Icons of the Left
Benjamin and Eisenstein, Picasso and Kafka after the Fall of Communism
Focusing on some of the most celebrated instances of traditional "Western Marxism," Werckmeister shows how such "icons of the Left" have been progressively detached from their political roots in communist activism to the safe distance of utopian or revolutionary speculations. He assesses some recent critiques of "Western Marxism" in popular culture such as Soderbergh's film Kafka, pointing out the historic fallacies that underlie such wholesale repudiations. With this analysis, Werckmeister seeks to clear the ground for a coherent cultural policy of the Left that responds to the continuing crisis of society.
1. Walter Benjamin's Angel of History, or the Transfiguration of the Revolutionary into the Historian
2. Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin Emerges from a Munich Underpass
3. Picasso's Guernica Returns to Germany
4. A Comic Strip about the Communist Reversal of History and Its Attendance Neuroses
Previously Published Versions