Hugh Masekela was one of the last great jazz men of the twentieth century. Both his life and music were shaped by transatlantic political and cultural currents that ebbed their way through the slums of Johannesburg and the jazz dives of Harlem. His death has produced two broad depictions of the man: Masekela the founder of the South African Jazz sound, and Masekela the activist who used music to raise attention to the injustices of apartheid. Neither of these are inaccurate, but they do little to capture the complexity of the man or his music.Read More
Welcome to Dumpster Pizza Party: a podcast about art and DIY counter-culture with your host Craig E. Ross...
My guest today is VHS Girl, as known as the artist and tape-head Katie Winchester. In this podcast we discuss VHS Girl’s artistic journey from VHS collecting to creating paintings of her favorite VHS covers and becoming heavily involved in the DIY outsider art world. We also discuss the Solar Eclipse Comic-Con in Carbondale, IL that we both had the pleasure of participating in as well as movies, breakfast food, nerd culture, and the history of resistance against the KKK.Read More
Dre Harris is the bravest person I know. Facing the mirrored horrors of Nazis with metal poles and state-employed pigs who must have heard his screams, Dre survives. He tells his story. He tells his story knowing that a vicious beating is only the beginning of their attack and that rotting hearts beat in all in the institutions around him.
Mark is the bravest person I know. He is the first person to step out from the park as we march to defend the public housing complex from the fascists.Read More
In 1968, at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King was assassinated. In the immediate aftermath, a wave of riots broke across America. Known as the Holy Week Uprising, this was a largely spontaneous outpouring of rage and sorrow. Far from the Movement collapsing, it marched forward with renewed fury and determination. To paraphrase Stokely Carmichael, what the crowds had started saying was “Black Power”, and they were to keep on saying it. In the midst of this ferment, black artists and activists searched for new answers to the questions that cut across the African-American experience.Read More
The intelligentsia has been re-traumatized by that dastardly Dylan. First, they had to put up with the very fact that a “rock singer” (or however we label him) is winning a prize that is supposed to be for literature. As Bill Crane put it last fall, “The middlebrow literary establishment in this country, as may have been predicted, has completely failed to understand the significance any of this.”
Crane makes an exquisite formal and substantive argument in defense of Bob Dylan as a poet, though takes a position typical of the Left regarding Dylan’s “turns” after his classic activist period.Read More
Musician and socialist Dave Randall’s Sound System: The Political Power of Music was released to positive reviews in May. Randall, a veteran musician who has worked with Faithless, Sinead O’Connor and Emiliana Torrini among others, examines in the book music’s many uses and abuses from the perspective of both a practitioner and a serious Marxist. Here, Red Wedge republishes an interview conducted with Randall by rs21’s Colin Revolting on the book, its inspiration, some of its highlights, and how a radical movement can subtly but actively approach popular music.Read More
There are big changes coming to Red Wedge’s publication and posting schedule. Starting with issue three (out in July) on “The Return of the Crowd," Red Wedge will be going quarterly.
Since the founding of Red Wedge in 2012 there has been a mushrooming and further development of left-wing and explicitly socialist publishing. As readers may know, we have spent much of the past eighteen months discussing our way forward, and feel that our current moment, our current environment, demands that Red Wedge professionalize itself.Read More
Colonial domination, because it is total and tends to over-simplify, very soon manages to disrupt in spectacular fashion the cultural life of a conquered people. This cultural obliteration is made possible by the negation of national reality, by new legal relations introduced by the occupying power, by the banishment of the natives and their customs to outlying districts by colonial society, by expropriation, and by the systematic enslaving of men and women.
Three years ago at our first congress I showed that, in the colonial situation, dynamism is replaced fairly quickly by a substantification of the attitudes of the colonizing power. The area of culture is then marked off by fences and signposts. These are in fact so many defense mechanisms of the most elementary type, comparable for more than one good reason to the simple instinct for preservation.Read More
The question “what can a poem (actually) do?” has been a part of the philosophical debate about art for a long time. It is impossible to know when it was first asked, but I’m willing to bet that it had something to do with the onset of the Industrial Age, and the coming of age of Capitalism. That the lack of a definitive answer, or any recognizable material profit tied to its production hasn’t stopped people from either writing or reading it, is probably answer enough, but in the Fall of 1977, I moved from Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies to Winnipeg, Manitoba – the MidWest of Canada. My step-father was working with the Canadian government and so, we were migrating.Read More
The student butterfly that flapped its wings in Paris, May 1968 led to an earthquake which shook factory walls across western Europe in the 1970’s. Out of the dust emerged an ugly snarling rodent called punk rock.
The 1970s in the UK was a time of open conflict. Strike leaders sent to prison and then freed by a massive strike wave, teenagers fighting in the streets against each other, against the police and against the army in Ireland, miners strikes, power cuts, three day week, women battling for equal rights, Tory government brought down. The working class – loud, proud and winning.Read More
What’s the best thing about Gary Ross’s The Free State of Jones? It is clearly a film that will rile the “All Lives Matter” crowd. For conscious white-supremacists and “color blind” racists alike, the portrayal on screen of a white Southerner – an army deserter – in league with runaway slaves in defiance of the tax man, the war machine, and the system of human bondage, amounts to a giant slap in the face. And it should be. But The Free State of Jones is much more than that. Here we have a mainstream film about a band of rebels in conscious opposition to economic inequality and horrendous racial injustices. What's more, they are led by a proponent of a utopian, agrarian-socialist vision of society.Read More
A collection of anti-racist activist and photographer Syd Shelton’s work from Rock Against Racism has been collected together for the first time. Is this book a nostalgic trip to the bad old days of 1970s racial conflict or does it have something to offer a new generation fighting the changing face of racism in the 21st century? Maybe both?
Shelton’s starkly black and white photographs portray the sharp contrasts in 1970s Britain. National Front marchers and anti-racist crowds, the police and the youth on the street, the punks and Rastas, Sikh pensioners and black and white kids, the bands and the audiences.Read More
Thee Mistakes was an accident. It did not slip from our tongues fraught with meaning or even mystery; not at first. Much like the systems under which we all live, it was a small idea at first, a placeholder for something better that was yet to come. And like those systems, it stuck. It caught on; we ran with it.
Upon some reflection, though, it came to represent a certain truth. It had felt right because our existence, our collaboration, and the fruits of our discourse highlighted that there were errors, in the system, in our art, our lives, and that we, somehow, had begun to address them.Read More