Georgian Govt Summons Ukrainian Ambassador Over Appointment of Criminal Saakashvili

mikheil_saakashvili_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch–The government in Georgia has summed the Ukrainian ambassador to explain why ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, who is wanted in his home country, has been appointed to a high position in Kiev.

Ambassador Vasyl Tsybenko was asked to come to the Foreign Ministry in Tbilisi some time the coming week.

Also the Georgian ambassador to Ukraine will be dispatched for a similar purpose, to meet with the Kiev government and hear their explanation as to why Saakashvili was appointed as head of the Advisory International Council of Reforms, despite being a wanted man for which Interpol has issued a Red Alert.

Saakashvili is wanted in four criminal cases: For having ordered the beating of a parliamentarian in 2005, for covering up the murder of a 28 year old man in 2006, for ordering the dispersal of an opposition rally and storming an independent TV studio in 2008, and for embezzlement of more than four million US dollars.

Neither Ukraine’s ambassador to Georgia nor Georgia’s ambassador to Ukraine had commented by press time.

Can Art Inspire Revolution?

Henry Simon, Untitled (Industrial Frankenstein I), (1932)

What makes a work of art revolutionary? Is revolutionary art radical in form or content? Is it effective only insofar as it sparks concrete action? Or is portraying the marginalized as if their lives had some claim to beauty, their suffering to relevance, sufficiently revolutionary?

Lynd Ward Lynching, from the novel Wild Pilgrimage (1932), wood engraving 9 in x 6 3/4 in., Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, 1999.27.1 (click to enlarge)

The works on display in The Left Front: Radical Art in the ‘Red Decade’ 1929–1940, a newly opened exhibition at New York University’s Grey Art Gallery, gesture at a range of eloquent and arresting answers to these provocative questions. The exhibition traces the development of activist art in the wake of the Great Depression, when economic turbulence bred heightened social consciousness. The artists represented in The Left Front show are united in their conviction that art is intrinsically social — indeed, the draft manifesto of the John Reed Clubs, named for poet and founding member of the American Communist Party John Reed, issued a call for artists to “abandon decisively the treacherous illusion that art … can remain remote from historical conflicts.” The clubs, which were founded in 1929, strove to effect change through writing, art, and organizing. Their membership thought of activist writing, painting, and drawing not as the ineffable stuff of Homeric inspiration but rather as the product of honest labor. Activist artists regarded themselves, writes John Paul Murphy in the informative Grey Gazette that accompanies the exhibition, as “culture workers.”

Todros Geller, "Untitled (Factory)" (c.1930), watercolor, 12 x 10 in., Collection of Bernard Friedman

But how are culture workers to “produce” culture with maximal revolutionary impact? Different artists disagree as to how communist convictions are best or most effectively visualized, and the best part of The Left Front is the methodological tension that underwrites the varied approaches on display. On one end of the spectrum are satirical prints stylized enough to have a legible message, like Henry Glinetenkamp’s 1935 “Voter Puppets,” which depicts a huge puppet-master directing a political pageant as the faceless masses cast ballots behind him. The work suggests, and none too opaquely, that politics is as dominated by capital as the image is dominated by the looming puppeteer. It’s not crude so much as it’s single-minded: stark and bold, its design is clearly designed to incite action.

Werner Drewes, "Old Scarecrow––Hitler as Scarecrow" (1943)

In contrast, many of the prints and paintings in The Left Front are images of dereliction, rendered in listless browns and greys. These works have expressive rather than reformatory ambitions. Reginald Marsh’s 1930 watercolor “Chicago” depicts a deserted street lined with dilapidated buildings, and Eugene Morley’s stunning 1936 lithograph “Hurricane” shows a lone woman outside the wreckage of a cross-section of her house. The windswept room is open to both our invasive gaze and the elements, and the woman’s desolation is palpable: her fragile figure is visually negligible, eclipsed by the massive material violence of her environment. In a similarly despairing work, Alexander Stavenitz sketches out the very picture of dejection: the subject of 1930 etching “Subway No. 2” slumps over on a subway seat, subsumed by his hat and coat.

Rockwell Kent, "Solar Flare-Up" (1937), lithograph, 12 x 10 1/8 in., Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, 1994.94.4

These images of human discontent are complimented by images of inhuman bleakness — cityscapes reminiscent of Fritz Lang’s 1927 film Metropolis. In works like Ernest Fiene’s 1932 etching of Madison Square Park and Blance Grambs’ 1938 etching “Workers’ Homes,” oppressive backdrops weigh heavily on their subjects, enmeshing them in the impersonal immensity of the urban environment. These etchings imply that the built landscape of industrialization contains less and less space for those who built it. There is something haunting about sites of human habitation that are conspicuously without humans, and Boris Gorelick’s 1938 lithograph “Industrial Strife” takes this state of affairs to its logical conclusion. In his disturbing work, the city’s triumph over humanity is complete: human faces are flattened and superimposed onto clocks and buildings.

Harry Sternberg, "Terror" (1935), courtesy of Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University

For many of the artists featured in The Left Front, the antidote to the convergence of human and city was a different sort of post-humanism, a forceful and revolutionary re-appropriation of the mechanized capitalist apparatus. As a plaque in the exhibition notes, “communists like John Reed believed that capitalists had created a ‘Frankenstein’s monster’ in industrial production that would come back to destroy them.” The human-machines that feature so powerlessly in Gorelick’s lithograph return with a revolutionary vengeance in two striking drawings by Henry Simon, both of which depict the proletariat as an enormous metal monster attacking a throng of tiny, terrified business moguls. The robotic figure is not at odds with his material environment but rather integrated into it.

American Artists of the John Reed Club (Amerikanskiye Khudozhniki “Dzhon Rid Klub”), Moscow, 1931, Pamphlet, 6 3/4 x 5 1/8 in., Courtesy Amherst Center for Russian Culture, Amherst College

If this sounds propagandistic, it because it is, paradoxically, an advertisement for anti-capitalism. The irony of using sensationalized images to serve the communist cause was not lost on yet another camp of activist artists, the so-called “social mystics,” who drew on the surrealist tradition to create works that were formally revolutionary. The “products” of social mysticism reject capitalism’s insistence on images that lend themselves to easy, thoughtless consumption, striving to create something less consistent with the logic of consumerism — something that challenges the capitalist methodology in addition to the capitalist method. One highlight is Julio de Diego’s 1943 painting, “Industry Becomes More Complex,” which recalls Bosch’s nightmarish triptychs. It depicts a factory equipped with a hellish furnace. In the foreground lurks a monster with a gaping mouth, crystallized in a pose of perpetual, insatiable hunger.

Faced with this horrifying image, The Left Front leaves us to determine how to proceed — how to satisfy our consumptive craving once and for all, and which visual props can aid us along the way.

Mabel Dwight, }Danse Macabre" (c.1934), lithograph, 11 3/8 x 15 3/4 in., Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, 1995.59

The Left Front: Radical Art in the ‘Red Decade’ 1929-1940 is on display at the NYU Grey Gallery (100 Washington Square East, Greenwich Village, Manhattan) through April 4.

Democracy’s Last Stand Begins In Greece—TODAY

Mr. Schaeuble provokes again

failed revolution
globinfo freexchange
‘The problem is that Greece has lived beyond its means for a long time and that nobody wants to give Greece money anymore without guarantees,’ Schaeuble said, noting that Athens had to stick to agreed reforms to become competitive. Schaeuble added that the new Greek government was behaving ‘quite irresponsibly’ right now and that it was no help to insult others who have supported the country in the past.”
In a separate interview with German broadcaster ZDF, Austria’s finance minister Hans-Joerg Schelling said the new Greek government still appeared to be in ‘election mode not working mode’.”
Mr. Schaeuble should at last tell the truth to the German and European people and stop this fairy tail.
The truth is that the Troika program destroyed the Greek economy bringing war conditions in the country.
The truth is that Mr. Schaeuble and the neoliberal eurocrats have chosen to resque the big banks, although these are mostly responsible for the debt European crisis, at the expense of the Greek and European taxpayers.
The truth is that the ECB together with IMF and the European Institutions which are occupied by banking and corporate lobbies want to complete the brutal experiment in Greece expanding it throughout Europe.
Mr. Schaeuble will never tell the truth of course: that this is a class war, not a war between nations. He is using the obsolete tactic of divide and conquer turning the people of one country against the other.
Unfortunately, Mr. Mariano Rajoy followed this logic only to save his party’s rates against Podemos “threat”.
The European people will learn the truth. Plutocrats’ plans will fail.

Thousands Take to the Streets of Europe Ahead of Greece, EU Meeting

B94t9g1IUAEKUpNThousands Take to the Streets Ahead of Greece, EU Meeting

telesur

A day before a euro zone finance ministers’ meeting in Brussels, thousands hit the streets of Europe to show support for the Greek people and their newly-elected left-wing government which is looking to undo years of imposed austerity programs.

Demonstrations in cities across the UK, France and Spain stood in solidarity with massive crowds in Greece that also went out to express support for the Syriza government led by new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras.

Meanwhile, Syriza officials told media that they remained committed to making good on their promises to Greek voters and improve their country.

“I expect difficult negotiations; nevertheless I am full of confidence,” Tsipras told Germany’s Stern magazine. “I promise you: Greece will then, in six months’ time, be a completely different country.”

“The Greek government is determined to stick to its commitment towards the public … and not continue a program that has the characteristics of the previous bailout agreement,” Greek government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis said to Greece’s Skai television.

People walk in front of the parliament during an anti-austerity and pro-government demonstration in Athens February 15, 2015.
People walk in front of the parliament during an anti-austerity and pro-government demonstration in Athens February 15, 2015. Photo:Reuters
People gather in front of the parliament during an anti-austerity and pro-government demonstration in Athens February 15, 2015.
People gather in front of the parliament during an anti-austerity and pro-government demonstration in Athens February 15, 2015. Photo:Reuters
Protesters wave Greek, Portuguese and Spanish flags in front of the parliament during an anti-austerity and pro-government demonstration in Athens February 15, 2015.
Protesters wave Greek, Portuguese and Spanish flags in front of the parliament during an anti-austerity and pro-government demonstration in Athens February 15, 2015. Photo:Reuters
Solidarity Demonstration at Trafalgar Square, UK.
Solidarity Demonstration at Trafalgar Square, UK. Photo:Louise Regan/ Facebook
Solidarity Demonstration in Nottingham, UK.
Solidarity Demonstration in Nottingham, UK. Photo:Ra H/ Facebook
Solidarity Demonstration at Trafalgar Square, UK.
Solidarity Demonstration at Trafalgar Square, UK. Photo:Ra Ha/ Facebook
Demonstrations in Paris
Demonstrations in Paris Photo:Florian Martiny/ Twitter
At Royal Palace, Dam Square, Amsterdam.
At Royal Palace, Dam Square, Amsterdam. Photo:Greek Rebel News/ Twitter