The present-day economic downturn is reminiscent of the Great Depression in terms of the overall morass of poverty, unemployment, and foreclosures, yet key differences separate the two eras. The 1930s was a time of massive organizing, strikes, union activity, and dissent that forced FDR and the New Deal to the left. 2009 (or 2013) does not provide us with such inspiring levels of resistance.
If the 1930s can teach us one key lesson, it is the need to organize. Nothing changes when people do not engage in the long and difficult work of building a diverse, multi-cultural, working class movement from the ground up. This includes artists. Fortunately, the 1930s provides us with multiple examples of how artists worked collectively to confront the economic crisis of their time.
What the Artists’ Union of the 1930s Can Teach Us Today by Nicolas Lampert