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Guy Debord

Guy Debord


New book on socialist surrealism in Poland released…

Lives of the Orange Men: A Biographical History of the Polish Orange Alternative Movement
Major Waldemar Fydrych
Foreword by the Yes Men
Edited by Gavin Grindon

In Communist Poland, Surrealism Paints You!!!

Between 1981 and 1989 in Wroclaw Poland, in an atmosphere in which dissent was forbidden and martial law a reality, the Orange Alternative deployed the power of surrealist creativity to destabilise the Communist government. It worked. The militia were overwhelmed by thousands of unruly dwarves; celebrations of official festivals so disturbingly loyal that the Communist forces had to arrest anyone wearing red; walls covered in dialectical graffiti; new official festivals to assist the secret police with their duties; and a popular restaging of the storming of the Winter Palace using cardboard tanks and ships.

Lives of the Orange Men tells for the first time the story of this activist-art movement and its protagonists that played a key role in the 1989 revolution in Poland. Written by its central figure and featuring an appendix of newly-translated key texts including the ‘Manifesto of Socialist Surrealism’, a timeline of every Orange Alternative happening and a new foreword from the Yes Men.

“The streets of Wrocław were a magical place to be, once upon a time… Communism’s melting away in Eastern Europe in 1989 cannot be understood without the Orange Alternative. So listen to Major Fydrych – This book teaches the mystical tongue of the Orange Men and unveils their rites. Long live the dwarves!” – Padraic Kenney, author of A Carnival of Revolution: Central Europe 1989

“Lives of the Orange Men presents eyewitness reports and primary documents of the Orange Alternative’s cultural activism. Their ideological masquerade, predating The Yes Men and Reclaim the Streets, baffled police and stymied the disintegrating regime of General Jaruzelski. What more could anyone ask except to remind readers that there is no freedom without dwarves!” – Greg Sholette, author of Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture

“Dwarves belong to capitalism!” – The Polish Communist Militia
PDF available freely online:

Released by Minor Compositions, Wivenhoe / Brooklyn / Port Watson Minor Compositions is a series of interventions & provocations drawing from autonomous politics, avant-garde aesthetics, and the revolutions of
everyday life.

Minor Compositions is an imprint of Autonomedia |




‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:


Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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Alternative Culture


Luibov Popova Untitled Textile Design on William Morris Wallpaper for HM 2010 by David Mabb

The artist David Mabb has created an artwork especially for Historical Materialism. Titled: Luibov Popova Untitled Textile Design on William Morris wallpaper for HM 2010, the print is issued in a run of 100. Mabb’s picture is made by screen printing a textile design by Luibov Popova in red and black over a section of William Morris wallpapers including: Fruit, Willow Boughs, Trellis, Brier Rabbit, Medway and Daisy. As a consequence of the different wallpapers employed and the registration process each work will be unique. The prints measures 52.5 x 70 cm., and each one is signed and numbered by the artist. To see the image go to:

The artwork is available for purchase at the price of £75 (unframed, postage not included when applicable) and can be ordered by writing to or obtained directly at the 7th London Historical Materialism Conference: ‘Crisis and Critique’ (SOAS, London 11th-14th November).

We hope you will see this as an opportunity to acquire a fascinating artwork and to support HM.

Mabb regularly reworks the artistic imagery of Marxism to produce starting new configurations. In this print he combines William Morris’s hand-made natural imagery, with the abstract machine aesthetics of the Russian Constructivists. In their own time, Morris and Popova were thwarted by economic realities; Morris’s designs proved too expensive for the working people he wished to reach, while the fledgling USSR proved unable to support the transformation of everyday life envisaged by Popova and her fellow Constructivists. Mabb reanimates these remnants of Marxist history fusing the legacies in lively and beautiful images for our time.

David Mabb is a widely exhibited artist and Reader in Art at Goldsmiths, University of London. He regularly exhibits at the Leo Kamen Gallery, Toronto and in 2004 he curated William Morris “ministering to the swinish luxury of the rich” at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester. Recent exhibitions include: The Decorating Business, Oakville Galleries, Ontario; The Hall of the Modern, The Economist, London; Morris in Jaipur: The work of Art in the Context of Hand-made Reproduction, Mandawa Haveli, Jaipur, part of Jaipur Heritage International Festival, touring to The British Council Gallery, New Delhi; Art into Everyday Life, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius; and A Miniature Retrospective and Rhythm 69, Jugendstilsenteret/Kunstmuseet Kube, Alesund, Norway. He is exhibiting The Morris Kitsch Archive at Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts until December 2010.


‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: (recording) and (live)

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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