The Professional Protester Episode 54 – 3 Anti Bernie Takes and How Each One is Bullshit

The title speaks for itself.
https://youtu.be/udh2DKgTSHU

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Let’s face it, most of the Democratic Nominees for President are TERRIBLE!

This primary is giving me ulcers. I can’t fucking take much more of it. If one more liberal calls Bernie a Russian agent I will become a full on Marxist Leninist and sing the Soviet national anthem on street corners as I hand out poorly Xeroxed propaganda. If one more mediocre no name white guy decides to enter the race I might retch, and retch bile at that!

Sanders and Warren are the only two candidates who I am willing to even tolerate the idea of giving the nomination for the presidency to. Yes, I was very critical of Warren back in 2016 and I still have issues with how she handled the Bernie vs. Hillary situation. I also do not think she can beat Trump, full stop. However I will give her credit where credit is due, her working class background is admirable and her plan to cancel student debt is as worthy of praise as Bernie’s emphasis on Medicare for all. I will also add that Mike Gravel is legit, he is a real one! But as of now he is not what I would call a “strong contender.”

With that said, I despise almost of all the other democratic candidates for the nomination. Each one of them, save for a very select few outside of Warren and Sanders, have shown themselves to be agents of imperialism, agents of patriarchy, agents of gentrification, agents of white supremacy, or just a flat out terrible people.

Here is why every current Democratic party candidate, as of the time this was written, sans Warren and Sanders, is a disgusting human being worth your revile:

Kamala Harris – Kamilla Harris wants you to believe she is one of the most progressive candidates to enter the 2020 race. She also wants you to ignore the fact that she is a liar who is responsible for ruining the lives of countless families. As Attorney General and a District Attorney her prosecution of parents for truancy put countless, mostly black, people in jail. Not only did this break families up and provide more free labor for our vampiric prison industrial complex, but it has yet to be discussed what became of the children who lost their parent’s to the prison system. How many of them were seperated? How many of them were traumtized? How many of them ended up rejecting our entire system after seeing their parents get punished for their own truancy?

It should also be noted that Harris promised to not accept lobbyist or corporate donations, she has since accepted donations from lobbyists in California, New York, and South Carolina, including money from a lobbyist for pipeline firm EQT and Google’s parent company “Alphabet.” There is nothing progressive about taking money from either of these entities. Harris calling herself a progressive is an insult to our intelligence and it should be treated as such.

Kamila Harris is a liar who ruined lives, to hell with her.

Cory Booker – Booker promised to not accept corporate or lobbyist donations as well. However that doesn’t seem to be working out because not only has he accepted lobbyist money, he is the number one recipient of donations from employees of private health insurance firms, pharmacutical companies, and the biggest enemy of the people, Wall Street.

Cory Booker, like Harris, wants us to believe he is a progressive, but also like Harris, he is nothing but a fraud. A classic politician who insults the intelligence of the average voter by saying they’ll do something while doing the opposite, as if we won’t notice or as if he just doesn’t care.

Sorry Cory, but the fact you want to legalize weed and that you date Rosario Dawson, a former Sanders supporter, doesn’t win you progressive points.

Amy Klobuchar – This has less to do with policy, of which she seems to have none, and more to do with personality. But in my opinion Klobucher is one of the worst people running for office.

According to former staffers Klobuchar is abusive and even violent at times. She has thrown binders and books at staffers when they have made mistakes and has shown that (forgive my ablist terminology) she is what my father would call a “grand looney.”

Once when a staffer brought her a salad for lunch but forgot the fork, after publicly berating the staffer Kolbuchar then took out her comb and PROCEEDED TO EAT THE SALAD WITH IT! (I was right, I’m about to retch!) She then gave the staffer the comb and demanded that they “wash it off and get it back to her.”

I guess dijon dressing is good for the scalp? *Cringe*Retch*Repeat*

Pete Buttigeig – In my opinion, Buttegieg is the most disingenious person running for the nomination, even more than Harris or Booker. For one he is not intersectional with his analysis at all, he is very much a rainbow capitalist and a white rainbow capitalist at that.

In his recent town hall he equated Bernie supporters with Trump supporters and publicly disagreed with Bernie’s idea that prisoners should vote. By doing so he demonstrated that he does not understand how a disporportionate amount of people in jail are people of color. The laws robbing them of their right to vote is inturn disproportionally silencing people of color, robbing them of basic human rights both in the short and long term.

It might also interest people to know that as a mayor he handed over a popular public park to a private developer, which in turn lead to displacement and increased gentrification in his city. When Bernie was mayor of Burlington he basically told landlords to fuck off and that they “will not displace anyone in my city!” Fuck yeah Bernie!

Also, Pete is “proud” of his service in the military for this country. Anyone who is proud of having gone to Iraq or Afghanistan to kill and perpetuate American empire will get no respect from me. I can only imagine how many middle eastern lives were ruined by him and his troop regiment.

Beto O Rourke – “I will take no pac money,” he says in Facebook ads paid for by his political pacs. Yes, you read that correctly. He has also refused to sign a pledge to turn down fossil fuel industry money, maybe it has to do with the fact that he recieved a donation from Chevron’s top lobbyist before the end of the last fiscal quarter. https://theintercept.com/2019/04/17/democratic-candidates-lobbyist-donations/

Also, Beto and his wife, a billionaire heiress who founds charter schools, have earned themselves a reputation as gentrifiers in the city of El Paso. Gentrifiers are not only despicable capitalists, they are agents of white supremacy. Also, as a former charter school employee I can assure you that charter schools rob youth of equal opprotunities, they divert needed funds from already underfunded public schools, and they hurt teacher unions. Beto, betta go fuck himself. (teehee)

Tulsi Gabbard – Gabbard is an apologist for Syrian dictator Assad and has ties to the Fascist Modhi of India. Next…

Julian Castro – Castro is one person who I am willing to concede is not a “terrible” person, but he is ridiculously disingenuous. Castro criticized Bernie for his remarks about reparations, but failed to actually take a stance of his own on the issue. Like most of the other candidates, Castro seems to believe you can stand for something while standing for nothing.

Oh wait, he supports NAFTA!? Nevermind, he is horrible, he is never to be to trusted.

Kristen Gillibrand – Gillibrand has accepted $1,206,513 in donations from Wall Street in her last election and $80,483 from pharmaceutical company Pfizer. Among her top donors are Bank of America, Blackstone, and Morgan Stanley. No sale, no appeal, no vote from me. Next…

John Delany– “Who?” You might be asking, well all I need to know about him is that he is a moderate democrat who created a lending service called Health Care Financial Partners which profits off of loans made to companies in the healthcare for profit industry. Anyone who makes money off this atrocious healthcare system is scum.

Next victim…

John Hickenlooper – Sexist, period. When asked if he would pick a female running mate (as any male running in this election should) he responded with “Why aren’t women being asked if they will choose a male running mate?”

Take it to the 4chan feed you worthless M.R.A. Then go fuck yourself.

Jay Inslee – Inslee has a solid environmentalist record, no joke and no snarck there, credit where credit is due. Props to you Inslee for putting Earth first.

BUT…. this little line from a Seatle Times article conjecturing about his approaching presidential run seems important…

Inslee was the chief cheerleader of the largest corporate tax break in U.S. history, $8.7 billion to woo Boeing’s 777 plant” – https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/if-jay-inslee-runs-for-president-his-biggest-accomplishment-may-be-his-undoing/ (Danny Westneat)

Damn it Inslee, you were so close to not sucking!!! But you do, so…

Wayne Messam – Again, “Who?” Well according to the all knowing google he is the Mayor of Miramar, Florida. To be honest, unlike the others his record is relatively solid aside from championing for Hillary Clinton in 2016, but beyond that there is little controversy to him.

However something to be careful about is that he does own his own construction company. I live in a city where our city council and former mayor’s close ties to contractors have resulted in gentrification and atrocious development deals.

Out of all the no name candidates though, he is honestly the least problematic, which also kind of makes him the most boring candidate. Hell Messam, give us a sexist comment, a shitty investment, something to love/hate you for!!!

Seth Moultan – On the surface this guy is kind of awesome, he opposed relecting Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the house and he won his spot in the House by ousting an incumbent corporate democrat. He supports weed legalization, and he openly compares Donald Trump to Adolph Hitler. He has even called Nancy Pelosi out for her reluctance to impeach Trump. Moultan even identifies as a progressive and as a former Marine opposed returning troops to Iraq in 2014. However the level of pride Moultan has put into his own military record, 4 tours of duty in Iraq, is reason to give pause.

Tim Ryan – Now we are back to people who are genuinely terrible. Ryan had to be convinced to support abortion, calling it a “personal choice.” For thousands of women abortion is not merely a personal choice it is a medical neccesity. Anyone who is uncomfortable talking about abortion in a positive way in my opinion lacks basic understanding of medicine and biology. Also any man who has misgivings about abortion needs to shut the fuck up. Until human males carry the litter our only stance on abortion should be that it is legal, safe, but above all ACCESSIBLE!

I find it also disingenuious that he calls himself a pro union and pro labor candidate who thinks its good optics to say “You’re not going to get me to hate someone for being rich, I want to be rich.”

Excuse me while I vomit with annoyance and rage, again!

Eric Salwell – a former prosecutor, meaning he is an agent of the prison industrial complex, who is making a name for himself by going on to cable news networks and spewing Russiagate nonsense. Pardon me Eric, but I will literally die if I don’t get Medicare, so will millions of us. WE DO NOT CARE ABOUT RUSSIA! GIVE US HEALTH CARE AND ACCEPT THAT YOU LOST 2016 BECAUSE OF THE DNC’s SHITTY CANDIDATE.

Andrew Yang -Most people who support UBI only do so as an excuse to end all other welfare services. As a person who has survived only because of Medi-CAL let me just say, fuck that. Also do a little research into the “Yang Gang” and you might see why his base isn’t exactly something to be desired…

Moving on…

Joe Biden – Joe Biden is probably the worst person out of the entire list. Not just as a candidate but as a human being.

We already know that Biden doesn’t respect women’s personal space, add onto that his out of touch agism towards millennials, his horrible record on race, his moronic stances on marijuana (you can thank Biden for holding Obama back from legalization by the way) and the two little words his supporters hate to be reminded of, Anita Hill.

Put it all together and you have what can only be described as the most atrocious pile of unappealing since Walter Mondale. Mark my words, if Biden runs and gets the nomination he will be a Walter Mondale situation all over again for the democrats.

And lastly,

Marianne Williamson – I’ll be honest with you folks, I got nothing on her. Her activism is solid, she supports Warren and Sander’s stances, and she was an advocate for victims of the AIDS crisis when it was at its worst. Other than the fact she is a self help author and her obsession with the metaphysical, there really isn’t anything juicy to dig up on her.

Let’s be honest though, she doesn’t have a snowballs chance in hell.

Well here we are, after 20+ google searches here you have a conclusive list of how the other democratic nominees are either horrible people, or just flat out unelectable. I consider what I have done to be a public service.

Now can all of these candidates and there supporters just fuck off and give us the Sanders/Warren ticket we need! Why do so many no name hacks with no bold policy stances think they are the ones who can beat Trump!? WHY IS IT SO HARD FOR PEOPLE TO JUST READ THE FUCKING ROOM!? WE WANT BERNIE! END OF DISCUSSION!!!

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda – A poem for a dying planet

Would have,

Could have,

Should have.

These words which only pay lip service

to memory and potential

and attribute cause to regret

Serve no purpose but to hinder us

As our world decays.

We owe it to ourselves,

To our living legacies still too young to fend for themselves,

We owe it to them to act.

To organize and hope.

Two words to embody and elevate,

While we smash the banks of marble,

And pine for the fjords of freedom.

Would have,

Could have,

Should have.

Nay.

Will have.

Can have.

Shall have.

What I Mean When I Say “Bernie isn’t perfect”

We have all heard it. Every Bernie supporter has said it at some point. Whether it be about his vote for FOFSTA or his near sighted comments about the border, every Berner has had to say these words at least once. “Bernie isn’t perfect.”

However something needs to be made clear, I am not giving Bernie a free pass on his shortcomings when I say that. Some of my fellow Bernie supporters are but that is a folly in my opinion. When I say “Bernie isn’t perfect” I am not saying we should ignore where Bernie needs improvement.

What I am saying is that his shortcomings are where we as a base need to build our own popular power. We can count on Bernie for certain material gains, but we can not count on him to solve all of our problems. It is not he who will change everything, it is us, the sullied and ignored masses. Bernie’s short comings are where we must organize the most, where we can strike where the iron is hottest.

I do not think Bernie is a saint, he has made several comments over the years that can only be responded to with a Captain Picard face palm meme. Nor do I think he is the patron saint of socialism, Bernie is definitely more of a social democrat than a democratic socialist. However I do think that his candidacy increases the odds we can answer some of the most immediate material needs of the modern day working class, the biggest being our need for healthcare. I think it can be said without much debate that Bernie has been solid on the medicare for all part of his platform as well as an increase in social services, meaning a Bernie presidency can be a catalyst for ending privatization. Yet there are several other issues such as his reinforcement of an imperialist dialogue and his lackluster stance on sex work.

Bernie’s comments on Venezuela and open borders are disappointing to say the least and his votes in favor of Sosta and Fofsta were genuinely damaging to the lives of sex workers. However, as Bernie himself states, this momentum that is becoming a genuinely left movement in the country is about us, not just him. Where Bernie falls short is where we, the socialists and the organizers, must step up.

Bernie’s stance on social services is solid, but his stance on sex work is vapid, it is therefore the duty of the left to assist the organization of sex works. I am not suggesting we step into their lives with a savior complex, no, we must build an environment where sex workers can organize themselves. It is the duty of leftists and labor organizers to foster self determination and democracy, and that can be achieved through genuine bottom up organization that we know will be forsaken by Bernie, not because of a lack of concern but because of alack of attention on his part. I do not think Bernie hates sex workers but I do think that he is focusing his energy where he knows he is most capable. The fact is no matter how much Bernie can help us make gains he cannot fix everything, no single person is able to do everything, period. While Bernie focuses on one avenue of material gains, so shall we focus our efforts wherever he falls short or wherever we cannot count on electoralism to give us a material win. It is there we will build communities and help others to build theirs. This is the ultimate truth of the inside/outside strategy. We must put equal energy to both the in and the out.

Another example of where we can build a genuine base is through international solidarity. I do not think we can count on an inherently imperialist office, I.E. the U.S. presidency, to be an agent of ending imperialism.

I do think that having a president like Bernie can increase the odds that our over blown military budgets will stop, but will he bring justice to the Indigenous? Will he account for our contributions to colonization? And how will he approach Venezuela, DPRK, or Cuba as president?

I have no doubt that Bernie will continue to disappoint with his international stance but I do think 1. His presidency would reduce the odds we will carry out constant, devastating interventionism and 2. His presidency would allow us to redirect the excessive funds received by the military into the social programs he wants to enact. Yet when it comes to solidarity, true solidarity with the working class in nations such as Syria, Palestine, or Venezuela, it is our duty to elevate the voices of those organizing for liberation.

Cliche though it is, I do agree with the sentiment that where there is crisis there is also opportunity. There are harsh realities to deal with when taking about Bernie’s candidacy. I acknowledge that FOFSTA and SESTA are not just policy talking points, we are talking about peoples lives. The same goes for the effects of American interventionism, this is not just a policy talking point, lives have been destroyed in Iraq, Libya, Palestine, Venezuela, and too many other nations to list.

We can depend on Bernie for increasing our odds of serious material gains, especially when it comes to healthcare, but we must still and always depend on ourselves to be the true agents of community and organization. Those efforts of community and organization must be directed where Bernie or public servants like Bernie fall short.

This is our duty no matter who is running or who is president. Where there are needs to be met, leftists must be there to foster community and organization and work to elevate the voices in the midst of the hardest part of that work. Sex work and internationalism are simply two places where we as leftists have a duty to work, as we have a duty to get medicare for all and college for all. When I say Bernie is not perfect, I am not saying we must forgive him or ignore those imperfections, I am saying that these shortcomings are arenas for genuine base building. When I say Bernie is not perfect, what I am really saying is, “We must never stop organizing.”

Cruel Reality, a poem for our times

Cruel Reality

A classic song screams out through my radio,

“We won’t get fooled again!”

Unless we don’t pay attention in history class,

Or worse, when we don’t bother to ask any questions.

Yet soft,

Do not let your words enable “deconstruction.”

Fight on weirdos, fight on freaks,

Fight on.

Stanza 2, the part where the poet keeps rambling,

Not this time.

My poems are no longer mine,

No longer for me,

No longer needing to be justified or validated.

Poetry itself is justified.

Does the president get it?

Of course not,

Evil is as evil does.

Evil has no humanity,

Do not appeal to where there is no court.

Why do so many legitimize evil

by doing nothing?

Denial, easy to do

when ICE or the B.I.A isn’t kidnapping your child

and beating up your grandmother.

Brainless professional bootlicks

and we give them badges and parades.

If they failed at high school football

why trust them with the law?

Cruel reality, not everyone is on your side.

Cruel reality, our lenses can be skewed

and skew our view.

Cruel reality, people are not always what they seem.

I could go on for days about this world’s cruel reality.

And I will.

I need to.

Cruel reality, an idea is an idea in of itself.

It’s all inane, but it’s all very interesting to.

Both?

Yes, and neither.

Confused yet?

Good. That’s step one.

The next is controlling

channelling

the inevitable frustrations.

Your microwave will kill you

faster than a diseased box

and the cops are bloodthirsty.

Long live reality T.V.

Max Headroom was no metaphor,

Tangent words begin again

reps and senators

Hot sex live 24/7

And the millionaires whine more about it than we do.

That’s nice but please sir,

Please master,

May I have some more?

No, well, can I have my life back?

No?

Can I at least live?

No.

Why are the puppies begging eyes

only effective when they are blue,

not brown?

Enjoy cable?

iPhones? Wifi?

And all the other masturbation aides?

Well, congrats jerks,

While you were hate tweeting about whatever it is,

Tyrone got shot,

Maria was deported,

And Mohamed is stuck in LAX.

Good luck replacing all three.

Flags make good cum catchers,

And even our soldiers are tired of being props,

Sick of being human flag poles.

Don’t use the used to justify you.

Facts to suit theories not theories to suit facts.

Have I limited myself?

Is grammar so important?

What do order and style

have anything to do with truth?

When did “MAGA” become “Zig HEIL!”?

It always was.

A big, round planet

that no empire could ever keep covered.

Caligula had to come sometime

but a horse in the senate would be fitting

since it is already full of jackasses.

Thank you good night!

You’ve been a great crowd!

Don’t forget to harass the waitress on your way out.

Cruel reality,

Integrity can fall short,

And supremacy hinders the so called “supreme.”

Cruel reality,

Proustian memories triggered not by a cookie, but a beer,

A familiar scene, my local pub and brew.

A dad trying,

A bored teen,

A hungry young sister,

Convinced she “isn’t hungry daddy!”

It is her standing rock, she will not be moved.

A sweet scene, tainted by the world it exists in.

Cruel reality,

Not everyone on the same side

is actually on the same side.

Cruel reality,

One man can destroy democracy.

One can always interfere,

But one can never stand in the way of truth.

Cruel reality for them,

The truth is always there,

And will always haunt them.

Cruel reality,

We can never be free from the haunt of memory.

Nation captive to nation,

The profit in pain.

Cruel reality,

Kids don’t care about the carbon-dated world

of colas and silver screen stars.

Should they?

A question for the philosophers, not the poets.

Cruel reality for the enemy,

Is that the game is a state of mind.

But the game ain’t saying nothing.

Today the masses say it,

Cruel reality for the enemy,

The eye of integrity,

Karma and big brother

Are on them like never before.

Cruel reality for the enemy, but we all got game.

Cruel reality, what is happening here

Is perfectly clear

And it always has been.

Cruel reality,

Racism is not just for the racists,

But even the “good” people.

Cruel reality for me,

Though frustration is real

The tedium of this world,

The pain and suffering

Is more real than ever today.

Cruel reality, that isn’t too cruel when you think about it,

But the time, the chance, to step back,

And give others a space, a time, a home.

Cruel reality, pretty blond pornstars

Have gone political,

And trust me when I say

It isn’t pretty.

Cruel reality.

Cruel reality.

Cruel reality.

Won’t someone pass me a pill

Since joints are a sin?

Pass me a pill so that I may sink

So that I can forget

So that I can ignore these days,

This era,

So that I can ignore

our cruel reality.

People Who You Didn’t Know Were Socialists – Zero Mostel

https://youtu.be/ckiNm0nMEoA

I have been swamped with personal errands and DSA tasks the last week so I am not able to make a video this week, but I forgot to share my video from last week so here you are.

Did you know that Zero Mostel was a leftist who got blacklisted twice! He even called MGM a racist studio and openly challenged Senator McCarthy’s witchhunt! #solidarity am I right!?

What is Socialist Art?

It is very true that one cannot always go by the principles of Marxism in deciding whether to reject or accept a work of art. A work of art should, in the first place, be judged by its own law, that is, by the law of art. But Marxism alone can explain why and how a given tendency in art has originated in a given period of history; in other words, who it was made a demand for such an artistic form… – Literature and Revolution, pg. 150

Recently I was attempting to answer the question,”what is socialist art?” as a theoretical response to Trotsky’s Literature and Revolution. I had just finished the book and was working on a piece that would be an attempt to expand his application of a Marxist lens towards the arts by contemporizing it for socialists here in the 21st century. Originally I started off with the question, “what is socialist art?” However I found that I could not answer the question until I answered a more pressing one, “what is arts place in the Revolution?” Since I have now established that art indeed has a place in Revolution with my previous blog post, I will now attempt to answer my original question. What is socialist art?

Arguably Trotsky’s Literature and Revolution is the most influential piece of Marxist literary theory. It was arguably the first application of Marxism towards the arts and it paved the way for the likes of Terry Eagleton. Communists such as myself who came to leftism through their study of literary theory owe the existence of their Marxist lens to this text.

Although it was written almost a century ago, Literature and Revolution still provides us with two central principles that can be applied if we are to look at art through a socialist lens. In order to determine, “what is Socialist art?” we must look at art as socialists. It should be noted that the terms Marxist, socialist, communist, and leftist are used interchangeably in this piece, as they are in most of my work. It should also be noted that Trotsky uses the term “proletarian art” as opposed the term “socialist art.” In this piece the terms will be used interchangeably because art that is inherently proletarian is art that in-turn inherently socialist.

Literature and Revolution offers use two principles that can be used to determine what is socialist art. The first is that the proletariat are capable of understanding art, and that it is the bourgeoise who have controlled the economy of art, but their control does not mean the proletariat are not interested in art.

In addition to that, Trotsky’s work demonstrates art, like anything in historical dialectics, are subject to the economics of its time and place and therefore serves as a reflection of history and culture from where the art comes from. Therefore proletarian art will reflect proletarian culture. Trotsky argues that this proletarian culture needed to be developed by the proletariat after Revolution was achieved. However this is not so today. Unlike Trotsky and the bolsheviks who were rebuilding a culture from scratch, there is already a rich existence of anticapitalist traits in contemporary art.

Proletarian art is one that is reflective of the proletariat in the time and place they exist. Whereas bourgeoise art is always indulgent for the sake of indulgence proletarian art is always one that is expressive. Consider the artists who create for arts sake versus the working class artists who produce art not for profit but for the sake of their own self expression, or for the reclamation of their colonized culture.

Jeff Koons and Damien Herst are more likely to produce indulgent and pretentious sculptures for the sake of a high price tag, whereas a Chicano or Chicana street artist is likely to graffiti a mural to express their outrage over their coopted or ignored cultures. Another fine example of anti capitalism in art is the legend of Banksy, a person who shreds his art if it ever appears for sale at Sothebys. Proletarian art is art that rejects the bourgeoisie or the racist patriarchy they uphold, rather than cater to them.

However what is most important to consider is the amount of people who draw, write poetry, blog, make videos, jam with friends, all without seeking a profit. The fact that art is a form of therapy, a form of community, a form of cultural reclamation, a form of resistance, and a form of self expression demonstrates that the masses, and therefore the proletariat, are both interested and capable of being involved in the world of art. Therefore the “art world” should not be controlled by a single class but should be something that benefits the collective.

Proletarian art is about radical self expression, bourgeois art is self expression to appease an already affluent class. Proletarian art is not just self expression of an individual artistic proletarian but rather it is a self expression that rejects bourgeois influence and the oppressive systems within that influence. Art that rejects the bourgeoisie and the systems of patriarchy, white supremacy, and imperialism are all arguably manifestations of socialist art.

Bourgeois art however is expressive of the artists individual politics through its indulgence. To put it plainily, art for arts sake is art that is art that accepts the status quo. Since the status quo is one of oppression, indulgent bourgeois art is art that is complacent with oppression. For example the art of the impressionists, while technically masterful, were created to appease a petite bourgeois art world. In Literature and Revolution Trotsky points out that while bourgeois artists are often obsessed and even mystify the peasantry, they ignore the reality of their industrial proletarian neighbor. “Our old literature and “culture” were the expressions of the nobleman and the bureaucrat, and were based on the peasant.”(pg 30)

In other words bourgeoisie artists romanticize elements of the working class but refuse to incorporate the reality of their struggle into their world. This is still true today and can be seen in the bourgeoisies co-opting of street art and graffiti art.

Street artist Bansky hid a shredder in this frame and activated it when his piece sold for over $1 million at Sothebys in 2018

Proletarian art is also art that is created in response to the bourgeoisie power and all of its manifestations, whether it be colonization, patriarchy, or the overall class system. The murals of Malcom X, Martin Luther King Jr, Harriet Tubman, Zapata, Caesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta that grace the walls of buildings in Compton, Watts, East LA, Oakland, and South Sacramento are all examples of the modern working class using art to fight bourgeoise oppression. Indigenous and African artists who are keeping the arts of their colonized people alive should be welcomed as socialist art as well. The fact that art is used by so many for so many different purposes reflects the truth that the proletariat are both capable and interested in the intellectual properties of art.

There is also the agitational element of political street art like Banksy’s or in the cultural expressions of non white street artists. There is also the agitational effort we see in feminist art. Art that puts the reality of sexwork or the reality of attacks on women’s bodies should be included in our definition of proletarian art as well, for women are the most exploited of workers and any art that reflects that reality is inherently a rejection of the bourgeoisie definition of art. The same goes for art produced to agitate and express the realities of being trans, non binary, or gay. All art that is born out of a rejection of capitalist oppression must be included in our definition of proletarian art.

Fridha Khalo’s “Henry Ford Hospital, 1932”

If socialist art is art that rejects the bourgeoisie’s control of art, then socialist art should elevate oppressed cultures and people. This is because art is a reflection of the times and place it is produced no matter what. Considering we live in explicitly racist, sexist, transphobic, and queer-phobic times, proletarian art should both reflect that and reject the status quo that enables these cultural constructs of capitalism. There is also the reality that art and cultures have always been around but all in someway or another all cultures and art forms have been forced to respond to capitalist oppression. That is proletarian art, black poetry slams, indigenous art, street art, or any art that exists because of a rejection of the capitalist status quo.

Unlike Trotsky in the USSR we do not need to re-define art we need to use it to elevate our working class. We simply must reject the notion that the art we put up in galleries and museums to honor famous artists is the only manifestation of art. All we need to do to determine “what is socialist art?” is to bring in the arts that have already been born out of their rejection of capitalism. This is not only possible but it is already happening, artists have been creating to reject capitalism even as Trotsky was writing Literature and Revolution over a century ago, what has not been attempted is a general contemporary categorization of socialist art. However even Trotsky himself pointed this out in the text;

“themes migrate from people to people, from class to class, and even from author to author. This means only that the human imagination is economical. A new class does not begin to create all of culture from the beginning, but enters possession of the past, assorts it, touches it up, rearranges it, and builds on it further. If there were no such utilization of the “secondhand” wardrobe of the ages, historic processes would have no progress at all.” – Literature and Revolution pg 149

In conclusion, the proletariat are already creating their own art for means of self expression, political agitation, therapy, and cultural resistance. Whereas Trotsky’s Revolution had to create a proletarian culture, today a proletarian culture already exists in the numerous oppressed peoples under contemporary capitalism. Therefore our proletariat art is the art of our oppressed masses, of people who have either been denied their culture or denied access to the culture created by the bourgeoisie. Socialist art can be any medium, but it must either be about reclaiming culture or rejecting the oppressive pillars of capitalist culture. So the ultimate answer to my question, “what is socialist art?” is art that actively works to reject capitalism and the oppressive structures that capitalism brings.