Welcome to THE CULTURAL WORKER, a blog dedicated to arts of the people, from the radical avant garde and free jazz to dissident folk forms, punk and popular arts . The Cultural Worker celebrates revolutionary creativity and features a variety of essays, reviews, fiction, reportage, poetry and musings through the internet pen of this creative writer, journalist, musician and cultural organizer. Scroll straight down and you'll also find an extensive historical Photo Exhibit of cultural workers in action, followed by a series of Radical Arts Links. The features herein will be unabashedly partisan---make no mistake about that. The concept of the cultural worker as a force of fearless creativity, of social change, indeed as an artistic arm of radicalism, has always been left-wing when applied with any degree of honesty at all. No revolutionary act can be truly complete in the absence of art, no progressive campaign can retain its message sans the daring drumbeat of invention, no act of dissent can stand so strong as that which counts the writers, musicians, painters, dancers, actors, photographers, film and performance artists within its ranks. Here's to the history and legacy of cultural work in the throes of the good fight...
john pietaro

Saturday, March 12, 2011

3 Panels on LEFT FORUM

LEFT FORUM, March 18-20, Pace University in lower Manhattan--a gathering of thousands of activists which comes to NYC annually. I am proud to be a guest speaker on three different panels. This year’s event is particularly pressing in the face of the onslaught of anti-worker legislation and rhetoric being promoted by the right-wing in this class war. Now, more than ever, progressives need to gather to brainstorm and organize. That’s what Left Forum is all about. We have much work to do!

Below is some info on the panels I will be involved in, but I urge you to come out for all of the amazing discussion going on over the course of the 3 days. Plus, dozens and dozens of progressive organizations, publishers and activists will have tables in the main hall---here’s your chance to buy books, DVDs, CDs and posters to fuel your radical fire. Check out for more info.

The Challenge of Creating a Culture of Culture on the US Left:
Panel Session 1—Saturday 3/19 10:00 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.
Amy Paul—Adhikaar
Fred Ho—Revolutionary activist, saxophonist, performer
John Pietaro—Cultural worker and labor organizer
Kayhan Irani—Performer, saxophonist,
Steve Bloom—Activist Poets' Roundtable

Panel Abstract:
A discussion by individuals who are both social activists and cultural workers about the obstacles that exist on the US left to the incorporation of culture as a method of struggle, and possible solutions. I will be speaking on the powerful revolutionary artists of the 1920s and 30s and their influence today.

Mobilizing American Youth in the Classroom, at the Workplace, in the Community in an Era of Demoralization and Demobilization:
Panel Session 4—Saturday 3/19 5:00 p.m. – 6:50 p.m
Andi Weiss Bartczak—Science for Citizens
Irwin Sperber—Sociology, SUNY New Paltz
John Pietaro—Cultural worker, labor organizer
Julia Walsh—Director, NY Frack Action
Tess Cooper—student, SUNY New Paltz; organizer, NY Frack Action

Panel Abstract:
Potentially effective approaches to the mobilization of youth for the struggles against economic injustice and environmental predation are not used as fully as they could be for purposes of building a working class movement. How these approaches can be developed by organizers in the labor movement, in environmental NGOs, and in the classroom will be reviewed and illustrated by speakers with concrete experience in these settings. Also to be reviewed are a number of approaches that tend to fail in efforts at mobilization, but continue to be used simply because they appear intuitively to be effective.

Sharing a Culture of Culture of the US Left:
Panel Session 6—Sunday 3/20 12:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.
Amy Paul—Adhikaar
John Pietaro—Cultural worker and labor organizer
Kayhan Irani—
Steve Bloom—Activist Poets' Roundtable

Panel Abstract:
This is a companion panel for "The Challenge of Creating a Culture of Culture on the US Left." The goal is to share examples of cultural expressions that can enhance the development of the US left. There will be time for audience contributions. If all goes as planned, I will be performing a new work of semi-improvised music on xylophone and percussion and incorporating revolutionary poetry into this.

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