Tuesday, December 14, 2010

you could read this or not......................

Description of and lyrics to
Art is a Weapon (1931)
(performed by the Prolet-Büehne in German; and then the Workers' Laboratory Theatre adapted it into English, which is what follows):
Art is--between ourselves,
quite confidentially . . .
Art is a weapon--
Art is a weapon in the fight for my interests.
This may sound strange coming from me,
However, it is a fact. And of course facts cannot be . . .
Oh yes they can.
One can deny facts
One can distort facts
One can juggle facts
One can do with facts whatever--I want.
That is, art is a weapon.
Art is a weapon in the fight for my interests.
The Capitalist then talks of the tens of thousands of various forms of art‑‑"all non‑political"‑‑presented to various people. All these works of art, he says:
do not state
but imply,
and hammer and hammer away
as though it were a fact . . .
That the United States is the free-est country in the
That the laws of the country are made for the benefit of
the workers,
That the workers must fight and die for their country,
That every worker not born here is inferior and suspicious,
That every worker not born white is inferior and despicable
And so on and so forth . . .
Now then--
is a weapon
in the fight
for my
interests. Of course . . . quite confidentially . . .
between ourselves . . .
A mass of workers march on singing. Flanagan claims that at the production she saw "a score of workers marched up the aisle singing, and argued with another workers whose silk topper and over‑refined accent proclaimed him to be a capitalist." "The song `Left' is heard off stage and a mass of workers march on singing," say the stage directions:
The bugles are calling to fight,
Left, Left, Left, Left.
We'll answer the call to unite.
We're marching hand in hand with the mass,
We dramatize the fight of the classes
With powerful melody.
Our work will weld our strength and might
And what we play is dynamite
To the culture of the bourgeoisie.
Hello comrades. We greet you comrades:
We raise our fists to the fight.
Workers of the nation, build our federation,
For victory comes with might.
The bosses' onslaught is steady
And we are bearing the brunt.
PROLETARIANS, Let's get ready!
The Capitalist asks who they are, and the workers respond:
United Workers' Theatres of New York;
Workers' Laboratory Theatre, New York;
Prolet Buehne, New York;
Agit‑Prop troupes in New York.
The Capitalist asks them what agitprop is and is told that agitprop is agitation and propaganda for the class struggle against him, and the workers point to him. The Capitalist says that a misunderstanding has developed: "First you introduce yourselves as a theatre group. . . and now you talk about political propaganda. These are two distinctly different subjects. Art has nothing to do with politics. Art is free. Art for art's sake." The workers respond:
Art is a weapon
theatre is a weapon
Workers' Theatre is a weapon
Workers' Theatre is a weapon in the class struggle.
A weapon in the class struggle.
But art, says the Capitalist, is above the "daily routine, above politics, above party strife. Art is the expression of our yearning for beauty and harmony." The workers agree that art is the expression of our yearning, but for workers that yearning is not for beauty but for:
yearning of slaves (for) freedom
yearning of the hungry for bread
yearning of the homeless for shelter
yearning of the persecuted for rest
yearning of the unemployed for work
yearning of the victims of capitalist brutality for
yearning of the mistreated negroes for equality
yearning of the suppressed class for the abolition of all
yearning of the rebellious for the final conflict
art is a weapon
theatre is a weapon
theatre is a weapon in the class struggle.
The Capitalist declares their ideas false: "Art is impartial. Art belongs to us all. Art makes us forget." The workers again take what the Capitalist says and modify it for their own view:
It makes us forget that you are our oppressors and
it makes us forget that we the producers of all
commodities are starving
it makes us forget that you enjoy the fruits of our labors
it makes us forget that we sacrifice our strength, health
and time for your pleasure
it makes us forget that there's a way to freedom
it makes us forget that there is one way to
freedom--through fight.
When the capitalist says that their conception contradicts the age‑old definition of art, a worker declares: "This conception of ours contradicts the age‑old definition of BOURGEOIS art." The Capitalist says that this means the destruction of culture, but the worker claims that it means "the destruction of a decayed culture of oppression and exploitation." The Capitalist asks if the workers want destruction by means of the theatre, and the worker says that they want "destruction by all weapons‑‑including theatre." The Capitalist calls it revolution, and the worker responds:
That is revolution
the theatre of the future is the theatre of revolution
every working man
every working woman
every young worker
all proletarians
the masses
to action.
We do not play
for your and our entertainment
we play
because participation in the class struggle
is your
and our
We show
the exploitation of the workers.
We show
the way out.
We show the way out--
mass organization
mass action
organized mass action.
That's what we pray for
and fight for


Anonymous said...


Mike Davis said...

I think Pat Benatar said...stop using sex as weapon.