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Research Articles
Published: 2023-09-11

Cultural Class Struggle for Animalist Socialism: Featuring Vladimir Mayakovsky

animalist Socialism Marx hegemony Gramsci poetry cultural revolution Mayakovsky Soviet Union


An extensive arsenal of weapons for socialist class struggle for animal liberation on the cultural terrain in capitalist societies today comes to light when the oeuvre of early Soviet and futurist poet Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893–1930) is reread through the lens of Antonio Gramsci’s theory of hegemony. This paper shows that the avant-garde artist’s poetry and other writings comprise elements of an animalist Marxism avant la lettre: images and ideas of a political ethic and a mode of living that include animals, criticisms of capitalist society with respect to animal super-exploitation, conceptions of animal agency, and references to utopias in which social relations to nonhuman creatures are peaceful. These features need to be conceived not only as an integral part of Mayakovsky’s vigorously advocated third, cultural revolution of the Soviet way of life. Rather, they need to be considered as useful instruments to construct an animalist socialist counterculture that builds on and supplements the socioeconomic and political battle against (animal) capital.


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