chapter  Chapter Nine
29 Pages

Proletarian Culture or Embourgeoisement?

ByHenry de Man, Eden, Cedar Paul, Peter J. Steinberger

Proletarian culture may be regarded as a theoretical speculation about what will happen in the future, or as a propagandist concept; it certainly cannot be regarded as a reality. There can be no creation of culture without autonomy and responsibility; but the characteristics of proletarianised labour are dependence and irresponsibility. The intellectual, who supposes that the working-class struggle is wholly and consciously directed towards the upbuilding of a new civilisation, falsely attributes to the proletariat his own way of thinking. The deliberate and primitive simplicity, heavy with thought, which the best pioneers of socialist art regard as the style of the days to come, is extremely distasteful to proletarians. The proletariat certainly had no socialist culture, though it had a proletarian class culture, which, though rudimentary, displayed itself in the peculiar characteristics of working-class life, in the workers’ manners and customs, their ways of feeling and of dressing.