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A healthy democracy requires a sturdy public sphere and public spaces. Where working class culture has been suppressed,where indigenous culture has been suppressed it must be re-asserted and revived,protected and conserved. I agree with Trotsky/Gramsci that proletariat culture must emerge and become more powerful. Gramsci spoke of cultural domination. I oppose that.Today we’d proper more use the term cultural imperialism. I oppose it. I oppose the idea of a monoculture aka americanization aka mcdonaldization as it’s called in sociology.I believe in cultural diversity nationally and internationally. I oppose leftists who think the idea of some generic world culture ,one country or one government is desirable.I believe in localism and decentralization not centralization and steeply hierarchical bureaucracy. Gramsci argued the working class/anti-capitalists must advance their ideas on a cultural front then on a political front or simulataneously. “In 1967, the German student movement leader Rudi Dutschke reformulated Antonio Gramsci’s philosophy of cultural hegemony with the phrase Der lange Marsch durch die Institutionen (The Long March through the Institutions),”
“In Marxist philosophy, cultural hegemony describes the domination of a culturally diverse society by the ruling class, who manipulate the culture of the society — the beliefs, explanations, perceptions, values, and mores — so that their ruling-class Weltanschauung becomes the worldview that is imposed and accepted as the cultural norm;” “To that end, Antonio Gramsci proposed a strategic distinction, between a War of Position and a War of Manœuvre. The war of position is an intellectual and cultural struggle wherein the anticapitalist revolutionary creates a proletarian culture whose native value system counters the cultural hegemony of the bourgeoisie. The proletarian culture will increase class consciousness, teach revolutionary theory and historical analysis, and thus propagate further revolutionary organisation among the social classes. On winning the war of position, socialist leaders would then have the necessary political power and popular support to begin the political manœuvre warfare of revolutionary socialism.” “The initial, theoretic application of cultural domination was as a Marxist analysis of economic class (base and superstructure), which Antonio Gramsci developed to comprehend social class; hence, cultural hegemony proposes that the prevailing cultural norms of a society, which are imposed by the ruling class (bourgeois cultural hegemony), must not be perceived as natural and inevitable, but must be recognized as artificial social constructs (institutions, practices, beliefs, et cetera) that must be investigated to discover their philosophic roots as instruments of social-class domination. That such praxis of knowledge is indispensable for the intellectual and political liberation of the
proletariat, so that workers and peasants, the people of town and country, can create their own working-class culture, which specifically addresses their social and economic needs as social classes.”
“By manipulating the culture (values and mores) of the society, the ruling class can intellectually dominate the other social classes with an imposed worldview that ideologically justifies the social, political, and economic status quo as natural and normal, inevitable and perpetual”
I support the values of the counterculture since the counter culture is or at least should be an attempt to form a political, philosophical,psychological,artistic,organizational etc alternative to capitalist consumerist society and it’s values. Time is a concept manipulated to capitalist ends (see The tyranny of the clock) Pierre Bourdieu (La distinction) is right (without being mechanical or determinist) that class does influence tastes to some extent. For the change of values necessary for building anti-capitalist action and thought you need to advance those values and one way to do it is through art and cultural activities/events.
"transform the world, change life, [and] remake from scratch human understanding." (Surrealism) ‘art’ worthy of the name defies capitalist ‘reality’.Says Breton. “Andre Breton and the First Principles of Surrealism” by Franklyn Rosemont Art, which is the most complex part of culture, the most sensitive and at the same time the least protected, suffers most from the decline and decay of bourgeois society.
To find a solution to this impasse through art itself is impossible. It is a crisis which concerns all culture, beginning at its economic base and ending in the highest spheres of ideology. Art can neither escape the crisis nor partition itself off. Art cannot save itself. It will rot away inevitably – as Grecian art rotted beneath the ruins of a culture founded on slavery – unless present-day society is able to rebuild itself. This task is essentially revolutionary in character. For these reasons the function of art in our epoch is determined by its relation to the revolution.”
Leon Trotsky “Art and Politics in Our Epoch” 1938
“The surrealist pact let it not be forgotten is triple. I consider that the present situation of the world no longer allows the establishment of a hierarchy between the imperatives which compose it and which should be pursued with equal vigour.
1) Helping man’s social liberation in every possible way
2) Working without respite for the complete defossilization of social behaviour
3) Refashioning human understanding. “
Andre Breton 1947
“In art as in life” Breton said, “the cause of surrealism is the cause of freedom itself.” “Poetry must be made by all. Not by one.” “The artist cannot serve the struggle for freedom unless he subjectively feels in his very nerves its meaning and drama and freely seeks to give his own inner world incarnation in his art.” In complete agreement with the surrealists, Trotsky felt that the artist must freely seek to communicate his own inner world, not present a view of the world which has been dictated to him by anyone else or even by himself, not allow any internal inhibitions or external compulsions to cause him to withhold a part of his vision.
“Andre Breton and the First Principles of Surrealism” 1978 Pluto Press
“Andre Breton. What is Surrealism/” 1978 Pluto Press
What do Marxist literary critics do with texts?
They explore ways in which the text reveals ideological oppression of a dominant economic class over subordinate classes. In order to do this a Marxist might ask the following questions:
Does the text reflect or resist a dominant ideology? Does it do both? Does the main character in a narrative affirm or resist bourgeosie values? Whose story gets told in the text? Are lower economic groups ignored or devalued? Are values that support the dominant economic group given privilege? This can happen tacitly, in the way in which values are taken to be self-evident. They look at the conditions of production for the work of art. For example, they ask What were the economic conditions for publication of a work? Who was the audience? What does the text suggest about the values of this audience? What other approaches resemble Marxist literary criticism?
Marxist literary criticism often shares with feminist criticism a desire to challenge the power structures in contemporary society. For feminist, the issue is a marginalized gender; for Marxists, the issue is not gender but economic power, leading to political power. Marxist literary criticism can also be viewed as a type of cultural criticism, in that it seeks to analyze a discourse (of power) that makes up one of the discourses that determine a text's historical meaning. Recurrent terms in Marxist literary criticism:
Base vs. Superstructure: Base in Marxism refers to economic base. Superstructure, according to Marx and Engels, emerges from this base and consists of law, politics, philosophy, religion, art. Ideology: the shared beliefs and values held in an unquestioning manner by a culture. It governs what that culture deems to be normative and valuable. For Marxists, ideology is determined by economics. A rough approximation: "tell me how much money you have and I'll tell you how you think." Hegemony: coined by the Italian theorist Antonio Gramsci, this "refers to the pervasive system of assumptions, meanings, and values -- the web of ideologies, in other words, that shapes the way things look, what they mean, and therefore what reality is for the majority of people within a given culture" (See glossary in case studies in contemporary criticism book). Reification: often used to describe the way in which people are turned into commodities useful in market exchange. For example, some would argue that the media's obsession with tragedy (e.g.the deaths of Jon Benet Ramsay, Diana, JFK Jr., the murders at Columbine High School in Colorado) make commodities out of grieving people. The media expresses sympathy but economically thrives on these events through ratings boost.
"Many 20th century Marxian theorists ranging from Georg Lukács, Antonio Gramsci, Ernst Bloch, Walter Benjamin, and T.W. Adorno to Fredric Jameson and Terry Eagleton employed the Marxian theory to analyze cultural forms in relation to their production, their imbrications with society and history, and their impact and influences on audiences and social life." Scholars have employed various types of Marxist social criticism to analyze cultural artifacts.
Frankfurt School and critical theory
The Frankfurt School is the name usually used to refer to a group of scholars who have been associated at one point or another over several decades with the Institute for Social Research of the University of Frankfurt, including Theodor W. Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Ernst Bloch, Walter Benjamin, Erich Fromm, Herbert Marcuse, Wolfgang Fritz Haug and Jürgen Habermas. In the 1930s the Institute for Social Research was forced out of Germany by the rise of the Nazi Party. In 1933, the Institute left Germany for Geneva. It then moved to New York City in 1934, where it became affiliated with Columbia University. Its journal Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung was accordingly renamed Studies in Philosophy and Social Science. It was at that moment that much of its important work began to emerge, having gained a favorable reception within American and English academia. Among the key works of the Frankfurt School which applied Marxist categories to the study of culture were Adorno's "On Popular Music," which was written with George Simpson and published in Studies in Philosophy and Social Sciences in 1941, Adorno and Horkheimer's "The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception", originally a chapter in Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947), and "Culture Industry Reconsidered", a 1963 radio lecture by Adorno.
After 1945 a number of these surviving Marxists returned to both West and East Germany. Adorno and Horkheimer returned to Frankfurt in 1953 and reestablished the Institute. In West Germany in the late 1950s and early 1960s, a revived interest in Marxism produced a new generation of Marxists engaged with analyzing matters such as the cultural transformations taking place under Fordist capitalism, the impact of new types of popular music and art on traditional cultures, and maintaining the political integrity of discourse in the public sphere. This renewed interest was exemplified by the journal Das Argument. The tradition of thought associated with the Frankfurt School is Critical Theory.
 Birmingham School and cultural studies
The work of the Frankfurt School and of Marxist thinker Antonio Gramsci was particularly influential in the 1960s, and had a major impact on the development of cultural studies, especially in Britain. As Douglas Kellner writes:
Cultural Marxism was highly influential throughout Europe and the Western world, especially in the 1960s when Marxian thought was at its most prestigious and procreative. Theorists like Roland Barthes and the Tel Quel group in France, Galvano Della Volpe, Lucio Colletti, and others in Italy, Fredric Jameson, Terry Eagleton, and cohort of 1960s cultural radicals in the English-speaking world, and a large number of theorists throughout the globe used cultural Marxism to develop modes of cultural studies that analyzed the production, interpretation, and reception of cultural artifacts within concrete socio-historical conditions that had contested political and ideological effects and uses. One of the most famous and influential forms of cultural studies, initially under the influence of cultural Marxism, emerged within the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies in Birmingham, England within a group often referred to as the Birmingham School.
The Frankfurt School's work cannot be fully comprehended without equally understanding the aims and objectives of critical theory. Initially outlined by Max Horkheimer in his Traditional and Critical Theory (1937), critical theory may be defined as a self-conscious social critique that is aimed at change and emancipation through enlightenment, and does not cling dogmatically to its own doctrinal assumptions. The original aim of critical theory was to analyze the true significance of "the ruling understandings" generated in bourgeois society, in order to show how they misrepresented actual human interaction in the real world, and in so doing functioned to justify or legitimize the domination of people by capitalism. A certain sort of story (a narrative) was provided to explain what was happening in society, but the story concealed as much as it revealed. The Frankfurt theorists generally assumed that their own task was mainly to interpret all the other areas of society which Marx had not dealt with, especially in the superstructure of society.
The problem, Horkheimer argued, is epistemological: we should not merely reconsider the scientist but the knowing individual in general. Unlike orthodox Marxism, which merely applies a readymade "template" to both critique and action, critical theory seeks to be self-critical and rejects any pretensions to absolute truth. Critical theory defends the primacy of neither matter (materialism) nor consciousness (idealism), arguing that both epistemologies distort reality to the benefit, eventually, of some small group. What critical theory attempts to do is to place itself outside of philosophical strictures and the confines of existing structures. However, as a way of thinking and "recovering" humanity's self-knowledge, critical theory often looks to Marxism for its methods and tools.
For their part, Frankfurt School theorists quickly came to realize that a dialectical method could only be adopted if it could be applied to itself—that is to say, if they adopted a self-correcting method—a dialectical method that would enable them to correct previous false dialectical interpretations. Accordingly, critical theory rejected the dogmatic historicism and materialism of orthodox Marxism. Indeed, the material tensions and class struggles of which Marx spoke were no longer seen by Frankfurt School theorists as having the same revolutionary potential within contemporary Western societies—an observation which indicated that Marx's dialectical interpretations and predictions were either incomplete or incorrect.
Contrary to orthodox Marxist praxis, which solely seeks to implement an unchangeable and narrow idea of "communism" into practice, critical theorists held that praxis and theory, following the dialectical method, should be interdependent and should mutually influence each other. When Marx famously stated in his Theses on Feuerbach that "philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it", his real idea was that philosophy's only validity was in how it informed action. Frankfurt School theorists would correct this by claiming that when action fails, then the theory guiding it must be reviewed. In short, socialist philosophical thought must be given the ability to criticize itself and "overcome" its own errors. While theory must inform praxis, praxis must also have a chance to inform theory. Responding to the intensification of alienation and irrationality in an advanced capitalist society, critical theory is a comprehensive, ideology-critical, historically self-reflective body of theory aiming simultaneously to explain domination and point to the possibilities of bringing about a rational, humane, and free society. Frankfurt School critical theorists developed numerous theories of the economic, political, cultural, and psychological domination structures of advanced industrial civilization. Critical theory is a school of thought that stresses the reflective assessment and critique of society and culture, by applying knowledge from the social sciences and the humanities. As a term, critical theory has two meanings with different origins and histories: the first originated in sociology and the second originated in literary criticism, whereby it is used and applied as an umbrella term that can describe a theory founded upon critique; thus, the theorist Max Horkheimer described a theory as critical in so far as it seeks "to liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them." 
In philosophy, the term critical theory describes the neo-Marxist philosophy of the Frankfurt School, which was developed in Germany in the 1930s. Frankfurt theorists drew on the critical methods of Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud and has at its heart a criticism of ideology and the principal obstacle to human liberation. Critical theory was established as a school of thought primarily by five Frankfurt School theoreticians: Herbert Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Walter Benjamin, and Erich Fromm. Modern critical theory has been influenced by second generation Frankfurt School scholar Jürgen Habermas as well as by György Lukács and Antonio Gramsci. In Habermas's work, critical theory transcended its theoretic roots in German idealism, and progressed closer to American pragmatism. The concern for a social "base and superstructure" is one of the remaining Marxist philosophic concepts in much contemporary critical theory.
Whilst critical theorists usually are broadly defined as Marxist intellectuals their tendency to denounce some Marxist concepts, and to synthesise Marxian analysis with other sociologic and philosophic traditions has been attacked as revisionism, by Classical, Orthodox, and Analytical Marxists, and by Marxist-Leninist philosophers. Martin Jay said that the first generation of critical theory is best understood as not promoting a specific philosophical agenda or a specific ideology, but as "a gadfly of other systems".
The term culture industry (German: Kulturindustrie) was coined by the critical theorists Theodor Adorno (1903–1969) and Max Horkheimer (1895–1973), and was presented as critical vocabulary in the chapter “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception”, of the book Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944), wherein they proposed that popular culture is akin to a factory producing standardized cultural goods — films, radio programmes, magazines, etc. — that are used to manipulate mass society into passivity. Consumption of the easy pleasures of popular culture, made available by the mass communications media, renders people docile and content, no matter how difficult their economic circumstances. inherent danger of the culture industry is the cultivation of false psychological needs that can only be met and satisfied by the products of capitalism; thus Adorno and Horkheimer especially perceived mass-produced culture as dangerous to the more technically and intellectually difficult high arts. In contrast, true psychological needs are freedom, creativity, and genuine happiness, which refer to an earlier demarcation of human needs, established by Herbert Marcuse. (See Eros and Civilization, 1955).
In works such as Dialectic of Enlightenment and Negative Dialectics, Adorno and Horkheimer theorized that the phenomenon of mass culture has a political implication, namely that all the many forms of popular culture are parts of a single culture industry whose purpose is to ensure the continued obedience of the masses to market interests
Critical pedagogy is a philosophy of education described by Henry Giroux as an "educational movement, guided by passion and principle, to help students develop consciousness of freedom, recognize authoritarian tendencies, and connect knowledge to power and the ability to take constructive action."
Based in Marxist theory, critical pedagogy draws on radical democracy, anarchism, feminism, and other movements that strive for what they describe as social justice. Critical pedagogue Ira Shor defines critical pedagogy as:
"Habits of thought, reading, writing, and speaking which go beneath surface meaning, first impressions, dominant myths, official pronouncements, traditional clichés, received wisdom, and mere opinions, to understand the deep meaning, root causes, social context, ideology, and personal consequences of any action, event, object, process, organization, experience, text, subject matter, policy, mass media, or discourse." (Empowering Education, 129) Critical pedagogy includes relationships between teaching and learning. Its proponents claim that it is a continuous process of what they call "unlearning", "learning", and "relearning", "reflection", "evaluation", and the impact that these actions have on the students, in particular students whom they believe have been historically and continue to be disenfranchised by what they call "traditional schooling".
Philosopher John Searle suggests that, despite the "opaque prose" and lofty claims of Giroux, he interprets the goal of Giroux's form of critical pedagogy "to create political radicals," thus highlighting the contestable and antagonistic moral and political grounds of the ideals of citizenship and "public wisdom"; these varying moral perspectives of what is "right" are to be found in what John Dewey  has referred to as the tensions between traditional and progressive education.
Examples in the classroom
As mentioned briefly in the background information, Ira Shor, a professor at the City University of New York, provides for an example of how critical pedagogy is used in the classroom. Shor develops these themes in looking at the use of Freirean teaching methods in the context of everyday life of classrooms, in particular, institutional settings. Shor suggests that the whole curriculum of the classroom must be re-examined and reconstructed. He favors a change of role of the student from object to active, critical subject. In doing so, Shor suggests that students undergo a struggle for ownership of themselves. Shor states that students have previously been lulled into a sense of complacency by the circumstances of everyday life and through the processes of the classroom, they can begin to envision and strive for something different for themselves.
Of course achieving such a goal isn't automatic nor easy, as Shor suggests that the role of the teacher is critical to this process. Students need to be helped by teachers to separate themselves from unconditional acceptance of the conditions of their own existence and once this separation is achieved, then students may be prepared for critical re-entry into an examination of everyday life. In a classroom environment that achieves such liberating intent, one of the potential outcomes is that the students themselves assume more responsibility for the class. Power is thus distributed amongst the group and the role of the teacher becomes much more mobile, not to mention more challenging. This encourages growth of each student’s intellectual character rather than a mere “mimicry of the professorial style.”[