For Gulf Labor, the ban on some of our members was a setback. Ours is a solidarity campaign, so any kind of restricted access hampers our capacity to build cross-class relations with Gulf workers. Even so, the clampdown helps illustrate a key principle of our campaign—that the rights of artistic expression and academic freedom are inextricable from the rights of those who build museums and classrooms. It is on the basis of that principle that we have begun a dialogue with the Guggenheim trustees about how to realize the three demands of our campaign: a debt-settlement fund to reimburse workers for their heavy recruitment fees, a living wage, and the right to worker representation. And it was to amplify those demands on a larger art-world stage that we accepted the invitation to participate in the Venice Biennale this past summer.
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