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The Orange Alternative – Surrealist Protest Movement

Pomarańczowa Alternatywa [The Orange Alternative], nos. 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 (of 15 published).

Wrocław: Studencka Drukarnia Strajkowa im. Jana Palacha, 1981–1982. Quartos (30 × 21 cm). Single leaves, mimeographed and xeroxed types cript to rectos and versos; decorative header and several illustrations throughout. Old horizontal creases; else very good.

Five issues of altogether fifteen published of the surrealist newspaper issued irregularly in 1981 and 1982 by the student-activists of Ruch Nowej Kultury (New Culture Movement) in Wrocław. First published during the nationwide student strikes in October and November of 1981, nos. 2 and 6 are marked as “strajkowy” (strike editions). NCM operated on the premises of Wrocław University, and represented a coalition of subcultures from Anarchists and the New Left to Hippies and Pacifists, with their respective logos featured in the lettering of the newspaper title. The first issue of this paper was created according to Surrealist principles by Waldemar Fydrych (Major) and Wiesław Cupała, with alternating sentences written by Fydrych and Cupała in a manner of the exquisite corpse, resulting in a humorously nonsensical text. Subsequent issues were edited by Andrzej Dziewit, Piotr Adamcio (Pablo), Zenon Zegarski (clock hand). Parodying the battle call of the communist party, the paper appeared under the slogan “Proletarians of the world – be beautiful!”

The Orange Alternative resonated especially well with students who were drawn to the humorous and anarchic style of the paper which was influenced by Surrealism of Andre Breton and absurdist art of Stanisław Witkiewicz (Witkacy) who are named in the text. Despite the paper’s popularity, the NCM ran into conflicts with the student strike committee with the resulting expulsion of NCM from its ranks. No. 7 of this collection printed a riff on the official expulsion letter. The student strikes ended with the announcement of the infamous Martial Law in Communist Poland in December 1981, but the newspaper continued its publication underground. After the Martial Law was lifted in 1983, the concept of the paper gave rise to an eponymous artistic and quasi-political, group performance art movement Pomarańczowa Alternatywa [Orange Alternative]. The carnivalesque movement reached its peak of activity in 1985-1989. In later interviews Fydrych explained that in organizing the happenings of the Orange Alternative, his ambition was “to treat the political system of Poland as a work of art.” As of June 2021, KVK and OCLC show the complete holdings only at the Polish National Library, with nos. 2–5 at BCU Fribourg.

Book ID: 51422

Price: $950.00