Calling Planet Marx: Nicolae Ceauescu’s Cultural Revolution

Twentieth Century Communism - ISSN 1758-6437
Volume 2015 Number 9

Calling Planet Marx: Nicolae Ceauescu’s Cultural Revolution
Gavin Bowd pages -


In Andrei Ujica’s remarkable documentary, The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu (2010), there is footage of the Romanian ‘red bourgeoisie’ getting down to the Bobby Fuller Four’s ‘I Fought the Law’. The montage cuts to choreographed hysteria in China and North Korea, where adoring crowds of factory and shipyard workers greet Ceausescu. This brings home the shock felt by many Romanians, especially intellectuals, after the ‘July Theses’ of 1971 announced by the leader on his return from the Far East. If, in the capitalist west, the ‘cultural turn’ in marxism meant both a search for new forms of resistance and a ‘retreat from class’ into postmodernist pessimism, in Romania it meant a re-assertion of the iron law of one-party rule, propelling Romanian communism further along a trajectory which cut it off increasingly from the outside world and from marxism itself. At first, Ceausescu’s Cultural Revolution was paradoxically compatible with openness to foreign capital and created an internal coalition in favour of an increasingly ‘dynastic’ communism, but its overarching concern with autarky fatally weakened the regime, preparing the way for the implosion of December, 1989. 

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To cite this article
Gavin Bowd (2015) Calling Planet Marx: Nicolae Ceauescu’s Cultural Revolution, Twentieth Century Communism, 2015(9), -

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