fund the state so why fund your enemy?

But to get back to the topic, why should we let any bureaucrat, either in Havana, Moscow, London or Rome decide what we should read, hear or see? The young must be protected but those of us over the age of 18 should be able to decide for ourselves. So what is some party busybody thinks that such and such a band are reactionary, buddy I’ll decide that and even if they are so what? Name me the record, film or book that will turn you into a fascist?

In Germany under Hitler, he wanted to keep the German culture free of foreign influences. Bad idea huh? Only Aryan sounds were allowed! How dumb was that? Music is universal.

Going by some of the replies here would I be justified in writing this “German culture under the Weimar republic had become decadent and reactionary and this gave the Nazis reasons to distrust influences from outside Germany as they were to blame for this.
Germany had a rich culture and Hitler wanted to promote this and he did this with a lot of pride.”
Nah, that just does not wash, so why would any ‘socialist’ nation be allowed to get away with it?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Sep 2006, 22:05
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Philosophized
Post 06 Jan 2014, 21:34
Actually Weimar liberalism did lead directly to the form of Nazi ideology. That said, I don't really agree that social conservatism is a solution to countering liberal cultural hegemony but I'm also not so vain as to act like I would have known this in the 50's. But who cares really? The Cubans admitted fault by building that stupid park.

Also I'm with loz, the Beatles suck. Maybe being a pinko-liberal like Lennon was something important in the past (although personally I think this lack of any real ideological consistency is what strangled the 60's infant revolution) but he just seems like a rat who latched onto a popular movement after he discovered drugs. Lots of people do this and usually their time connected to said movement lasts only as long as the drugs.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 05 Jan 2014, 00:40
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Pioneer
Post 07 Jan 2014, 01:26
Yami wrote:
Why should we let any bureaucrat, either in Havana, Moscow, London or Rome decide what we should read, hear or see?

The intention of socialist artistic policies was not social conservatism per se (although, like any country, many people did hold such views). It was an attempt to promote progressive realist art and expose decadent bourgeois art, based upon the science of Marxist-Leninist aesthetics. More specifically, it aimed to involve artists in the communist education of the people, while developing multinationalist socialist culture (socialist realism).

This movement spearheaded the great ideological struggle of realism against modernism, which spread across the globe. It counterposed the people-centred, progressive and socially-critical world outlook with individualism, irrationalism, withdrawal from society, subjectivism and rejection of the Enlightenment. At its most extreme, modernism becomes openly fascist, such as the Futurists.

I personally like The Beatles, and think banning them was a mistake - it seems similar to the way the Soviets initially rejected all jazz and rock music based on false analysis. But I support socialist realist policies in general.

Yami wrote:
In Germany under Hitler, he wanted to keep the German culture free of foreign influences. Bad idea huh? Only Aryan sounds were allowed! How dumb was that? Music is universal.

This is rather insulting to the socialist peoples. Clearly they were internationalists, not rabid chauvanist scum. They hold opposing world-views.

All art has a class basis, but its character is in greater relief when social contradictions are sharpened. For example, see 'French Drama and Painting of the 18th Century' (Plekhanov, 1905).

Ismail wrote:
Eastern European indeed had all sorts of Western-style music in the 60s-80s.

Surprising to hear Dean Reed being allowed to sing Country songs, given the treatment of poor old Eduard Khil ("Mr Trololo")!

Some more interesting styles of socialist pop/rock:
Dance pop (Sofia Rotaru, USSR) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XG9o1GJrsPk
Electronic (Pop-kombinat, USSR) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbAM6v91CJM
British New Wave of Heavy Metal (Formel Eins, DDR) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxC9IGmCSzE
Glam metal (Gorky Park, USSR - an 'MTV hit' in the USA) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrSKG3TS0uE
— Crìsdean R.

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In following the revolutionary road, strive for an even greater victory.
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Soviet cogitations: 589
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Dec 2013, 14:24
Ideology: Democratic Socialism
Unperson
Post 07 Jan 2014, 12:16
Again I will have to ask, which are the films, books, paintings, sculptures ect. that will turn into a fascist. Come on! Give me the names.
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