Can there be a working class culture and experience?
The Platypus Affiliated Society presents
Can There Be a Working Class Culture and Experience?
A moderated panel discussion held at the Platypus International Convention VII
- Walter Benn Michaels (University of Illinois, Chicago)
- Juan Conatz, Recomposition (USA)
- Paul Elitzik (FNewsMagazine, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, USA)
- Jacob Denz (Graduate Student Organizing Committee, GSOC-UAW local 2110 (NYU, USA))
Moderator: Jocelyn Li
The 20th century left gave rise to the recurring idea that a homogeneous working class experience could culminate in a revolutionary "working class culture." Various movements sought to create artworks that would transcend the apparently decadent forms characteristic of bourgeois culture; these movements ranged from the USSR's 1920s Proletkult to the Mexican muralists and American Artist Union of the 1930s to the Art Workers Coalition in the 1960s–70s. However, the merits and potentiality of a coherent working-class culture have been thrown into question by the failure of all of these projects to transform society in an emancipatory direction, despite their revolutionary intentions. This panel seeks to explore the concept of working class culture, its history, and what it might mean for the Left today.