By Huey Dessalines
January 26, 2020
SAINT LOUIS: Comrades in FTP-STL’s propaganda bureau held a successful propaganda workshop Sunday. The workshop, like all FTP-STL work days, workshops, cohesion exercises, and other events, began with a group reading relevant to the event. Sunday’s event opened with a study of Hsin Wen-tung’s “Literary and Art Workers Must Go Among the Masses”. The summary of this piece is that literary and art workers such as those in the FTP-STL propaganda bureau must unite with, be among, work with, and swim among the masses.
Literary and art workers must obtain their inspirations from the daily lives and the class struggle between the oppressed nations and the oppressor nation, between the ruling class and the working class. Everything must be in the service of the class; nothing must be “for ourselves” or “for the sake of art”.
“If writers and artists are detached from the lives of the masses, their works will be like water without a source and a tree without roots, and no matter how proficient they are in technique, they can never produce a revolutionary work. Some works which politically are reactionary may have a certain artistic quality. But the more reactionary the content and the higher the artistic quality, the more poisonous they are.”-Hsin Wen-tung
The group discussion was lively. Comrades who are musicians, artists and writers discussed the harmful impact of petit-bourgeois/bourgeois ideological hegemony in their fields and stated firmly the importance of struggling for a proletarian line in art and literature. Every field, whether cultural, economic, scientific or political, is a field of struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, the oppressor and the oppressed. Hence, we must sharpen our grasp of theory and know for whom we produce, and from what class stand we produce before we touch a screen printing setup, or operate a heat press. Politics and ideology must remain in command at all times, otherwise our propaganda will reflect an incorrect position regardless of how aesthetically pleasing it is.
We had the pleasure of hosting two comrades visiting from Carbondale, Illinois, who also attended the workshop. Comrades were trained and shown how to operate a screen printing machine that our interim Propaganda Secretary built displaying proletarian ingenuity and skill. Demonstrations were also given in the operation of a Cricut machine for printing stencils, and a heat press. Comrades acquired these skills from a variety of sources. Some attended art schools, some developed them through practice working merch tables and production for bands. Regardless of where these skills were obtained, skills possessed by one comrade must be shared with all for the benefit of the collective. Every comrade should be able to produce high quality stencils, banners, bandanas, leaflets, and other materials for propaganda and distribution in the course of daily agitation/mass work, rallies/demonstrations, and at food/clothing distributions.
Our task is to consistently push the limits and disrupt the stale “left” status quo with revolutionary Marxist-Leninist-Maoist political line, propaganda, and agitation. This is our task, whether we are alone or in a propaganda team assigned for a specific purpose. Our task is to promote Communism. If one comrade is unable to complete a task, another must be able to step in and assist and finish it. We look forward to hosting a variety of public workshops in the future to share our skills with the masses and fraternal organizations.