City of Joyful Dread

I caught a fever, a holy fire

Month: November, 2014

Oscar Zeta Acosta on Ferguson

“Tell the pigs to quit vamping on us,” Henry says.

“Now, Mr. Mayor, I won’t stand for this,” Reddin says.

“Now, Tom, fellows, let’s try to be civil.”

“OK, Yorty, what is it? What do you want to talk to us about?”

“Like I said, can’t we try to get together and see what we can do? I’m willing to do it if you fellows are.”

“What specifically do you have in mind?”

“Well…I just don’t see what you fellows keep on holding so many demonstrations for. I know you got the right to do it…”

“If they’re peaceful, Mayor,” Reddin says.

“It’s the pigs that start the trouble,” Gilbert says.

“Mayor?” Reddin says. He pushes at his brass buttons.

“Now, Tom…What I want to know is…what do you think it’s going to get you if you keep marching around the police stations, the school boards…you know?”

“That’s our business, Mayor…Now do you have something specific? Or are we here just to size one another up?”

“Come on, Brown, come on!…I’m trying to tell you…I’m telling you, that picketing thing is over. All you’re doing is getting your own people in trouble. Now look…” he leans over toward me and lowers his voice, “the blacks picketed for years…for years. They marched and they did the very things you people are doing now…but you know something, and this is the honest-to-God truth…they didn’t get a thing until they had Watts! That is a fact! And I’m telling you, until your people riot, they’re probably not going to get a thing either! That’s my opinion.”

I stare directly into the wrinkled narrow green eyes of Sam-the-Straightshooter, a short John Wayne with a sincere simple honest smile. He is not blinking. He is telling me the truth.
–from Oscar Zeta Acosta, The Revolt of the Cockroach People (1973)

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Guy Debord on Ferguson

It is obvious that the crude and glaring illegality from which blacks still suffer in many American states has its roots in a socioeconomic contradiction that is not within the scope of existing laws, and that no future judicial law will be able to get rid of this contradiction in the face of the more fundamental laws of this society. What American blacks are really daring to demand is the right to really live, and in the final analysis this requires nothing less than the total subversion of this society. This becomes increasingly evident as blacks in their everyday lives find themselves forced to use increasingly subversive methods. The issue is no longer the condition of American blacks, but the condition of America, which merely happens to find its first expression among the blacks.
–Guy Debord, “The Decline and Fall of the Spectacle-Commodity Economy,” Internationale Situationniste #10 (March 1966)

Your Pussy is Black Magic Woman and I Got a Black Cat Bone

we moved to the old country
an outlaw phenomenology
a darker torch singer
the markers of course
when my prayer is to linger with you
in the old world mythology

we move under covers
embracing asylum
like sirens of sunset
the martyrs of force move
between dream and distance
ten thousand miles to the shrouded city

we move under moonlight
damp tongue and dark hollow
toward malevolent embers
your trembling membrane
a torn rune of music
we move to the music
we move in rhythm