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Finally Got The News: The Printed Legacy of the U.S. Radical Left, 1970-1979

Exhibition and event series, January 26 – May 14, 2017
Exhibition opening: January 26th, 2017  7-10 pm
Curator’s Tour: March 18, 1pm

Finally Got the News uncovers the hidden legacy of the radical left of the 1970s, a decade when vibrant social movements challenged racism, imperialism, patriarchy and capitalism itself. It uses original printed materials—from pamphlets to posters, flyers to record albums—to tell this politically rich and little-known story.  This exhibition will also include a publication, now available for pre-order.

breakthechainsThe dawn of the 1970s saw an absolute explosion of interest in revolutionary ideas and activism. Young people radicalized by the anti-war movement became anti-imperialists, veterans of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements increasingly identified with communism and Pan-Africanism, and women were organizing for autonomy and liberation. While these movements may have different roots, there was also an incredible overlapping and intermingling of activists and ideologies. New types of hybrid organizations emerged. Finally Got the News shines a light on the full breadth of organizations and collectives that were a part of the ‘70s radical renaissance, from Marxism to anarchism and beyond. This exhibition features original materials from Amiri Baraka’s Congress of African People, radical broadsides distributed in factories, queer socialist pamphlets, and agitational newspapers from Puerto Rican revolutionary groups like the Young Lords Party. These diverse movements used printed materials as organizing tools in every political activity, creating a sprawling and remarkable array of printing styles, techniques, and formats. Through the lens of printed materials we can see the real nuts and bolts of revolutionary organizing in an era when thousands of young revolutionaries were attempting to put their beliefs into practices in workplaces and neighborhoods across the U.S.

jobsorincomeThese printed materials were made to be ephemeral and disposable, making collecting and preserving the paper legacy of ‘70s radical activism especially difficult. But many materials have survived and offer an irreplaceable insight into this period. This exhibition will bring together printed materials produced by these organizations, from flyers to buttons to posters to the ubiquitous party newspapers. The majority of the material is from the archive of Brad Duncan, amassed over twenty years of collecting and activism. Additional items are from the collection of Interference Archive. A robust events schedule will accompany the exhibition, including discussions with former activists and organizers, exhibition tours, film screenings, and listening parties.

namFinally Got the News raises many essential questions that are still contemporary: from community responses to police brutality, to battles for better wages and working conditions, to opposition to U.S. imperialism in the Middle East. Radical movements of the ‘70s attempted to confront issues that are still with us.

This exhibition is organized by Brad Duncan and Interference Archive. Please contact info@interferencearchive.org with questions about the exhibition, or for class tours.

A list of free public events will be scheduled as part of this exhibition; watch here for details!

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This project is supported by a Humanities New York Action Grant.

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1 Comment

  1. norman douglas

    you wrote:
    “While these movements may have different roots, there was also an incredible overlapping and intermingling of activists and ideologies. New types of hybrid organizations emerged.”
    this isn’t true. this statement is the problem with the fractured left today. the philosophical roots of identity politics begin with rousseau. the french revolution botched this. marx and the anarchists revised the matter. the point of the international was to unite the left. after the success of socialism, kinkbs can be ironed out. the success of capitalist america is the fragmentation of the socialist left that occurred in the 60s. the success of affirmative action was the victory of the capitalists. the left, now divided against itself, adopted the lunatic strategies of identity politics. as such, the american left is no longer about defeating capitalism. instead, it imagines—like some idiot child—that capitalists, men whose power derives from inequality and the exploitation of inequality and loss, will grant equality. there is no equality under capitalism. and yet, most of the contemporary left still demands equality, jobs, good cops and other nonsense from the capitalists. the capitalists will give up nothing and identity politics is the perfect divide and conquer strategy. feminism, gay rights, black power: now we have queers, blacks and women “in power.” but the majority is still up shit’s creek with a hole in the dinghy and no bucket. and the paddle was lost long ago. the least you could do is tell the history correctly. even oliver stone got it right. i’m hoping brad comes up with a better essay. peace. love. struggle.

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