I couldn’t stay away

Thursday 22 December 2011

I’ve been doing boring music stuff the last few weeks but on the weekend I did make it to the concert of Cornelius Cardew’s late music at Conway Hall. This was the music he composed while an active member of the Progressive Cultural Alliance and the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist). I was going to write a little something about the concert tonight so I looked up the RCPB(ML)’s website, which had a link to the flyer promoting the gig.

Instead of the flyer, I found this:

The front page article links through to a statement by Chris Coleman, the National Spokesperson of RCPB(ML). It contains such shameless statements as:

Comrade Kim Jong Il has led the Korean party and people in continuing to build the socialist society of their choice, in the most trying circumstances, and defending the sovereignty and independence of the DPRK, while ceaselessly striving for the peaceful reunification of the Korean people by their own efforts.

In my last Cardew article I linked to the party’s website with the phrase “wrongheaded political project”. As I feared, I was being too kind.

The statement is then followed by the official DPRK statement, reprinted in full without qualification or comment. It is accompanied by pictures which make it look like a copy of the Kim Jong-Il Looking At Things blog, without any sense of irony, humour or self-awareness. It is full of sentences such as “Kim Jong Il possessed of personality and qualifications as a great man on the highest and perfect level was an outstanding thinker and theoretician who led the revolution and construction along the path of steady victories with his profound ideologies and theories and remarkable leadership.”

It was this that reinforced the tragedy of Cardew’s life. Regardless of the qualities of his later music, he made himself into a humourless, clueless, brainless agitator utterly lacking in awareness of both the evil he promoted, and how transparently ridiculous his efforts appeared to the people he most wished to save.

  1. It is sad to see that some people never give up their faith despite overwhelming evidence. How to get rid of what is essentially a war lord in charge of a country is problmatic as the collapse of their economy is not bringing about te change we saw in the Soviety union and to a lesser extent China. Walter Berlin’s diaries from his time in the Soviet Union in the early days of Stalin are very telling. Any thinking left leaning person quickly lost interest in the Soviet Union once they actually went there. Hopefully the the writers of the Eulogy in the workers weekly get a a guided tour of a gulag in North Korean or have to see the starving children and explain to them how good their government is.