Marxism and Modern Art: An approach to social realism by F. D. Klingender 1943


1943 is the sixtieth anniversary of the death of Marx. This series of booklets is a tribute to his memory by British Marxists.

The series does not aim at a complete exposition of Marxism. There will be a time for that. Now, in 1943, in the crisis of the world struggle against Fascism, something less comprehensive and more actual was alone possible and appropriate. Alone possible, because some of our most distinguished Marxists are too busy with the war to be free to write. Alone appropriate, because none of us would wish to write without an urgent sense of the claims of the moment. We would celebrate the memory of Marx as his memory should now be celebrated. He is the master-spirit whose words enable mankind to find its path in the present turning-point of history, which he foresaw and taught us to understand.

United in their conviction of the importance of Marxist thought for the present crisis, certain British Marxists, chosen for their ability to represent different aspects of the life and thought of Britain, have written this series of essays. They deal with such topics as Marxism and the freedom of the individual, Marxism and Education, Dialectical Materialism and Science, the Materialist Conception of History, Marxism and Modern Art, Marxism and Modern Economics.

In attempting their several tasks the writers have two considerations always present in their minds. The first, little understood in Britain, and often explicitly denied, is that the achievement of Socialism in the U.S.S.R. and the steady progress towards Communism are a product of Marxist theory and the truest test of it so far. The second is that the destiny of the whole of mankind is at stake in the present struggle. The U.S.S.R. shows how the lives of two hundred millions of backward people have been transformed by Marxism in twenty-five years. The lives of two thousand millions await transformation. The vast majority of mankind is still as dirty, diseased, hungry, neglected and ignorant as the majority of the inhabitants of the Czarist empire were in 1917. Marxism is a system of thought specifically directed towards the solution of this problem. In these essays British Marxists write what they believe will help us to go forward together with our Soviet Allies to victory over Fascism and a general advance in human freedom and happiness.

B. F.