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twenty thousand members at most, all of the Department Store Union. So that kind of turnout is very, very high. We did not really get much deeper than the show. We did not follow it up. We were then running into a period of great difficulty for the unions--Taft-Hartley, the attack on the left -- so the union was just trying to fend off attack after attack. These attacks came from government, they came from other unions. In the Department Store Union's case, they came from the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Clothing Workers who were given the jurisdiction by the CIO to go after department stores. So they, working hand in glove with management, went after us and tried to decertify. There were representational elections and that kind of thing. In answer to your question, culture and arts didn't play a very dominant role, but it could have played a much bigger role in a bigger union. One of the problems you have with cultural programming is that it requires a large base to select people, to involve them in activities, and for them to perform for other people, so they have to have a large membership to perform for. But it was a beginning, and 65, which had had its own experiences with cultural activities much before I was involved, and they were very formidable experiences that grew out of their own activities, was a natural place for me to land right after the Department Stores, to move into that union and to develop activities at that time there.


At the time of “Thursdays ‘Til Nine” and later, did you have a particular concept that motivated your attempt to bring together culture in the labor movement?


At the beginning it was not out of a philosophical approach, but it was something that we did all the time. For example, you have to think back for a moment. I came out of the student movement which used cultural programming to build the organization. The kind of shows like “Thursdays ‘Til Nine” -- “Thursdays” was much more ambitious--were done in the American Student Union on a regular basis every year. Those programs had also been undertaken in the Young Communist League. So it was almost a natural thing for me to expect that in an organization you should do this kind of thing, because there was a good feeling about it. For example, “Thursdays 'Til Nine,” you had fifty or more people, members who were working together for six to eight, nine months on a three- or four- and later five-day-a-week. So these people became very, very intimate and very close, and they were doing it under the union auspices. It was almost as if you were to say that you were to run a workshop every night in the week for six or eight months with people in the union. You would be accomplishing a great deal, even though you never have form a program of education per se, but they were living together about the

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