“When injustice becomes law, nonviolent resistance becomes duty.” Petra Kelly (1947-1992), co-founder of the German Green Party (1979) at a rally in Nuremberg (1983).
January 15, 2017, Originally posted on The BeZine.
Our theme this month is Resist! We chose it to coincide with a protest today that was initiated by poets Alan Kaufman and Michael Rothenberg. Thanks to Alan and Michael, poets across the United States will gather on the steps of their local city halls and take their stand against the backward values that the U.S. President Elect represents. PEN America also sponsored an event today at the New York City Public Library and thanks to them protests are happening today in ninety U.S. cities and some cities outside the States.
As is our tradition at The BeZine, voices in protest are not limited to the U.S.
What are we trying to accomplish by protesting? “Dump Trump” is a rallying cry for some but it’s unlikely to happen, at least in the short-term.
We think what makes sense and what people want to focus on is creating awareness and building bridges, not walls. We want to stand in solidarity against scapegoating and the sort of rhetoric that fuels misunderstanding, hate and violence. We stand in support of the rule of law, civil rights and human rights. We want to keep the feet of the power elites to the fire and demand accountability.
Michael Rothenberg and Alan Kaufman have written that with “the Fourth Estate under siege it is now up to writers, poets, artists and musicians to join in and put our shoulders to the wheel.…There is no Post-Truth Era for the world of [the arts].” And here we are …
It takes courage to speak out, but speak out we must and today we bring you a collection that we hope will hearten you, if only by virtue of seeing just how many people share your values. There is hope in that.
It begins, with one brave enough to appear.
One idea, one voice in an asphalt void.
Oligarchs try to crush all dissension with fear.
Undaunted, the idea will not be destroyed,
Shares roots with others; reassures, “I’m still here.” —Corina Ravenscraft
In this issue, Michael Watson, Priscilla Galasso, and Naomi Baltuck gift us with BeAttitudes that are measured, gain their wisdom from history and the arts, and speak to the long-term and to the preservation of democratic values.
“There’s a striking parallel between our current social order and that of the Middle Ages, in which the wealthy ruling class acted and peasants endured.” — warns Naomi Baltuck in Boots on the Ground
Thanks to Michael Dickel we offer a fine collection of protest music and an apologia for activist poetry. Zena Hagerty of HamiltonSeen brings us the life of Joe Hill, labor activist and song writer. In The Push, from Zena and her business partner, Cody Lanktree, we learn how Hamilton—the fourth largest city in Canada—courageously pushed back against abuses and lack of transparency in their city government. We have a flash fiction piece from poet and writer, Joe Hesch.
This month’s poetry collection is a rather extraordinary gift from poets who are well-established. They are published here alongside emerging poets we want to support and encourage. Together the poems serve to frame the current challenges we face in our world.
New to our pages this month (presented in no special order) are Greg Ruud, Russ Green, Joy Harjo, Alan Kaufman and our featured poet, Reuben Woolley. We are delighted to welcome Dianne Turner back.
Enjoy the Zine and do Resist! This is the moment.
—Jamie Dedes, Managing Editor
My first contact with The BeZine came when Managing Editor Jamie Dedes wanted to review my book of poems, War Surrounds Us, and to interview me. Somehow, from there I became one of the many “core” writers who contribute to The BeZine community—and, because I am involved with 100-Thousand Poets for Change (100TPC), I ended up taking some responsibility for our annual live 100TPC online event. Now I have a nice title, Contributing Editor. As one of the core writers, and a contributing editor, I suggested the theme Resist! for this issue to coincide with the protest readings my friends Michael Rothenberg and Alan Kaufman have instigated.
I have been active in peace and anti-racism movements for years. I recall when I first heard about the Women’s Movement, as a high school student planning a student protest against the Viet Nam War. My academic work relates to violence and masculinity (see my essay, The Warm Blanket of Silence, in this issue).
However, this autumn marks, for me, one of the darkest periods in my memory. The rising influence of white supremacy (sic) movements, blatant misogyny, unapologetic homophobia, open anti-Semitism (from the right and the left), and sword-rattling (fake?) machismo in this last U.S. election—manifested openly and through “dog-whistles” by the President Elect, his supporters, and his advisors—recall the period before WWII. And not just in 1930s Germany—fascism was popular in the U.S. and much of Europe before the war, including a notorious “Fascist Plot,” also called “The White House Coup,” in 1933. Now the industrialists will have The White House—they don’t need a coup. The probable influence of Russia on our elections (not to mention the FBI) comes straight from 1950s nightmares. These dark shadows oppress my mood and sap my energy.
The only solution I know is to Resist! To stand with others and to say, loudly, “No!”
Jamie has expressed the idea of resistance positively above. And I agree with her. Resistance must be positive, but also strong. It should be non-violent (until violence becomes a necessary and last-resort defense). And it must be embedded in all that we do. My own poetry, art, music, teaching, and life should help awaken, empower, and facilitate resistance to the hate, indifference, and greed that permeate our political culture (a lofty goal I expect I will fail in, even as I attempt to achieve it). I hope to do so in ways that welcome dialogue and allow for diverse responses and approaches across a wide range of contexts. However, I will not “give him a chance” to promulgate hate, strip the environment, legislate for racism or hate, or further oppress those under the heal of the capitalist boot. I resist.
I resist the numbness.
I find energy in resistance.
—Michael Dickel, Contributing Editor
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IN A NUTSHELL
Let Us, a poem by Alan Kaufman
letting my freak flag fly, a poem by Charles W. Martin
Scraggly Dandelion in a Concrete Crack, a poem by Corina Ravenscraft
The Act of “Survivance”, Michael Watson
Practising Freedom of Choice, Priscilla Galasso
Boots on the Ground, Naomi Baltuck
Werewolves—the Hounds of Hate, Michael Dickel
I ain’t no millionaire’s son, Michael Dickel
Democracy is Coming to the U.S.A., Michael Dickel
One Wobblie’s Life: Joe Hill, Labor Activist and Songwriter, Zena Hagerty with Jamie Dedes
“The Push” or how the eleventh largest city in Canada is pushing back, Zena Hagerty and Cody Lanktree
In Defense of Activist Poetry, Michael Dickel
Silence i—Warm Blanket in Silence, Michael Dickel
Silence ii—Sound of Silence, Michael Dickel
Writer’s Block: Doubt, Fear and Heartbreak, Jamie Dedes
The Nature of the Beast, Joseph Hesch
FEATURED POET: Ruben Woolley
Congratulations to UK poet Reuben Woolley for the distinction of an invitation to The Fourth International Festival of Poetry in Marrakesh. All expenses are paid for by the festival organizers but the airfair. Just like the rest of us who earn our bread with poetry, Reuben’s purse is a bit light. Reuben has set up a Go Fund Me page to raise the money for airfare HERE.
natural killers, Reuben Woolley
the uncertainty of bright maps, Reuben Woolley
shade talking, Reuben Woolley
venus of coventry, Reuben Woolley
barely anywhere in time, Reuben Woolley
darker application, Reuben Woolley
Deconstruction, Michael Dickel
So Thirsty, Michael Dickel
Circulating Language Manfesto, Michael Dickel
Dovetailed, Renee Espiru
Fire Song, Russ Green
Fear Poem, Joy Harjo
The Taste of Cyanide, Mark Heathcote
The Oak, the Man and the Mighty Weed, Joseph Hesch
Into the Unknown Flee, M. Zane McCllelan
War Lore, M. Zane McCllelan
This Is Not a Lullaby, M. Zane McCllelan
Of Seas, Bicycles and Whiskey, Liliana Negoi
no rain, Liliana Negoi
congregrating war, Liliana Negoi
faulty darwinism, Liliana Negoi
Noblesse Oblige, Carolyn O’Connell
Now That Anything Can Happen, Greg Ruud
Righteous Anger, Greg Ruud
Goat Herders, Dianne Turner
Waiting, Lynn White
Separate Development, Lynn White
Leaving Aleppo, Peter Wilkin
Here and Hereafter, Jamie Dedes
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