Socialism within the Arts: The Need for a 21st Century Movement
Joe Langabeer & Enya Menichini, Founders of Art-Rising
A spectre is haunting the arts, the spectre of socialism.
The Arts, especially in the past twenty years, have become irrelevant in engaging with socio-political issues that involved class. A lazy approach has been adopted when tackling subjects of a socio-political nature, furthermore, undermined by capitalist affiliations which helped reaffirming the status-quo. The commercialised sectors have tightened the grip around narrative-storytelling to appease the masses and played a part in culturally-hegemonizing the artistic spectrum. Antonio Gramsci warned us that these actions would eventually develop a passive understanding and enjoyment of art and a stagnation in production. That is the artistic landscape we are presented with nowadays. Observers and critical analysts have become complacent to the system, as demonstrated by their practice of referencing practitioners’ works with no real understanding of what these contributions were and are being made for. For example, countless reviews and articles will commonly reference Brecht’s style or content, but never dwell on the political connotations of his work. Brecht was a follower of socialism, as were a lot of the practitioners who challenged the modem of artistic aesthetics in his time. Since then challenging aesthetics from a political nature has been deemed and labelled ‘redundant’ or ‘unneeded.’ In addition to aesthetic and politics in the arts, we aim to tackle the concrete issues in relation to the conditions of the people who work in this field: low and unstable pay, lack of support for freelance workers, terrible working conditions and gig-economy type contracts to name a few.
All of this must be held to account.
That is where we come in.
We are building a movement that will uphold the value of Art and put forth the very demands that we must make for it to thrive. We are a democratic socialist organisation that champions Artists, and our goal is to create a thriving and supporting community. It is not necessary for any aspiring member of our organisation to conform to a particular ideal or canonical type of artist in order to join us, as we welcome everyone who wants socialism to succeed in the upcoming capitalist crisis that has been laid upon us. We want to create art and broaden it out to a new political and aesthetical horizon. We also want people to document the issues that revolve around the current aesthetics and working forces. That is why this will hopefully be the first of many articles and reports that will be instrumental in documenting insecurities caused by this economic system and further consequences of capitalism within the arts.
We support all workers’ parties across the globe, all artist trade unions and their affiliates.
Do not be afraid if you do not feel that you can grasp the information instantaneously, as our hope and intention is to nurture artists’s understanding of politics and help them elevate their political consciousness by leading them towards a healthier future. For our arts, and for ourselves.
The time is now.
Join us and start submitting articles and analyses here at
WORKERS OF THE ARTISTIC WORLD, UNITE!