Lectures and essays on art and socialism

Arts editor David Walsh speaks on the centenary of the October Revolution

What the Russian Revolution meant for modern art and culture

By David Walsh, 28 February 2018

This talk was given in Chicago and in Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo, Michigan, in late 2017 and early 2018 to mark the centenary of the October Revolution.

Lecture at San Diego State University

Should art be judged on the basis of race and gender?

By David Walsh, 27 April 2017

This is an edited version of a talk given at San Diego State University on April 18 by WSWS arts editor David Walsh. Audio of the talk is included.

WSWS arts editor David Walsh speaks at San Diego State University on art and identity politics

By our reporters, 22 April 2017

The WSWS arts editor spoke to an audience of 70 students and workers on the current crisis in arts and culture from a Marxist perspective. His talk was followed by a lively discussion.

A talk given in San Diego, Berkeley, and Ann Arbor

Art, war and social revolution

By David Walsh, 31 May 2016

This talk was given by WSWS arts editor David Walsh at San Diego State University, University of California Berkeley, and University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in April and May.

Talk by WSWS Arts Editor David Walsh

The political and theoretical sources of The Sky Between the Leaves

By David Walsh, 27 January 2014

WSWS arts editor David Walsh gave a talk in Detroit recently to SEP members and supporters to mark the publication of The Sky Between the Leaves.

The defense of culture and the crisis in Detroit

By David Walsh, 17 September 2013

We are posting today an edited version of a talk given by WSWS Arts Editor David Walsh to a June 13 meeting on the threat to the Detroit Institute of Arts.

David Walsh speaks on “Socialism and Cinema”

By David Walsh, 10 November 2010

WSWS arts editor David Walsh recently spoke at the University of Salford in the Greater Manchester area in the UK.

The assault on culture and the crisis of American capitalism

By David Walsh, 5 October 2010

American capitalism in decline has neither interest in, nor financial support to offer, artistic creation.

A presentation by WSWS arts editor David Walsh

The crisis of American filmmaking & cultural life

By David Walsh, 18 March 2010

Arts editor David Walsh addressed some of the current problems in American cultural life, and their historical roots, in a recent talk.

Bolshevism and the avant-garde artists (1993)

By David Walsh, 17 February 2010

The Great Utopia: The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915–1932 at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, in 1992-1993, was a major event. David Walsh wrote a series of articles in the Bulletin, a predecessor of the WSWS, which we began republishing February 13 in three parts. Here is the entire piece.

In praise of George Eliot’s Adam Bede on its 150th anniversary

Part 1

By David Walsh, 30 December 2009

This year marked the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, along with Marx’s A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. The publication of George Eliot’s Adam Bede in 1859 also deserves to be noted.

The future of art in an age of crisis

By David Walsh, 21 April 2009

WSWS arts editor David Walsh recently delivered a talk on “The Future of Art in an Age of Crisis” in a number of US cities. We are posting that lecture in two parts, beginning today.

WSWS arts editor David Walsh speaks at meetings in San Diego and Los Angeles

By our correspondents, 4 March 2009

In meetings at San Diego State University and at the Santa Monica Public Library in the Los Angeles last week, WSWS Arts Editor David Walsh addressed students, artists and workers on “The future of art in an age of crisis.”

Letters on WSWS arts editor David Walsh’s trip to Britain

16 December 2008

A selection of recent letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site on David Walsh’s discussions with screenwriter-playwright Trevor Griffiths and filmmaker Mike Leigh.

The Writer and Revolution: WSWS arts editor David Walsh in conversation with Trevor Griffiths

11 December 2008

On November 12 WSWS arts editor David Walsh and screenwriter-playwright Trevor Griffiths held a discussion on the subject of “The Writer and Revolution.” We are posting an edited version of the event today and tomorrow, along with video excerpts.

A public lecture by David Walsh in the UK

Art and socialism: the real premises

26 November 2008

WSWS arts editor David Walsh recently delivered a talk on “Art and socialism” in a number of cities in Britain. We’re posting that lecture today.

Socialist Equality Party UK public meetings

Art and Socialism—a talk by David Walsh, WSWS arts editor

By the, 25 October 2008

Global capitalism has entered its greatest crisis since the 1930s. The economic slump will undoubtedly lead to a widespread radicalization, as all the myths about the "free market" are shattered.

The Aesthetic Component of Socialism

11 October 2008

The following lecture was delivered on January 9, 1998 to the International Summer School on Marxism and the Fundamental Problems of the 20th Century, organised by the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) in Sydney from January 3-10, 1998.

A Comment on Art and the Marxist Party

By Joanne Laurier, 11 October 2008

I would like to expand on one question raised in the lecture: the objective character of artistic cognition and the significance of its study for revolutionaries.

Questions and answers at David Walsh’s talk at York University in Toronto

By David Walsh, 23 January 2007

Students and faculty members attended the talk on “Film, history and socialism” given by WSWS arts editor David Walsh at York University in Toronto, January 17. The following is an edited version of the question-and-answer period that followed Walsh’s presentation.

Film, history and socialism

By David Walsh, 22 January 2007

Film is little more than a century old. It is an art form whose entire history is contained, for all intents and purposes, in the twentieth century, a century of convulsive and often tragic events, of global civil war, of gigantic and as yet unresolved social struggles.

WSWS International Editorial Board meeting

Artistic and cultural problems in the current situation

By David Walsh, 21 March 2006

Published below is the first of a two-part report on artistic and cultural issues delivered by David Walsh to an expanded meeting of the World Socialist Web Site International Editorial Board (IEB) held in Sydney from January 22 to 27, 2006. Walsh a member of the World Socialist Web Site IEB and the WSWS Arts editor.

Marxism, art and the Soviet debate over “proletarian culture”

By David Walsh, 30 September 2005

This lecture was delivered by David Walsh, the arts editor of the World Socialist Web Site, at the Socialist Equality Party/WSWS summer school held August 14 to August 20, 2005 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The Aesthetic Component of Socialism

By David Walsh, 3 January 1998

Art expresses things about life, about people and about oneself that are not revealed in political or scientific thought. To become whole, human beings require the truth about the world, and themselves, that art offers.

An exchange with a reader

Oscar Wilde and “art for art’s sake”

A Critical Comment on the article “Oscar Wilde’s lasting significance”

8 November 1997

On July 28, 1997 we published an article by David Walsh on Oscar Wilde and his contribution to twentieth century cultural and political life (see article, Oscar Wilde’s lasting significance). We publish here a letter from a reader in Australia, and a reply by Walsh.

Art and freedom

André Breton and problems of twentieth-century culture

By Frank Brenner and David Walsh, 16 June 1997

In June and July 1938 Leon Trotsky, exiled Russian revolutionary, and André Breton, French Surrealist poet and thinker, collaborated in Mexico on the writing of an extraordinary "Manifesto for an Independent Revolutionary Art." This declaration remains the most eloquent expression yet produced of the commonality of interests of the artist and the revolutionary Marxist.

The objective character of artistic cognition

By David Walsh, 13 September 1993

Edward Said, a Palestinian and a professor of literature at Columbia University in New York City, has set himself the task in Culture and Imperialism of offering "a history of the imperial adventure rendered in cultural terms."