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AGITPROPpolitics | AGITPROP http://agitpropspace.org Knowledge toolkits to go Sun, 14 Feb 2016 17:45:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.6.1 Occupy San Diego Tomorrow! http://agitpropspace.org/2011/10/06/occupy-san-diego-tomorrow/ http://agitpropspace.org/2011/10/06/occupy-san-diego-tomorrow/#comments Fri, 07 Oct 2011 06:27:30 +0000 David White http://agitpropspace.org/?p=4158 I recently came across the below excerpt from a talk given by Noam Chomsky in which he mentions the current state of affairs of the UC system and its’ systematic dismantling through deliberate policy decisions from once being the best public higher education system in the world into a system that more closely resembles Ivy League private schools.  It should come as no surprise that strategies of wealth transfer from the bottom to the top and the dismantling of quality, affordable and accessible higher education go hand in hand.  Two years ago, on March 4th, students at UCSD protested in large numbers against the fee increases proposed at the time (an increase of nearly 33%); fee increases that were ultimately implemented.  It is not difficult to see the similarity in pattern that the increased fee structures at UCSD have in relationship to the Bailout packages given to Wall Street:  borrowed money meted out to large numbers of individuals at the bottom to ultimately pay for corporate externalities (corporate research and risky speculative investing, respectively).

Since March 4th 2010 little has changed at UCSD with new tuition hikes rumored, libraries closing and services being cut daily; while students increasingly rack up large quantities of debt for what eventually ends up as a de-valued diploma due to degree inflation. Simultaneously Federal and State plans ($1.3 billion dollar plans) are underway to expand the I-805 freeway to further accommodate and expedite the transfer of cheaply produced goods across the border at Otay Mesa while increasing the capacity to regulate the passing of bodies across the same space and other border crossings.  Its seems products have more rights to adequate infrastructure, free exchange and open passage than people do. That is, unless those people are paying interest.

Toward the end of this video Chomsky speaks to the fact that much of the opposition from elites toward Social Security is not so much economic concerns, but rather that Social Security implies a social solidarity among individuals.  It implies that people should care whether the kid across the street has an adequate education etc. It seems, despite the lack of specific demands, that this is what “Occupy” is really about. Combating the atomization of the individual in order to begin the process of working against the forces stated above and mentioned in the video below. Tomorrow afternoon is a chance to begin this process locally.




From Occupy San Diego Facebook page:

@occupysd We are peacefully occupying San Diego’s Civic Center in Downtown San Diego – the 99 % WILL BE HEARD !!

Only 1% of people in this country own and control the wealth, while 99% struggle, suffer while being denied a share of the wealth and quality healthcare.

In solidarity with the occupation of and vigorous protest on Wall Street, we are people of the 99% are occupying and protesting in the Gas Lamp Quarter and downtown area of San Diego, from October 7th 2011 beginnning 4:30 PM until indefinitely. Gas Lamp/downtown is in the same area of the financially corrupt San Diego County administration and financial hub.

ALSO: Since San Diego is one of many hubs of military activity, we are exercising this opportunity and right to protest and demand an end to corporate financial backing of the present useless wars being perpetrated by our country, which is inundated with greed and aggression . We support the troops, who are really a part of the 99% of the American people, manipulated by Wall Street and the 1%.

The plan is to actually camp out in the aforementioned areas until a list of our demands in solidarity of the Wall Street NYC occupation are met or sincerely heard and considered by representatives of the financial and county conglomerate of San Diego .

We must be open for ideas, sharing and horizontal, equal leadership and representation.

Map to the occupation area at San Diego Civic Center:


Occupy San Diego Facebook page:




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Call to Artists- #OccupySD http://agitpropspace.org/2011/10/02/call-to-artists-occupysd/ http://agitpropspace.org/2011/10/02/call-to-artists-occupysd/#comments Mon, 03 Oct 2011 04:58:48 +0000 David White http://agitpropspace.org/?p=4146

An Open Call to Artists in Alliance with Occupy Wall Street and Beyond


Email ideas to the public Facebook forum: https://occupywallst.org

Occupy Wall Street: https://occupywallst.org/

The Wall Street Occupennial:

An Open Call to Artists in Alliance with Occupy Wall Street and Beyond

The Wall Street Occupennial is an urgent call for artists to contribute to the ongoing Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement currently centered at Liberty Plaza in the Financial District of New York City. The Occupennial is founded on the belief that artists have a crucial role to play in helping to elaborate and sustain the democratic public space that is currently being created by the occupation of Liberty Plaza.

OWS is one in a chain of protest movements unfolding across the world over the past several years concerned with democratic empowerment and economic justice in the face of untrammelled corporate domination of political institutions and social life more generally. This domination has involved the legal enshrinement of “corporate personhood” at the expense of representative government,  punitive austerity measures, rising unemployment, massive income inequality, ecological destruction, assaults on collective bargaining rights, the dismantling of the social safety net, and the scapegoating of public employees, working families, people of color, and immigrants.

The Occupennial embraces the fact that the OWS movement is not reducible to a single “message” or even a particular set of policy prescriptions; in the most general sense, OWS and its affiliated movements around the world are about democratization, the first manifestation of which has often been the unauthorized occupation of nominally public streets, buildings, and plazas ranging from Tahrir Square to the Wisconsin State House.

While it echoes the familiar art-world term “biennial,” the Occupennial is unencumbered by any predetermined curatorial program or institutional apparatus. It exists instead as an imaginative umbrella-concept and pragmatic media platform (wallstreetoccupennial.tumblr.com/) through which diverse activities might be brought into alliance around both the specific site of Liberty Plaza and other occupation-sites throughout the United States and the rest of the world.

While OWS has gathered political strength and sympathetic media coverage in recent days, the occupation of Liberty Plaza remains an inherently precarious process due in part to the ambiguous legal status of the site: it is a privately-owned public park mandated to remain open twenty-four hours a day; however, the immense police presence is a constant reminder that events on the ground can change very quickly. For now at least, a major priority is sustaining the presence of as many bodies and cameras at the plaza as possible. The Occupennial thus encourages contributions that engage the physical site of Liberty plaza and its occupants, and that can unfold in as timely a manner as possible. For those contributors unable to be physically present at the site itself, we encourage projects that are digitally-based (photos, videos, texts, graphics), but also long-distance ideas capable of on-site realization by interested collaborators. These might encompass sign-making, performative gestures, tours, choreographic scores, acoustic experiments, historical reenactments, or ephemeral architectures. In conceiving of such projects, it is important to keep in mind that various park regulations already constrain OWS occupation activities in terms of the marking of surfaces, the amplification of voices, and the erection of structures found to be “blocking the sightline of the park.” Such constraints are unfortunate, but they might also become opportunities for artistic inspiration, response, and critique.

Finally, it is crucial to note that in recent days, important new linkages have begun to develop between OWS and already-existing labor unions, non-governmental organizations, community groups, public intellectuals, and media outlets. Art projects working to cultivate and facilitate cultivate such linkages are especially welcome under the umbrella of the Occupennial.


The Wall Street Occupennial


We look forward to your contributions to this initiative…Time is of the essence!

-Wall Street Occupennial


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“But the truth is…” a Gil Scott-Heron interview http://agitpropspace.org/2011/05/30/gil-scott-heron/ http://agitpropspace.org/2011/05/30/gil-scott-heron/#comments Tue, 31 May 2011 00:20:07 +0000 Perry Vasquez http://agitpropspace.org/?p=2143 Gil Scott-Heron circa 1982With the passing of Gil Scott-Heron I felt it was important to re-publish this interview with him from issue number one of Nihl, an arts and culture magazine I published in 1982. During its short and spastic lifespan Nihl’s contributors looked out at a post-positive world through the lens of neo-negative thinking. Not merely pessimistic, but in Adorno’s words – ” to establish something positive through the thought-means of the negation.”* Nihl emerged during a tumultuous era. The Vietnam War was still raw in the national imagination. Reagan was the newly-elected president whose saber-rattling seemed to be hastening the possibility of a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. In America, the “black hats” were in power, and Gil Scott-Heron had just released his new album, Reflections. The single, B-Movie, a critique of Reagan’s political persona, was receiving underground airplay. Rhonda Trotter, one of the talented writers working on the staff of Nihl at the time, went to see Gil’s show on Stanford campus and recorded this timeless interview.


Rhonda Trotter: In “Inner City Blues” the poem “This Evening…”, where did that come from?

Gil Scott-Heron: A brother named Mark Essex, from Kansas – I believe – a navy gunner, sharpshooter, came back from Vietnam. The only thing he knew how to do was kill people. He couldn’t get a job, and his reaction to that was to more or less demonstrate how prolific he had been at what he’d been taught to do. And it was attributed in several instances to the Black Liberation Army. It seemed very appropriate at the time that we did the poem – back in 72-73, during the Nixon administration – it seemed to be a comment on what was happening to our veterans since most veterans were out at that time. A lot of confusion, a lot of questions about what this society was turning our young folks into.

RT: Would you in any way describe yourself as part of a community of musicians who are working in a similar way, and who are these people?

GSH: Well, I know that a lot of artist that I’m familiar with do benefits and community programs of the sort that we do … But you find out when you go out to play that there are a lot of folks everywhere who spend a good deal of time doing things like that if they are concerned about it. It’s just that what I’m describing, a lot of artists don’t get into those sorts of programs because they’re generally so poorly done, from the point of view of having it together, having the advertising together, having the sound and lights and things that go into producing a concert and these people are very rarely familiar with that. And you risk not only not making anything for the organization, but at times not even covering the expenses that you put up to get there. That’s happened to us on several occasions working for different social organizations. You just have to be qualified or be prepared to reach into your own pocket to cover whatever it is that can’t be covered by the organization, and then you feel like you really didn’t make any sort of point that you were trying to make: you didn’t help the organization, you didn’t pay your fellows, you didn’t even get the groceries together. So I feel that a lot of artists are reluctant to get involved in those kinds of things because they know it’s going to be risky just in terms of having the basic requirements.

RT: More than any other artist/musician I think you exemplify the fact of Black folks in terms of how we deal with the situation in our art forms as being revolutionary. Can you briefly speak to that in terms of art-for-art’s-sake – the art and music that keeps us in our current situation, versus revolutionary art, music and poetry. The other thing is related to Amiri Baraka and the recent harassment he’s had in New York.

GSH: I don’t see any independent position that I’m in; it’s rather inter-dependent. It hooks up with a tradition that is thousands of years old, the great tradition; the tradition of the artist, at least literally, dates back to the 1780s in this country with Phyllis Wheatley, and Martin Delaney to W.E.B. du Bois and Paul Robeson. I would say if you are familiar with our history and the history of our art and literature that you see a clear cut pattern of people wanting to contribute, not only artistically, but in some practical purpose, for the benefits of the community. Paul Robeson once said that the artist has the responsibility to either help liberate the community or further oppress it. And I think that when Eldridge Cleaver wrote it down it was interpreted as his, but there’s a history of people saying things of that nature and meaning it. And what I do is in that tradition, in that mode. I don’t suspect that in many instances the artists who are dedicated in that fashion to the progress of that community are as well protected by the community as might be necessary. I think that not only what happened to Baraka recently, but the way the Philadelphia police fell on sister Sonia Sanchez and tore her house up looking for drugs. I think that down in Philadelphia is a pretty good indication of the vulnerable position most people, artists included, are in when they do things that can be interpreted as not necessarily anti-white but pro-Black in this country. Oftentimes, the way it seems to be is that our artists in particular point themselves out as spokesmen for a certain constituency in a community, and thereby place themselves in that vulnerable position.


B-Movie, Gil Scott-Heron


But the truth is that in this country you here you’re more likely to be harassed, hurt, or killed if you’re a minister speaking about progress for Black people than if you are a sure enough revolutionary. They’ve shot and killed more preachers than they have revolutionaries. You see Martin Luther King is dead and Huey Newton is not. And Malcolm X is dead and Bobby Seale is not. And Vernon Jordan was shot. The thing that revolutionaries, or even people who want to claim they’re revolutionaries, often forget is that it doesn’t make no difference what kind of wardrobe you wear, and if you speak up about Black people doing better you just risked your life. And there are folks out there who will take it. I think the only answer to that kind of thing is more artists doing that sort of thing so that it’s not so easy to identify which one or which two you can do something to to slow down a movement, or to slow down some sort of progress. I think that the more people who speak out, and say things and take stands on positions that will better our community, the better off each and every other individual artist or otherwise, will be.

RT: You keep mentioning and referring to the fact that it’s difficult to get information and accurate information about Black people and other Third World people, both history and current events, and yet in your poetry and your music you always seem to be right on time with what turns out to be revealed by the time your music hits the record stands.

GSH: Strange, isn’t it?

RT: Do you have any comments on your sources of information?

GSH: I do research. You know, a lot of folks are so busy trying to get their groceries together that they don’t have time to do research. I have time. Maybe that’s the main difference. In other words you can have a poem like “B-Movie” and sum up thirty conversations that people have had on the subject, but I wrote it down, and other people didn’t. When we were doing the “Angel Dust” thing we got information from the National Institute of Drug Abuse because we knew that if we went out and said something about angel dust people were going to ask questions about it and we wanted to be sure we had all the information to deal with it when those questions came up. So it’s all a question of being as prepared as possible out front, so that if you are going to deal with information it’ll be correct. A lot of people won’t check it out but some people will.

RT: There was some controversy about “Angel Dust” and some stations decided not to play it in that they mistakenly or intentionally said that it was promoting the use of drugs instead of decrying their use. I found that whole controversy very strange. What was your perception of it?

GSH: Well, see, it’s the difference between hearing something and listening to it. We got jumped on a couple times in Buffalo and Miami; they were taking it off the stations saying some preachers had petitioned that it be taken off the station the same week that Reverend Jesse Jackson sent us a proclamation for thanking us for doing it. I think a whole lot of stuff gets by people – I could name half a dozen groups that do songs that are openly supportive of experimentation with drugs, nobody ever said anything to them. I find it not just strange but almost ridiculous that people could take a song like the one I was doing and interpret it is corroding anything. Folks have the feeling that oftentimes if you don’t talk about something it will go away. Angel dust won’t go away. Somefolks who were smoking it were going away. I think that music is for the young folks in general; a whole lot of old hardheads who were going around talking about how it was promoting smoking it, they didn’t smoke it. They didn’t know anybody who did. So far as they were concerned it was out there somewhere. But it was right in their churches, in their community, right on their block, and in many instances tight in their house. And the young folks appreciated us for speaking on it more than they appreciated them for trying to act like it didn’t exist. So I try not to take people who haven’t really thought out what they’re doing too seriously. I try not to let them get in the way of what I feel I need to do.

RT: So you did not interpret it as a move by those in power to discredit you such that “Angel Dust” and future songs you make won’t be played?

GSH: I don‘t think people in power have the potential to do anything like that to me. I feel as though as long as our music is available, folks are going to hear it. We’ve been here twelve years. And a lot of people who have not tried to do the things that we do are no longer in the music business. They’re driving taxis and washing dishes. So we understand what the difference is between what we understand and what the community understands about what we’re doing because they have supported us long enough for me to stay out here, while other people who are doing other things have not. A lot of people have trouble pinning down what it is we do and how. But we don’t have any trouble with that. As long as that’s their problem, it’s their problem.

*Negative Dialectics By Theodor Adorno
Suhrkamp Verlag © 1970 Frankfurt am Main
Original text is copyright © 1997 by Suhrkamp Verlag.

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Lakoff Petition http://agitpropspace.org/2010/03/08/lakoff-petition/ http://agitpropspace.org/2010/03/08/lakoff-petition/#comments Mon, 08 Mar 2010 17:13:33 +0000 David White http://agitpropspace.org/?p=553

The California Democracy Act, a non-partisan constitutional amendment authored by UC Berkeley Professor George Lakoff, consists in its entirety of a mere 14 words:

“All legislative actions on revenue and budget must be determined by a majority vote.”

California is one of the only states in the nation to constitutionally give a 34 percent minority of its state representatives direct control over all such legislation-thereby ensuring the budget and revenue gridlock we are experiencing.

California is in the middle of an unprecedented economic crisis requiring fundamental new approaches for resolution. Creativity is essential as we are currently unable to implement more obvious solutions to resolving the crisis. For example, we are also one of the only significant oil producing states that fails to charge oil companies an extraction tax on the oil they pump-even Governor Sarah Palin prided herself on taxing Alaska’s oil profiteers. …

George Lakoff gave a talk yesterday evening at UCSD.  As you may know, he is organizing a drive to put a proposition on the ballot that would end the 2/3 rule that currently makes it impossible for the state of California to raise revenue or to pass a budget without the consent of a militant Republican minority intent on starving the state to death. The initiative has 5 weeks to gather the necessary 1.2 million signatures.

Here is what you can do. It will take all of 5 minutes:

You can download a copy of the petition from the internet, and sign the document twice: 1) once on the line for petitioner signatures and 2) a second time at the bottom of the petition as the one gathering signatures.

In other words you can submit your own petition signed by you, and mail it in.

Anyone can do it.

So link the URL below to your Facebook and get your friends to do the same.


Here is the web site:


Here is the text of the Constitutional amendment that needs only 50% plus 1 vote in the referendum to pass:

“All legislative actions on revenue and budget must be determined by a majority vote.”

It is clear that there is no solution to the current crisis of public higher education in California, unless the state is able to raise revenue. It is clear that there is no solution to the current crisis of public anything (k-12, healthcare for poor children, fire departments etc.) in California without abolishing the 2/3 rule. Please sign the petition, get others to do the same, and help to put Lakoff’s proposition on the ballot.

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Creative Fix http://agitpropspace.org/2009/04/25/creative-fix/ http://agitpropspace.org/2009/04/25/creative-fix/#comments Sun, 26 Apr 2009 05:37:23 +0000 David White http://agitpropspace.org/?p=234

‘Creative Fix’ Invites Artists to Play an Active Role in Politics

April 16 and 17
Marcuse Gallery

noon to 4:30 p.m.
Visual Arts Facility, University of California
San Diego, CA

May 2

3 to 6 p.m.
2837 University Avenue (entrance on Utah)
North Park, San Diego, CA

May 30 

3 to 7 p.m.
105 E 6th Street 
Los Angeles, CA

La Jolla, California — In her upcoming project, “Creative Fix,” Sheryl Oring asks artists what they would do to fix the country if they could do anything at all. Oring, 43, is a Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts candidate at the University of California, San Diego. She is calling artists to the university’s Marcuse Gallery on April 16 & 17, Agitprop in San Diego on May 2, and compactspace in Los Angeles on May 30, to discuss their creative solutions for our country. Oring will make one-minute videos of their answers and post them on YouTube. By doing so, Oring hopes to bring artists into the contemporary political debate. Artists of all types – writers, musicians, visual artists, architects etc. – are invited to participate.

“Creative Fix” is currently California-based and has the potential to expand to an international scale as viewers respond to the videos posted on Oring’sYouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/iwishtosay. The final shape of the participatory project depends on the creativity of respondents.

The idea for “Creative Fix” grew out of Oring’s most recent past work, a public art project called “I Wish to Say.” For this, Oring set out to gather public opinion during the 2008 presidential election by setting up an “office” – complete with a manual typewriter – in public places and inviting passersby to dictate postcards to the next president. Many people spoke out for change, and Oring feels the challenges facing this nation demand attention from more than just the usual suspects. Artists, she said, can offer a fresh perspective on many of the most pressing issues of the day.

“In other parts of the world, artists play a legitimate role in politics and political debate,” said Oring, citing examples such as Václav Havel, the playwright who became president of Czechoslovakia, and the German political system, in which the arts play a significant role in local and national political institutions. “In the U.S., however, artists are seen as suspect. I’d like to do one small thing to change this and bring more creativity to American politics.”

Oring is a first-year MFA student focused on public culture. Led by architect Teddy Cruz, Public Culture is a new emphasis at UC San Diego’s Department of Visual Arts. Cruz is Oring’s mentor.

More About the Artist:

Sheryl Oring is the author of “I Wish to Say: The Birthday Project,” a book published in 2008 that features a collection of birthday cards for former President George Bush, which were dictated at public events Oring held in eight cities across the country. Named ABC News’ Person of the Week by Peter Jennings for her performance piece “I Wish to Say” during the 2004 Republican Convention in New York City, Oring is a former journalist (The New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Die Welt) whose provocative work explores the intersection of language, politics and memory. Her past work includes “Writing Home,” a performance in which she invited people to dictate letters to their ancestors; and “Writer’s Block,” a sculptural installation made out of hundreds of antique typewriters. She has received fellowships from the Creative Capital Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts and the Robert Bosch Foundation; held a residency as part of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Swing Space program; and exhibited in museums, cultural centers, galleries and public spaces in the United States, Europe and India. Oring has a degree in journalism from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and has studied art history and theory at the Humboldt University in Berlin. She is working on an MFA in Visual Arts with an emphasis in public culture at UC San Diego.

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