On November 28, 2011, Chris Mansour interviewed Julia Bryan-Wilson, Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at the University of California, Berkeley and the author of Art Workers: Radical Practice in the Vietnam War Era (2009). Mansour and Bryan-Wilson talked about the history of the Art Workers' Coalition and its political relevance today, in light of the increasing involvement of artists and artistic strategies in the Occupy movement. What follows is an edited transcript.
RICHARD RUBIN ARGUES that “the 1930s were a decade of defeat for the Left.” His essay, “1933,” in the Platypus Review issue on The Decline of the Left in the 20th Century, is an idealist abstraction from real historical events, one founded on an uncritical acceptance of Trotsky as a significant historical thinker and actor and a corresponding Trotskyist caricature of the Soviet Union, Stalin, and Chinese Communism. Consequently, the real history of the Left in the 20th century is absent.
In the Eighteenth Brumaire, Marx disagrees with Hegel’s famous quote about history when he writes, “Hegel remarks somewhere that all facts and personages of great importance in world history occur, as it were, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce…"