By Colin Revolting for Red Wedge – Dario Fo, who died this past week, was a great playwright of the years of unrest and rebellion in the 1960s and ’70s. His plays such as Accidental Death of an Anarchist and Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! were hilariously cutting critiques of life under capitalism as it went into crisis. His style of theatre was like a Brecht play performed by the Marx Brothers in the age of TV. They even became long running hits in London’s West End.
By Kathleen Neal Cleaver for The New Press – 1969. Algiers. The spectacular panorama of the first Pan-African Cultural Festival transformed the North African capital basking in the July sun. Musicians, dancers, horsemen, poets and painters, writers, filmmakers, scholars, and political leaders filled the city’s hotels. Southern African freedom fighters and veteran guerillas from Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea-Bissau at war with the Portuguese joined the colorful delegations arriving from all over the vast continent.
By David Mabb for Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists – The HMS Courageous is a 285-foot, nuclear-powered submarine that saw service in the British Royal Navy for about two decades starting in the early 1970s. Decommissioned in 1992 after, among other things, participating in the Falklands War of 1982, it now resides at the Devonport naval dockyard in Plymouth, on the southwest coast of England, where visitors can tour its inner workings free of charge—provided they book in advance and bring their passports for “security” purposes.
By Staff of Inequality.org – On September 21, 1976, agents of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet carried out a brutal assassination in the heart of the U.S. capital. Orlando Letelier, a vocal Pinochet critic and leading thinker on global economic inequality, was killed in the attack, along with Ronni Karpen Moffitt, a 25-year-old American colleague of Letelier’s at the Institute for Policy Studies. Forty years later, this tragic event continues to stoke the flames of activism for social and economic justice around the world. One of the people who picked up the torch is Orlando’s son Francisco Letelier.
By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim for New Internationalist – Over a thousand artists gathered in San Cristobal, Chiapas in July to attend the alternative art festival, CompArte for Humanity. Supported by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), the festival drew 1,445 artists from 45 different countries and from every continent. The aim of the festival was to promote art as a way to create dialogue across social movements, and as a form of social and political expression. Over the course of the week long festival, from 23 to 30 July, dozens of artists spoke out about the political, social and cultural messages of their art.
By Joan Brunwasser for Open Ed News – I make highly theatrical puppets, employing familiar cultural icons, to spread progressive ideas in the mainstream and alternative press. It’s a formula. Since any artwork is open to interpretation, mainstream corporate media images can often SHOW what they will not, literally, SAY. I call it the “art loophole.” And I think most journalists privately lean left and are glad to publish a progressive image if given the chance. I operate in that space.
By Alexis Clements for Hyperallergic – A few years ago I was covering a panel discussion for Hyperallergic featuring members of Gran Fury, an ACT UP affinity group focused primarily on producing what group members themselves called “propaganda” against a government hellbent on isolating, vilifying, and smugly looking on as tens of thousands of their citizens died of AIDS. There were a number of young people in the audience at the event and more than once the hand of one of these audience members rose to ask how they could do something similar — how they could employ similar tactics and ideas in political struggles happening today.
By Elizabeth Boulton for The Conversation – In 2013, one of the world’s leading public relations experts, Bob Pickard, cried out to the climate world: “mobilise us!” In a frustrated op-ed, he listed 20 key problems with climate communication. One of them was “story fatigue”: bland stories with “highly repetitive and stale” themes. Climate information is still often confusing, unengaging and absent from the wider public discourse.
By Filip Stojanovski for Global Voices – Protesters of the ‘Colorful Revolution’ in Macedonia claim they won’t be intimidated by the police announcement that they would press criminal charges against the bravest among them. The anti-corruption protests, while non-violent, are far from passive, and include marches, performances, and throwing paint at objects that symbolize the impunity and poor governance of the regime. According to experts, the charges are illegal from several points of view.
By Jocelyn Noveck for Associated Press – NEW YORK (AP) — Here’s a question you’ve likely never asked yourself: Can covert surveillance be beautiful? But you might be asking it as you stroll through “Astro Noise,” journalist and filmmaker Laura Poitras’ exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art, in which images stemming from mass government surveillance are, in a number of cases, physically striking. Take, for example, the patterns of bright greens, blues and oranges adorning the wall as one enters the exhibit.
By W.E.B. DuBois for Red Wedge Magazine – “Black Art Matters.” If there were a way to sum up the thrust of this essay in one very brief sentence then that would be it. W.E.B. DuBois is one of those thinkers who needs very little introduction: lifelong socialist and Black liberationist, founder of the N.A.A.C.P., author of what is still to this day one of the definitive books on Black Reconstruction in the south. What is often overlooked is how central art was to DuBois’ ideas about Black freedom in the United States.
By Greg Jobin-Leeds for Truth Out – The following is an excerpt from the introduction to When We Fight, We Win! Twenty-First-Century Social Movements and the Activists That Are Transforming Our World. Author Greg Jobin-Leeds explains the book’s title, the philosophy of transformative change that drives the organizers featured inside and the specific qualities that these organizers share. Jobin-Leeds created When We Fight, We Win!in collaboration with AgitArte, a collective of artists and organizers who have been initiating and leading education and art programs in marginalized communities since 1997.
By Carolyn Leith for Living in Dialogue – Back in September, parents were blindsided when Seattle Public Schools (SPS) proposed staff cuts at “25 or something” schools across the district. Emergency meetings were held, letters were sent to the school board, but none of these efforts seemed to make a difference. The district had made up its mind. This is when Shawna Murphy and I decided to create our own advocacy group called Teacher Retention Advocate Parents or TRAP. We staged a spoofy bake sale – dubbed the Half-Baked Bake Sale – at district headquarters.
By Orin Langelle for Langelle Photography – At the ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery, the exhibits we choose illustrate and demonstrate the intersection of the realms of art and politics regarding the times in which we live. Sometimes art should creatively communicate the reality hidden behind the propaganda we encounter in or our daily lives, where most communication is designed to sell something you probably do not need or that makes you feel good about yourself–from McMansions to reality shows, to drugs and/or belief systems with no mental challenge. In this exhibit, we demonstrate how art and Free Speech are intrinsically tied together.
By Susan Dufresne and Anthony Cody for Living in Dialogue – In the past 13 years of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top test-driven education policies, art has been pushed to the margins in our schools. Students have lost countless hours for creating art, music and dance that expresses themselves. But artistic expression is like the seedling that forces its way through cracks in the asphalt. This blog series will explore how students and teachers use art to express themselves. The series was inspired by a Facebook post authored by artist and kindergarten teacher Susan DuFresne.