“Man does not live by politics alone – and [we must] never forget it in our propaganda, written or spoken,” wrote Trotsky in 1923. Marxism is often accused of being a lifeless ‘dogma,’ engaging purely in economic analysis. However, as Alan Woods explains in the #IMU22 session ‘Marxism and Art: Unshackling Culture from Capitalism,’ human lives would be meaningless without artistic expression. Rescuing culture and raising it to a higher level for future generations is an essential task of the class struggle.
It is in fact under capitalism that art remains in a suffocating straitjacket, excluded from the masses and subject to the degerating influence of the market. As Alan says in his lecture: “Hundreds of thousands of good young artists are denied access to the means of culture. Their work will never be shown. These artists will emerge during a revolution, when they become free from the shackles of big business which is crushing art.”
We include the full video from Alan’s talk below, edited to remove translation gaps, for ease of watching.