[Freedom archives news] The Cultural Workers Movement and Frente Conference

Freedom Archives Events freedomarchivesnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jan 30 11:27:35 EST 2018


  The Cultural Workers Movement and Frente Conference

January 29, 2018



Here at the Archives, we recently unearthed a couple boxes that have now 
turned into a new collection! This collection provides material about 
the *Cultural Workers Movement 
<https://search.freedomarchives.org/search.php?view_collection=1048>* in 
California in the 1970s. This was a movement of visual artists, writers, 
musicians, theater people, and other cultural workers to form a 
committed revolutionary and anti-imperialist cultural front, the 
Cultural Workers’ Front of Our America. The Front had several goals: to 
rediscover and build peoples’ culture, to use culture as a form of 
political education, and to produce work that reflected the struggles of 
the Third World and working people in the U.S. Much of the collection’s 
materials relate to the Frente Conference of 1975, which the Front 
organized to bring together cultural workers across the Bay Area, 
including largely Latino-Chicano artists, poets, and writers.

As an artist myself, this collection makes me think not only about how 
the arts can do radical and revolutionary work, but about the power of 
collective mobilization. The collection prompts some key questions about 
today’s cultural landscape: what are the differences between individual 
artists creating revolutionary-themed work, versus a collective, 
organized movement? What does revolutionary cultural work look like 
today—especially in our digital, more globalized world? Is there any 
equivalent modern movement to the 1970s Cultural Workers Front? What are 
our responsibilities as cultural workers and artists?


Working on the collection, I was also particularly struck by the 
importance of internationalism for the Cultural Workers Movement. 
Materials from the collection reveal how the Front actually began in 
Quito, Ecuador and then decided to expand to North America to include 
like-minded cultural workers in the U.S. This is a great example of how 
a movement not only values international solidarity, but is actually 
founded by and committed to Third World and international leadership.

The materials in the collection provide a fascinating window into the 
inner workings of a political movement. You can trace the organization’s 
formation, evolution, methods of organizing, and even internal politics 
through its records. For me, one of the most unique parts of the 
collection is its folder of internal documents, meeting notes, and memos 
that span more than a year of the Front’s activity. Flipping through 
this collection, you’ll also find beautiful artwork, cultural 
publications, drafts of speeches, and more. Check out the collection 
*here <https://search.freedomarchives.org/search.php?view_collection=1048>*.


Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
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