By Blake Garrison
Last week, the Pittsburgh Tribune of the People Support Committee hosted a study on Mao’s, Talks At the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art. The study was attended by workers, artists, and students, who discussed making art that serves the people instead of the interests of the ruling class.
In the text, Mao says, “reactionaries have money, and though they can produce nothing good, they can go all out and produce in quantity.”
Citing Hollywood as an example of the ruling class producing art in quantity and lacking quality, one attendee said, “They put millions into these movies but they still aren’t good, because even the lowest paid writer had to know someone in the ruling class to get the job. They’re not part of the masses so they don’t know how we talk.”
Other participants criticized internet meme culture as similarly alienated from the masses, and spoke of the importance of getting offline and getting involved in revolutionary organizations instead. The group agreed on the importance of going among the people, learning from them, and producing art that will inspire them in their struggles. One participant shared that, art isn’t just visually beautiful but has real value to working people.
As the study wrapped up, one artist referred to the text, saying, “What I love in the language, of what I’m reading here, is that art has a purpose– to serve the revolution! And I’m like, Yes! Thank you!”
The support committee encourages readers interested in putting their creativity in service of the working class to reach out and get involved.
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