The Kids Want Communism

A discussion on the legacies and meaning of communism today


Fields of Knowledge
  • Curatorial practice
  • Philosophy / Theory
  • Politics / Economics

Organizing Institutions



Joshua Simon


School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania

Opens to public





4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Slought is pleased to announce The Kids Want Communism, a public conversation on Tuesday, November 5 from 6-8:00pm exploring the legacies and meaning of communism today. The event will feature writers and scholars including Marissa Brostoff, Kristen Ghodsee, Malcolm Harris, and Joshua Simon. It marks the publication of the book Being Together Precedes Being: A Textbook for The Kids Want Communism (Archive Books), copies of which will be available courtesy of Ulises, and is presented in partnership with Philly Socialists and with the support of the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania.

Specters are haunting the globe—the specters of anticommunism. From the European Union and its erosion to the disastrous "war on terror" and the destruction of the welfare state; from Wahhabism to neoliberalism; from debt economy to privatization; from game theory and disruptive innovation to cybernetics, and the surveillance of entertainment devices - all these anticommunisms are fighting one another, and collectively haunt us. What began with the implosion of real existing socialism almost thirty years ago comes full circle with the current collapse of the neoliberal arrangements that were then constituted.

The discussion will consider communist legacies and knowledge inside and outside of real-existing socialism, to address some urgent questions facing us today: automation and reproductive labor, human capital and algorithmic management, environmental capitalist reform and planning for zero growth. From Cold War to Global Warming, from the Soviet Block to Blockchain technology, from the Space Race to Space X, the word communism stands again as the radical opposition for exploitation and inequality.

Being Together Precedes Being offers itself as a text book for The Kids Want Communism project, which was initiated towards the 99th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917 as a series of exhibitions, symposiums and conferences, screening programs, publications and a summer camp around the world. In this textbook, communism does not merely describe an "us versus them" relation, but also offers that we are becoming the future. This trajectory of communism runs parallel to us at every single moment and its guiding principle is that being together precedes being.

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Marissa Brostoff is the co-creator of Red Yenta and the culture editor at Jewish Currents.

Kristen Ghodsee is an ethnographer and Professor of Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of among other books, Red Hangover: Legacies of 20th Century Communism.

Malcolm Harris is a freelance writer and an editor at The New Inquiry. His first book was Kids These Days: The Making of Millennials.

Joshua Simon is a writer and curator. He is the editor of the book Being Together Precedes Being: A Textbook for The Kids Want Communism.

"Even as global capitalism's extremes of inequality, violence, nationalism, and imperialism expropriate the lives and futures of most of the planet, hope for another future, one of justice, solidarity, equality, and life, continues to burn. The works collected here not only attest to the fact that the kids want communism. They fuel the desire for communism with new memories of its past and imaginings of what communism can be for us again."

— Jodi Dean, author of The Communist Horizon