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
Official release to the book trade in August 2014. Available direct from Minor Compositions now for the special price of £10.
You can also download it here: Lives of the Orange Men
338 pages, 5.5 x 8.5
US: $28 / UK: £18