One hundred years after the Russian revolution, communists are still flying the flag in countries from Russia to Nepal to Italy. Photographer Jan Banning captures the enduring spirit of 1917. Introduction by Zoe Williams
No two modern communist parties are the same. In Nepal, the comrades look quite Ocean’s Eleven, purposeful and united, glamorous despite their woolly hats. In Italy, the insistent sun gives them the air of drinkers in a rural bar with an eccentric owner. The reds of the Indian state of Kerala carry themselves with a distinctive authority and have the look of seasoned medics in a run-down but well-used county hospital. The Portuguese communists have an anarchic energy, a bit of versatility, as if they could be plotting a revolution, or opposing fracking. The Russians have a complicated, mournful alertness, as if they’re running a seance.