CULTURAL WORKINGS

Welcome to THE CULTURAL WORKER, a blog dedicated to arts on the Left ranging from the radical avant garde and free jazz to dissident folk forms 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 writer, 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

Friday, July 29, 2016

Opinion: THE VERY REAL CHALLENGE BEFORE US




WE ARE NOW FACED WITH A SIMPLE CHOICE.

As a Bernie Sanders supporter who campaigned and stumped for the man during the primary, I find myself taking a strong, sober view of the campaign season. I am more alert than ever of the dangers of demagoguery and the importance of fighting against the Trump vision of our future.

It took a Bernie Sanders--and the millions he activated--to wake Hillary Clinton up and push her out of the usual bland Dem middle of the road. The platform of the Democratic Party is a deeply progressive one. Finally. And perhaps the gains of FDR's New Deal will become central to a candidacy for the first time since Roosevelt. There is a sense that a vote for Hillary will not simply be a lesser of evils. We have yet to see if this will be so, but in the wake of a powerful convention with strong almost continuous progressive messaging, there is great promise. So the battle is officially at the core of our 2-party system.

As a Marxist, as a cultural worker, an outspoken activist, and a member of the labor movement, I can only truly see the need to end the Trump campaign of hate/fear manipulation. Whereas Clinton is drawing on the Dem heritage of FDR and JFK, Trump is thriving on the Republican heritage of racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and arch-Right philosophy. That philosophy was realized during lynchings, Red scares, institutional bias and the so-called Moral Majority and the drive to outlaw abortion. George Wallace, J Edgar Hoover, Joseph McCarthy, Father Coughlin, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, David Duke, Edwin Meese, Strom Thurmond, Roy H Cohn, the segregationists, the fear-mongers, the neo-Nazis, the censors, the greedy, the war profiteers, have been at the heart of the Right-Wing all along, emerging at points of financial and international tumult. And at present, under Trump, we are being fed all of the ingredients of fascism, make no mistake of that. An angry, chest thumping man of great wealth railing on about who our enemies are and how only he can save us. The fomenter of fear and suspicion. The figure of division who claims to unite. The would-be statesman that denounces the nation in order to frighten us into having him "fix" it. The alpha male who stifles and threatens those who dare oppose him, most openly the media. The silver spoon man of wealth who somehow convinces the working class that he is of them. These have all been successful means toward power grabs around the world and most prominently in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy---and the periods that led up to them.

No, we cannot take this election lightly. No, we cannot allow this demagogue who would prey on fears for personal gain to have a glimmer of hope here. No, we cannot turn our back on our Left values by letting the childish, ignorant, hateful, manipulative Short Fingered Vulgarian believe he can or should have a position of power on our watch.


-John Pietaro, Aug 29, 2016, Brooklyn NY

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