AWESOME CREATORS :: 100TPC & Revolutionary Poets Brigade Join in Protest and Poetry : Los Angeles
“Camerados . . . will you come travel with us? Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?”
from the Revolutionary Poets Brigade Mission Statement
A little over a month ago we shared with you the story of Qatari poet Mohamed Ibn Al Ajami, who remains under threat of execution for his activist writing in conjunction with the Tunisian uprisings,directing our audience to the petition being circulated by our comrades at 100,000 Poets for Change.
In continued support of these efforts we thought it was important to invite our LA/west coast family to come out to the upcoming event on February 6th in solidarity with Al Ajami, and to remind our community at large to sign the petition if you haven’t already — and to (re)introduce you to some of the members of the lively, committed, inspiring scene that at times those with NYC/East Coast myopia forget too quickly.
This event, to be held at the wonderful, social-entrepreneurial-spirited Last Bookstore, has been a collaborative effort between 100TPC and the Revolutionary Poets Brigade, features nearly 30 readers from the Los Angeles area, many of whom have deep and long-standing ties to social activism via the arts.
An introduction to the Revolutionary Poets Brigade speaks to us in particular because true to the spirit of Exit Strata that introduction is also and always an invitation — this organization, begun in 2009, seeks to re-imagine the landscape of creative activism using a range of tools on both the virtual and local levels.
Here here! Let us close with the rallying cry of their mission statement:
As poets we are uniquely positioned to seize the possibilities of the time, bringing language to life and participating in the movement that is gathering as we speak…
Poetry has always been and continues to be not only the way the poet listens to his or her innermost being, but a way the spirit of the times, in its most forward-looking incarnation, is expressed and heard. And the times we’re in, of crisis and the cry for transformation, particularly needs the news, as poet W.C. Williams said, “without which we die.”
We say what we see: and that is the system which cannot rest until it extracts every drop from a desperate earth: capitalism. We say what we see: and that is the oppression of our class, driven to the streets and alleys of our cities, driven to the muddy fields, all because there is no profit in maintaining life and health. We are the harbingers of revolution and the awareness that underlies and drives it.
FOR THE REVOLUTIONARY POETS
In our common struggle toward freedom, each individual instinctively reaches for the best tool at hand. As artists, we have the most powerful tool of all, the ability to inspire, transform, and liberate, just in the nick of time as it happens, as the sick old ways rust, choke, sputter, and fade. Poets, those at the compressed razor sharp edge of social thought, and all fellow artists of visionary courage, stay mindful of this historic opportunity, lead with strong revolutionary voice for all humankind to genuinely live and thrive in common spirit!
Editor’s note: it is a true honor to continue to host the words and actions of organizers around the world, poets and musicians “walking the walk,” exemplifying the power of creativity as direct action for social change. Ultimately it is the chorus of voices, often in translation as you see above, that reminds us simply how vast our numbers are — and how powerful our shared intention.
You can see the original piece on Al Ajami here, and more Arab Spring poetic activism in Taha Abdel’s message from Egyptian poets to the poets of the world, then return to the US for 100TPC’s founders on the road in New Orleans, Lee Ballinger’s inspiring 100,000 Musicians for Change Letter from Los Angeles, “A Change is Gonna Come”, as well as a report from a little closer to home, musician Bob Goldberg writing on the work of Musicians for Sandy, who have been active in the relief and recovery efforts here in New York City after the storm.
Plans for next September’s events are growing every day. Perhaps you’d like to organize something where you are? Learn the backstory: get introduced to this amazing movement, and figure out how you can be a part, wherever you are in the world! Check out the ongoing work that musicians, actors, poets, and more are doing in Trinidad and Tobago, with organizer Rachel Collymore, then keep travelling! visit with Roberto Malini and the Rom Poetry movement in Sao Paolo, Brazil, learn what organizer Nana Nestoros has been doing with 100,000 Poets for Change in Greece, and then visit México, where Pilar Rodriguez Aranda has been tirelessly organizing events nationwide for two years!
You can support 100TPC on their page via direct donation HERE:
Please consider helping this essential organization grow and thrive!