Creative Responses to the Curriculum
Sometimes, writing a paper is not enough to get across what we have learned from readings or theories. Since I am a relatively creative person who has been overwhelmed by many of the topics this quarter, I have created this post to share certain artist means for me to express how I am processing all of the information.
During week 2, I read Emma Goldman’s Red Emma Speaks. I have always been inspired by Emma Goldman, but after reading so many of her works I needed a way to express how much of an impact her words have had on me this quarter. In response I have written a poem which is attached below as a Google Document.
During week 5 and 6, I was reading Murray Bookchin and Lucy Parsons. Bookchin is an anarcho-communist and social ecologist, and Parsons was an ex-chattel slave who was an active anarchist during the Haymarket Affair in the late 1800’s. These two authors are extremely direct about how they think creativity is important in developing a society that meets the needs of all. Their writings encouraged me to write a song about how I’ve been feeling recently regarding capitalism, racism, and many other isms as well as wondering how we enjoy life when faced with the horrors of this system. Below, I have attached the youtube link for the video.
During Week 6 I read, A Lifelong Anarchist! by Lucy Parsons and Death in the Haymarket by James Green. Lucy Parsons was married to Albert Parsons, who was hung for allegedly participating in building and/or detonating a bomb that was thrown at a crowd of police officers. I wrote the following poem in response to the Haymarket murders and Lucy Parson’s take on the situation.
Death in the Haymarket was chosen as a reading for this curriculum because it is not written by someone who considers themselves an anarchist. Green is a professor who wrote about events that he had no part in, unlike many of the other authors. Even without an anarchist analysis, I valued his writing. The information and data that he used was well researched.
To open the poem, please download from this link: Ode to the Haymarket
During Week 7 I read The Struggle Against the State and Other Essays by Nestor Mahkno. His theories regarding the slaughter of anarchists by state communists during the Russian Revolution were mind-opening. There have always been tensions between anarchists and state communists, and even people who identify as anarcho-communist as Mahkno did have problems with many of the behaviors that come from states. This week I wrote a song with lyrics directly inspired by Mahkno’s essays, critiquing state communism (specifically Bolshevism). Below, there will be a link for the video and another link for the lyrics. *New version uploaded since I’m not sick anymore*
For Lyrics click here
During Week 8 I read Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord, a French philosopher and participant in the Situationist International Movement in France from 1957-1972. In order to understand his philosophy regarding the spectacle of society, I also watched a short documentary titled, “The Situationist International.” This song is inspired by words spoken by, art made by, revolts sustained by, and propaganda produced by Situationists and other French rebels.
Debord believed that every meaningful part of life has been transformed into a spectacle, and we are isolated from real experiences as well as from each other by the capitalist system. Most people participate willingly in the spectacle because they know nothing else; they come to worship the spectacle as if it is a religion. This is why when you discuss alternatives to capitalism people get defensive and upset: capitalism is all they know and they are willing to defend it even if they feel deep down that something is not right about it. Through art, film, books, and propaganda the Situationists attempted to combat the spectacle by constructing and creating situations in which they could recapture and transform every day life.
“If we do not want to participate in the spectacle of the end of the world, we will have to work towards the end of the world of spectacle,” -Situationist International propaganda.
For lyrics click here.