Party wants to increase education of working class so they offer 10% bonus to those who would visit evening school. So the professor sign up for it.
Very first day, the first class is math. But the subject is so simple that professor becomes bored and starts reading book under the desk. Teacher notices that and call him up to calculate area of circle on the blackboard.
Professor is taken by surprise and suddenly cannot remember the formula, so in his head he transfers circle to polar coordinates and uses integral to get the formula and starts writing on the blackboard: -πr²
Then he scratches his head and start thinking where the minus came from when suddenly from the back row someone shouts: flip the interval of integration, colleague.
Next guy in line. Chooses communist hell. Silence.
Two guys in line. First asks, “Why is capitalist hell so painful?”
“They nail you to the cross, burn you alive”
“And communist hell?”
“Then why no screams from communist hell?”
“When they have wood, they have no nails. When they have nails, they have no wood. When they have nails, and they have wood, fire out”
(Heard in East Berlin, ca. 1986)
“Well you see in DDR you can’t open your mouth, so they had to go in the other way”
your version is a ton more verbose though
I was on a used car marked like that with my dad, my parents had the same car as those people with the pigs in the car, my grandma had the same cupboard as the boys rearing chicks, I lived in one of the panel house like in the picture of the Moscow suburb, my aunt was a egg saleswoman, my dad worked in a coalmine, the church was present constantly in all parts of our lives, my mum worked at one of those car factories, etc. ...
I'm not an early bird.
(You can see the translated descriptions with the language combobox on the top)
I wonder what kind of equipment was used for these photos.
― Brian Eno, A Year With Swollen Appendices
> Jens Pepper: What camera did you use at that time?
> Chris Niedenthal: Ever since my last year at college, I was a Nikon man. First it was a simple Nikon F, then I bought the Photomic prism with lightmeter. I later added a somewhat cheaper Nikkormat (though I had the Japanese version that was called the Nikomat. So those were the two cameras I used for my first years in Poland. Later came the FE, then the FE2, and also an FM, usually with winders (early motordrives). Next came the beautiful Nikon F3 with motordrive, and later the F4. I always used a separate lightmeter, never trusting the camera meters when shooting on colour slide film. At first I had the British Weston Master meter, but eventually graduated to the Minolta Flashmeters.
A fellow in my unit in Sacramento had one. It was solidly built, but the East German battery for the exposure meter was weak - he got a ride in a HH-53 to take aerial photos of the unit building, and the downdraft from the rotors chilled the battery below where it would provide any power, so all his pictures came out nearly black.
Was anyone here alive in Poland in the 80s (doesn't seem like such a long shot)? Would love to hear your experiences with transportation.
Instead both of my granddads bought this weird half a mini-tractor https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoGGe9PBQWo but they both changed it to a custom version with 4 wheels, they came up with totally different designes for it. Actually I have a home video which showcases the one which my dads dad designed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vN0J7Wg_V54
No horses in cities, tons of mostly domestic cars. New sedan was ~$1500-2000 in the eighties/early nineties. Average 1986 wage was $350/year, but by 1992 went up to ~$1500, so the cheapest Polish sedan, Fiat 125P, was 60 to 12 monthly wages. Western sedan would cost >$15000 before 1989 (end of Russian occupation). Officially only a handful of people made enough money to afford a car. You had privileged blue collar jobs like miner, foundry worker, sailors on border crossing ships, airplane crews. Then there was totally separate, protected class - high ranking party officials, directors of state run companies, security apparatus, diplomats etc. Unofficially almost everyone had an angle, smuggling, making moonshine, running unregistered slaughterhouse, farming on a side, stealing from state owned enterprises, taking bribes etc. My father got first car, brand new domestic sedan, as a present from his parents, paid by bribes (undertaker). Crashed it promptly and was forced to start working, we moved to Silesia for a year which made enough money to buy another new car and rent big apartment in the capital city. After that he started smuggling crystal glass, jewelry and furs to Germany/Turkey, making ~100x average official wage, but that ended quickly after communism fell.
On top of that, USSR was actively trying to incorporate newly acquired territories and assimilate non-Russian people to build the Soviet Man. Significant part of population wasn't very happy about it. Meanwhile satellite countries were busy building nation states and had less internal struggle.
IIRC, Soviet budget was much more military-oriented as well. More money towards budding regimes in Africa, Asia and South America too. Meanwhile satellite countries in eastern bloc were neutral or even received some resources from Moscow.
For example... What do people love drink on Christmas eve? Poppyseed milk! Guess why schools had mandatory dentist exams the next day...
Although, the lack of digital artifacts definitely helps. Digital smoothing or digital noise is something I can still see on a lot of photos from last-generation cameras. Maybe we should stop throwing so much procesing on top of "raw" images.
It feels like these photos have a very distinct color palette. But do they, really? Honestly, I spend so much time looking at digital images, it's becoming hard to judge what's "realistic" anymore, especially when you can't look at the scene in real life.
Was that forbidden? It's seem like that would have been influence the government would have tried to filter out no? Or was it forbidden but just not enforced?
"Make a list of people to check in the emergency of a CIA counterrevolutionary project" can quickly turn into "Make a list of people to crack down on for lack of ideological commitment", particularly in an organization in the spy game, where need-to-know must be the norm.
The state system of Bloc countries was completely unredeemable.
However I have heard from other people that grew up in socialist countries that Bulgaria had it easier than most in that respect.
In the transition to capitalism things got quite worse. Then there were empty shelves there was rationing, prices went up drastically, etc.
Edit (for the down voters): I observed these "wonders" first-hand, since I grew up in the Eastern Bloc.
It’s like sarcastically saying “the wonders of capitalism” when talking about a 19th century workhouse filled with laboring children.
But, your point still stands. The flavor of socialism encountered in the Eastern Bloc from post-WWII to the 90s was by all accounts completely dysfunctional.
Most countries with material wealth that are advertised as being "socialist" or "social democratic" are actually bog standard capitalism, perhaps with a marginally better funded welfare system than average.
Or one could go further and actively prosecute people who try to do anything "capitalistic" (e.g. offer services for pay). That is the model that USSR, and all countries in its sphere of influence, used.
Encouraging individuals or groups to have their own notions of who owns what seems like a surefire way for warlords & petty tyrants to take over local economies.
There is a book by Ursula Le Guin, "The Dispossessed", that describes an utopian (to some extent; the book subtitle is "an ambiguous utopia" for a reason) anarcho-socialist society. Anarcho-syndicalist, to be precise. It's fiction, of course - but if you wanted to get the gist of how people who believe in this sort of thing imagine such a society would work, it's a great introductory crash course; kinda like "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" is for ancap.
I disagree with that statement, because capitalism is just a market and markets arise and behave the exact same way whenever and wherever they are allowed to. "Implementing capitalism" isn't a thing you do: it means that you stop doing something (suppressing market activity).
for the holidays.
I believe the best, and actually somewhat obvious, message of these photos would be to show the humanity of the people of the time, without hiding their relative poverty. That way, they would challenge the clichés on both sides of this particular ideological divide.
The comments so far mostly prove me wrong. But as they say in both communism and Disney movies: there is always hope.
Wonder if any of it might get published by Steidl, as a collection.
Of course, things have changed, but to a large degree, the images presented have so much in common with the present.