Berger and Stalinism

John Berger had a complex and contradictory relationship with the world communist movement of the 1950s and 1960s, writes Lawrence Parker

John Berger in 1966

Artist, art theorist, writer and presenter John Berger passed away at the start of the year. The Weekly Worker has already published an obituary 1 and I do not propose to repeat what has been written there. Also, I have only read a fraction of Berger’s output, so I am not a qualified judge of the totality of his literary and artistic achievement.

I came across Berger in one of his earlier guises, when I was investigating the Communist Party of Great Britain’s evolving attitude to culture in the post-war period.2 While this subject is an interesting one overall, some of the research materials for this topic, buried in old CPGB journals, are, particularly in the 1950s, rather dry in tone. I cannot emphasise to readers what a complete joy it has been, on many a cold winter evening in the British Library, to find Berger’s engaging and combative prose in the annals of British communism, shining out like beams from a lighthouse. This is a modest attempt to resurrect a small portion of Berger’s thinking in the 1950s and 1960s, when his engagement with the communist movement was at its height.

I have used the title ‘Berger and Stalinism’ very deliberately. But Berger was not a Stalinist. Indeed, by the late 1960s he had evolved towards a position somewhat akin to Trotskyism on the Soviet Union. I use ‘Stalinism’ in this specific instance to denote that much of what Berger wrote in the communist press was coming to terms with the impact of the Stalin period on the movement and on artistic production.

CPGB front

Berger was never a formal member of the CPGB: rather he was a close associate of it and its front, the Artists International Association (AIA), until the latter disappeared in 1953.3 Berger, making a name for himself with art criticism in the New Statesman, was also active in the Geneva Club, a discussion group that appears to have overlapped with communist circles. In his words:

I worked closely with people who were members, I sometimes spoke at public meetings on Communist Party platforms and I wrote a lot for their press, but I was never a member. It was assumed that I was and whenever I was accused of being a member I never denied it, because that did not seem the important thing to do.4

There was still a small group of artists and art writers associated with the CPGB by the 1950s (including Ern Brooks, Cliff Rowe, Paul Hogarth, Reg Turner, Gerald Marks, Ray Watkinson and Barbara Niven), formed into the Communist Party Artists’ Group, which by 1955 had launched its own journal, Realism. Reg Turner subsequently argued that the AIA’s political artists had “stimulated” Berger: “We bought out the ideas and Berger found a lot of force and power in them, and perhaps gave them better expression than we were capable of ourselves …”5 There is some truth in this observation, given that, although Berger was quite careful not to oppose abstraction and movements such as abstract expressionism in general (rather he opposed them in terms of their particular artworks and expressions), “the arguments he used … always invite us to choose between two kinds of painting - one turned towards reality, the other in retreat from it”.6 So Berger was an advocate of a realist approach in art and of its re-insertion into the social world at large - a stance that ensured his closeness to the CPGB.

However, the communist approach to the arts after World War II was complicated by the impact of Zhdanovism. The ideas of Andrei Zhdanov, Stalin’s leading cultural ‘commissar’ in the Soviet Union until his death in 1948, meant imposing a crude characterisation of cultural objects on the basis of class or of a progressive/reactionary binary code; a kind of self-enforced paranoia in regards to ‘bourgeois’ ideas; and an anti-formalist stance that meant undermining the specificities of cultural production in favour of ‘socialist realism’, which in practice meant that the party and its diktat had a privileged place in any ‘reality’ portrayed. Thus, ‘realism’, or what we might better call realist practice - the drawing of relationships to the real - was weighed down with a heap of extraneous political baggage.

One has to exercise some care here. The problem with Zhdanovism was its crudity - there were still concepts within it that were worth salvaging. Take the characterisation of artworks in terms of a class designation. Painter Cliff Rowe, later to view Stalinism as “fascism imposed on a socialist state”7, remarked on what he saw as the persuasive nature of art theories emanating from the Soviet Union:

They were unanswerable historically. If one looked at art history from a class point of view it was very easy to see that paintings represented distinct points of view.8

Arguably, Berger did resurrect some of the violence (if not the crudity) of the Zhdanov world view in Ways of seeing by portraying treasured and mystified art objects as mediated through more base concerns of class ownership and property. The problem with these judgements in a Soviet context is that they could only be sustained by recourse to a berserk idealism that felt compelled to erase contradictions and thus any rational relationship to reality. ‘Official communism’ had a profound problem with realist approaches to artistic production in the 1950s and it was this lacuna that Berger probed, along with other members of the CP Artists’ Group, after the death of Stalin.

Berger had also come under the influence of Marxist art historian Frederick Antal (1887-1954), author of Florentine painting and its social background (1948); and was also inspired by the Marxist art critics Ernst Fischer (1899-1972) and Max Raphael (1889-1952) - The success and failure of Picasso (1965) was dedicated to the latter two. Space precludes a discussion of these theorists’ work, but, suffice to say, Berger was absorbing art criticism that had significantly shot beyond the scope of the more dogmatic and philistine impulses of Soviet art theory.


After the death of JV Stalin in 1953, Zhadnov’s theories and their interpretation became a more problematic form of intellectual currency in the CPGB. An example is an article by Thomas Russell, ‘Soviet culture and criticism’, from July 1954, which defended Zhdanov in the context of recent critical Soviet articles on the subject. He said:

This is no movement against Zhdanov, but precisely an attack on those who, because they misunderstood the essence of Zhdanov’s statement, succeeded in killing the spirit. They have elevated a few slavishly copied but isolated phrases of Zhdanov into a kind of gospel which the most mediocre can obey, but which an artist of talent will use as no more than an indication of the way forward.9

This was then applied specifically as a criticism to the work of the CPGB:

We in Britain have often been at fault along these lines when the question of a Soviet formulation has arisen. Many of us have been too ready to accept the points made without a careful and comprehensive examination, and without applying them properly.10

This type of reasoning was also present in the highest ranks of the CPGB. Russell quotes Emile Burns, chair of the CPGB’s national cultural committee, speaking at the party’s national congress of 1954: “It is wrong … for any comrade in discussing such scientific and cultural questions to take a rigid line of trying to impose some particular views on his colleagues …”11

Berger was engaged in a similar process of emptying out the artistic categories that had been in circulation in the communist movement in preceding decades. An article meaningfully entitled ‘Definitions?’ from October 1954 was pitched in terms of the “crisis of contemporary western art” and its “total failure to communicate except to a few specialists”.12 This orthodox communist beginning broadened out into a more combative tone: “… anybody who is prepared to think rather than just repeat slogans is bound to admit that there are difficulties to be met with in developing socialist-realist art: the art that, by historical logic, will eventually bring order to this chaos.”13 But, rather than present socialist realism as a finished logic, Berger argued:

We are forging an aesthetic to meet a situation. Previously, because our historical knowledge was denied our predecessors, the situation forged the aesthetic.14

Berger also considered terms such as ‘formalist’, ‘naturalist’ and ‘realist’: “Each one of these labels can in fact be valid. But often their application is too automatic and over-rigid.”15 However, by 1955, in a contribution to a CP Artists’ Group monthly discussion meeting, he was questioning the pursuit of socialist realism under capitalism. According to art historian Ray Watkinson, who was writing about the meeting in question,

… he [Berger] inclined to the view that … what realism has always achieved, and the task it must continue to perform, is one of criticism. It does not merely mirror: it selects, it comments; and critical realism is what we shall produce, what can be produced, under capitalism.16

Watkinson seemed uncomfortable that this formulation implied that the practice of socialist realism had involved a lack of criticism, arguing that in the Soviet Union “the critical function of realism continues under socialism”.17

This was still a fairly oblique and respectful critique from Berger - others in the CP Artists’ Group were prepared to be much more forceful in 1955. Thus the painter, Gerald Marks, bitterly complained of “drab lefts” defending socialist realism. He pictured himself as belonging to a group “who have become sick of socialist realism in subject matter, carefully smeared in a naturalistic sentimental manner, a so-called pictorial art lacking in formal excitement and organisation, illustrative and passionless”.18

As with Watkinson’s response to Berger above, such statements were not being left unchecked by those souls uncomfortable with this developing critique of Soviet artistic (or non-artistic) nostrums. Artist Barbara Niven (at this point working for the Daily Worker) suggested that Marks was evoking the stance of “another small band of cognoscenti standing against the mass of philistines”.19 Also, and perhaps more pertinently to the wider debate that Berger was percolating, she was keen to stress that an “artist’s search for realism” should preclude a dismissive attitude to those who had “turned from the private world of a small clique”20 - in other words, those painters who had at least accepted the standpoint of the communists at this juncture.


By 1956, when the crisis in the world communist movement had deepened as a result of Khrushchev’s speech to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in February 1956 (which had denounced Stalin’s criminal role in the mass purges of the 1930s and criticised the cult of personality surrounding his former leader), so had Berger’s own criticisms.21

In a noticeably sharper tone that reflected some of the previous political pressures on communist artists in Britain, he wrote:

The vast majority of the most talented British artists would be prepared to produce posters protesting against the H-bomb … But none of them is prepared to listen to dogmatic lecturing about how and what they should paint for the rest of the year. In the past, their reasonable fear of this has lost us their cooperation - anyway as painters - on the occasions when we badly needed it.22

Berger also continued his earlier stress on the necessity for British socialist painters to forge their own style (rather than pick up Soviet hand-me-downs) with a “maximum tolerance towards individual experiments” and an appreciation that “the final nature and style of this tradition is unknown to all of us”.23

‘Formalism’, in Soviet post-war parlance, was a sin in suggesting, for example, that painters working in modernist modes had interposed their own subjectivity onto their artwork in place of a realistic depiction (which was usually premised on a much narrower political standpoint). Soviet thinking was suspicious of such works, because the bureaucracy was desperate to convey a pseudo-objectivity, in the midst of the regime’s fantasy projections about its ‘planned’ economy. Berger undercut this argument by making the point that: “It is axiomatic that all art is a formalisation.”24 Therefore it was simply illiterate to critique artworks on the basis of ‘formalism’ - even the most sterile portraits of Lenin and Stalin in the style of socialist realism had some notion of form in them. Criticising a work of art for ‘formalism’ was thus merely critiquing it for being a work of art. Therefore, even in contexts such as the small CPGB and its even smaller group of artists, art was a source of suspicion for the party bureaucracy because of its formalisation; because it was art.

Berger also queried the products of socialist realism. Rather than socialist heroes that could engage and inspire an audience, he strongly suggested that what in fact had been achieved were socialist idols:

The idol is so superficially desirable, spectacular, witty, happy, that he or she merely supplies a context for fantasy and therefore, instead of inspiring, lulls. The idol is based on the appearance of perfection, but never on the striving towards it.25

There then followed a debate in The Marxist Quarterly in which Berger was on the receiving end of some orthodox tropes. Ray Watkinson (who seemed to be positioning himself as Berger’s interlocutor) suggested that Berger had “indulged in much special pleading” for artists and “very little clear thinking”.26 ‘AMD’ continued this theme, stating that to “claim a special place for an artist in the party is to perpetuate his position in class society” and thus the symptom of a “class outlook”.27 ‘Polybius’, however, backed up much of Berger’s argument, seeing an “ossification” of Soviet painting and a “sinking back into the outmoded anecdotalism of the 19th century”; the errors of lumping together western art as “wholly reactionary”; and an over-reliance on the rhetoric of ‘realism’, “a mark in one way or another of all art, worthy of the name”.28


In these obscure exchanges, Berger and others were coming close to unveiling the meaningless nature of Soviet art instruction and its various assumptions. But Berger was talking to his comrades about a shared, partisan endeavour of promoting and critiquing art that strove towards a picture of reality and drew upon political relationships. When this shared endeavour collapsed, this opened up the space for a deeper critique of the ‘official communist’ movement that took shape in Berger’s famous The success and failure of Picasso (1965).

According to Lynda Morris’s and Robert Radford’s history of the AIA, the years 1952-56 had seen communist artists and thinkers not just fatally wounded by the movement’s deep crisis after the death of Stalin, but also further damaged by a connection between realism and radicalism being lost and replaced by “formal criteria of ‘good painting’ and a commercial identity”.29 ‘Realism’ thus became simply a matter of fashion. Dyer amplifies this point, suggesting that this change meant that by the end of the 1950s “nothing remained of the realist movement that Berger had championed for almost 10 years”.30 The losing of this battle was effectively the closure of any CPGB attempt (at least in terms of its leadership) to shape the art world in line with its preferences, or any particular art practice such as socialist realism.

I do not have space here to sketch out Berger’s full argument in his 1965 work, but he portrayed Picasso as in decline from his great achievements of the cubist period and as essentially being fed a succession of insular and self-absorbed myths about his genius by his courtiers (Picasso is Picasso, is Picasso). Picasso’s work thus became emptied of meaningful content. His joining of the French Communist Party in 1944 did have the potential for Picasso to find his community and thus reforge his artistic outlook. This is indeed what Picasso hoped; he wanted to come out of ‘exile’. However, Berger argued that Picasso asked the communist movement for bread, but “without any doubt what they offered him was a stone”.31 He added:

In fact the communists treated him as everybody else had done. That is to say, they separated the man from his work. They honoured the former and equivocated about the latter.32

In the Soviet Union, Berger argued that Picasso’s name was used for propaganda purposes, while his work - which in the illiterate screed of post-war Soviet art theory was a repository of ‘decadent formalism’ - was never shown or properly discussed, thus becoming unmentionable. In terms of western Europe, Berger said:

Because of Soviet insistence at that time on a universal cultural orthodoxy, communist critics and artists in western Europe who approved of Picasso’s work spent their energy trying to stretch the orthodox vocabulary to cover as many paintings as possible. It wasn’t, now, that his art was unmentionable, but that it could only be mentioned in conventionalised terms. Gradually a disguise for Picasso was stitched together out of words. His spirit as an artist was celebrated in terms so basic and so ‘human’ that they could cause no offence to anybody, and these terms, these clichés, became, instead of the paintings themselves, the currency of exchange on the subject of Picasso amongst the European communist left. Such clichés also precluded analysis or criticism.33

This has been quoted at length because it exemplifies the default position of the world communist movement after the Khrushchev revelations and its crisis of 1956 had mortally wounded the artistic standpoint that stood upon the foundations of Stalinism. By the mid-1960s, aesthetic preferences for socialist realism had been dispensed with:

… the Communist Party, during the fight for and under socialism, does not see its task as being to direct what should be written, painted or composed - either in terms of subject or of style; it does not see its role as laying down laws governing literary and artistic creation.34

There is nothing wrong with any political movement looking to direct and influence artists per se - that will probably be the lot of any social group that cares deeply about artistic practice and has a partisan attitude. The problem occurs when that becomes, as the CPGB’s critics noted, a sectarian practice that cannot embrace diversity and debate. But, through its later abstention on subject and style matters, the CPGB was stitching together another threadbare disguise for art (a universal equivalent) in its suggestion that one art form was simply as good as any other. It thus reran what the world communist movement had done to Picasso: it partially disengaged and offered artists a stone.

This provoked an opposition of sorts. Artery, an unofficial CPGB arts magazine initiated by party art students, appeared in 1971 - an attempt to fuse the politics of the British road to socialism with a broadly pro-Soviet socialist realism. In August 1972, Betty Reid had to report that “many of the most active people” in the CPGB’s specialist groups and journals were “totally in disagreement” with the party’s new/old thinking in ‘Questions of ideology and culture’.35 Significantly, Reid did not list any specific group of artists associated with the CPGB other than the samizdat, Artery. By relinquishing its previous sectarian attitude to the arts, the CPGB then reaped a harvest of not having that much to say specifically on the subject. Berger had also opposed some of the CPGB leadership’s other opportunist gambits in the 1960s, such as changing the name of the Daily Worker to the Morning Star in 1966. A ‘Mike Berger’ from Geneva said that there was no chance of the paper increasing its political audience “by pursuing the illusion that we can transform it into a ‘popular’ or ‘family’ paper”.36

Some of the shift in the CPGB’s attitude to the arts can be seen in the review of The success and failure of Picasso by Barbara Niven in Marxism Today.

Back in 1955, Niven, as we have seen, attempted to pull back other members of the CP Artists’ Group from confronting the consequences of Zhdanovism. In 1966, rather than attempt to defend the world movement and the French Communist Party from Berger’s critique of their misuse and abuse of Picasso, Niven agreed that it was a tragedy, albeit with a smidgeon of defensiveness:

For the revolutionary imagination of the French Communist Party to have been capable of such a full reversal of understanding in the visual arts in particular - the slowest of the arts in which to be able to comprehend the new - would perhaps have been impossible even in that year of huge new political and cultural possibilities for communists and the left in France. Yet in essence I feel and accept the tragic failure to seize the new impact. I feel it both ways.37


Despite the deepening of his criticism in this period and the fact that a shared pursuit of realist approaches had dwindled, Berger was still exhibiting a partisan attitude to the CPGB. The letter to the Daily Worker cited above notably referred to “our paper”.38

This sense was also present in the book on Picasso. Berger wrote:

On the face of it, it might seem unreasonable to hope that the mere act of joining a political party could resolve the contradictions of a lifetime. But it is reasonable to expect that a communist party is unlike any other. It is more than a political party. It is a school of philosophy, an army, an agent of a future; at its noblest it is a fraternity.39

However, this was instantly qualified: “Communist parties have helped to create artists - and, tragically, have also destroyed artists.”40

In line with this developing critique of the communist movement’s relationship to art, Berger had also developed a critical attitude to the Soviet Union. By 1969, this was somewhat akin to Trotskyism, or at least to that of Isaac Deutscher, whom Berger quoted approvingly in a book of that year - Art and revolution: Ernst Neizvestny and the role of the artist in the USSR.41 Deutscher’s emphasis was generally on the Janus-like character of Stalinism: a politically primitive bureaucracy, set above the working class and relying on crude forms of violence, that was, in his eyes, also able to institute a modern, planned economy and a route out of economic backwardness.

It was through these spectacles that Berger also viewed the Soviet Union:

The national egoism of Stalin’s policy was transmuted into personal egoism within the vast, all-powerful bureaucracy which was established to exact and organise the superhuman national effort necessary to construct within the borders of the USSR what amounted to an alternative world. This bureaucracy still remains. The revolutionary initiative of the people was curbed and diminished by the withholding of information and the discouragement of all discussion … This initiative has not yet been won back.42

But there was a strange facet to Berger’s seeming development towards a form of Trotskyism, albeit one prepared to defend elements of Soviet reality and what Berger saw as its positive role in the anti-imperialist struggle. He showed a marked enthusiasm for the writings of Rajani Palme Dutt (1896-1974) in Labour Monthly. Dutt, editor of the journal, is the CPGB leader most often identified with unthinking obedience to the Soviet Union and, in fact, his authority was fatally undermined in the party after the events of 1956.

Berger did not hail Dutt for his unrepentant Stalinism: rather for his prophetic analytical powers. This is how Berger put it as late as 1984 in relation to Britain’s development after World War II:

Well, let’s go back to the 1940s, to Labour Monthly. Palme Dutt … foresaw, it seems to me, in large outline, everything that has happened: the economic evolution, the economic collapse - everything. He was very prophetic. He had a great influence on me, so that nothing that has happened in Britain has surprised me …43

This influence was obviously genuine and had some emotional force behind it. In 1966, Berger hailed Dutt, on his 70th birthday, as “one of the great political analysts and polemicists of our time”.44 In 1961, Berger had remembered his first discovery of Labour Monthly, aged 15:

Labour Monthly was unlike anything else I had ever read. I can see myself now reading it in bed. It was sober, yet at the same time exciting. It spoke with authority and yet was opposed to all the authority [that] I had come to hate … Before I fell asleep I used to feel that I understood the world. RPD was the only teacher to whom I was prepared to listen.45

The problem with hailing Dutt for his positive, analytical side and not for his status as a Stalinist monotone is that by doing so Berger has to pose the analytical Dutt against the bureaucrat Dutt, and I suspect that this division would have had little or no purchase with RPD. He would have seen his analytical power as being at one with the dark powers in the Soviet Union that he had swore fealty to in the name of the - mutilated and famished - revolution.

This allegiance to Dutt is an oddity of intellectual history, but perhaps less surprising when you consider the following statement from Berger:

Until the moment that the Soviet Union gained nuclear parity [with the US] … whatever your doubts, I felt you had to be for the Soviet Union. There was a straight choice to be made. Khrushchev’s revelations and so on were very important, but the whole situation changed when that catastrophic inequality changed.46

One suspects that Dutt would have been comfortable with some of the cold war (my enemy’s enemy is my friend) assumptions made here, although he would not have qualified his support for the Soviet Union on the issue of nuclear parity.

Berger’s advocacy of Dutt’s positive side is typical of his treatment of the world communist movement in the 1950s and 1960s. Despite his varied criticisms, as we have seen, he referred to its noblest ideals and, indeed, it was his movement also. Berger wrote as its partisan, even after a shared endeavour in promoting realist art collapsed.

And there’s the rub. The sober truth is that the post-war world communist movement was a tawdry and sickly environment that blackened the ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity. It was actually relative outsiders such as Berger who were the beating heart of this movement and not compromised figures like Dutt.

But becoming the heart of such a compromised entity risks reconciling others to their environment. For example, Berger’s writing illuminated the CPGB’s limited debates on art in the 1950s in a manner that few others could have aspired to. There are some parallels with the later career of Georg Lukács and his relationship with ‘actually existing socialism’.

When Terry Eagleton wrote that under Stalinism Lukács “became the Idea that entered upon real, alienated existence - the heart of a heartless world, the soul of soulless conditions, and indeed, at base, the opium of the people”,47 these words could have easily been applied to the late, great, John Berger in the 1950s and 1960s.


1. ‘As good as his word’ Weekly Worker January 12.

2. Some of this work is on display in L Parker, ‘Arts and minds: reconsidering the Caudwell controversy’ Socialist History No47, London 2015, pp45-63.

3. The AIA was founded in 1933.

4. G Dyer, ‘Ways of witnessing - interview with John Berger’ Marxism Today December 1984.

5. Cited in L Morris and R Radford The story of the Artists International Association 1933-53 Oxford 1983, p89.

6. G Dyer Ways of telling: the work of John Berger London 1986, p15.

7. Cited in L Morris and R Radford op cit p90.

8. Ibid p9.

9. T Russell, ‘Soviet culture and criticism’ The Marxist Quarterly Vol 1, No3, July 1954.

10. Ibid.

11. Cited in ibid.

12. J Berger, ‘Definitions?’ Communist Party Artists’ Group Bulletin October 1954.

13. Ibid.

14. Ibid.

15. Ibid.

16. R Watkinson, ‘Three men in search of realism’ Realism: the journal of the Artists’ Group of the Communist Party No 1, June 1955, my emphasis.

17. Ibid.

18. G Marks, ‘Renato Guttuso at the Leicester Galleries’ in ibid. Guttuso (1912-87) was an Italian communist painter who was appreciated by Berger, because he had “fully accepted the discoveries of the modern masters such as Cézanne, Van Gogh, Léger and Picasso” (J Berger, ‘The necessity for uncertainty’ The Marxist Quarterly Vol 3, No 3, July 1956.

19. Realism: the journal of the Artists’ Group of the Communist Party No2, August-September 1955.

20. Ibid.

21. Berger was an early supporter of The Reasoner, an inner-party oppositional journal founded by EP Thompson and John Saville in 1956 - see P Flewers and J McIlroy (eds) 1956: John Saville, EP Thompson and ‘The Reasoner’ London 2016, p27.

22. J Berger, ‘The necessity for uncertainty’ op cit.

23. Ibid.

24. Ibid.

25. Ibid.

26. ‘Discussion’ The Marxist Quarterly Vol 3, No 4, October 1956.

27. Ibid.

28. ‘Discussion’ The Marxist Quarterly Vol 4, No 1, January 1957. Berger replied to the debate in the same issue.

29. L Morris and R Radford op cit p90.

30. G Dyer Ways of telling: the work of John Berger London 1986, p23.

31. J Berger The success and failure of Picasso London 1965, p175.

32. Ibid.

33. Ibid p176.

34. ‘Questions of ideology and culture: statement from the executive committee of the Communist Party of Great Britain ... for discussion’ Marxism Today May 1967.

35. B Reid, ‘Specialist groups, journals and associated questions’, CPGB archive CP/CENT/CULT/04/09.

36. Daily Worker February 18 1966. Parts of the CPGB’s left had contributed to this debate in a similar vein to Berger. See, for example, Sid French Daily Worker February 11 1966. Jimmy Reid (Daily Worker February 14 1966) replied to French on behalf of the CPGB leadership.

37. B Niven, ‘John Berger: success and failure of Picasso’ Marxism Today January 1966.

38. Daily Worker February 18 1966.

39. J Berger The success and failure of Picasso London 1965, pp173-74.

40. Ibid p174.

41. J Berger Art and revolution: Ernst Neizvestny and the role of the artist in the USSR London 1969, p158.

42. Ibid p159.

43. G Dyer ‘Ways of witnessing - interview with John Berger’ Marxism Today December 1984.

44. ‘Greeting from friends in Britain’ Labour Monthly July 1966.

45. J Berger, ‘Myself when young’ Labour Monthly July 1961.

46. G Dyer ‘Ways of witnessing - interview with John Berger’ Marxism Today December 1984.

47. T Eagleton Walter Benjamin or towards a revolutionary criticism London 2009, p84.