I am posting to inspire those fighting for democracy in the United States, and anywhere else where liberty is in peril. It has two parts:
- Part I: This Mix Kills Fascists
- Part II: 3 Quotations to Keep You Fighting
Part I: This Mix Kills Fascists
Here is my annual “RESIST!” mix, featuring many genres of music (R&B, punk, hip-hop/rap, rock, soul, metal, country, funk, folk, jazz, reggae).
Its title comes from the slogan on Woody Guthrie’s guitar: “This Machine Kills Fascists.”
I mention this in case the title or, for instance, the inclusion of Propagandhi’s “The Only Good Fascist Is a Very Dead Fascist” be interpreted literally. It’s an allusion to Guthrie, whose “All You Fascists” (performed by Billy Bragg and Wilco) is included on the playlist.
Because there are many kinds of good fascists. Dead ones, clearly. But let us not forget fascists voted out of office, unable to show their faces in public again, defeated, bankrupted, on trial, or spending the remainder of their lives in prison.
I’ve really enjoyed the range of music on Robert Glasper’s PROTEST Mix.
My RESIST mixes for 2017, 2018, and 2019 may also be of interest. They do not repeat songs, but the 2020 mix includes songs from those mixes. I figure this is US democracy’s last stand: I’m not holding back anything from this year’s playlist.
Part II: 3 Quotations to Keep You Fighting
Right now, we need to focus. Get out the vote for Biden-Harris, and Democratic candidates at EVERY level — national, state, local. Do NOT be distracted by the bullying, lies, or general assholery spewing from the deranged shitgibbon in the White House, the Fox “News” noise machine, or from the complicit cowards who — without irony — call themselves “the Republican Party.” (Members of a party hell-bent on destroying the republic call themselves Republicans. Because 2020. And because they are traitorous, hypocritical, greedy bastards.)
So, how to keep focused? One way is to turn to the words of people wiser than yourself. And I know what you’re thinking: Phil, in your case, that’s quite a LONG list of people. True. So, to save us all some time, I’ll limit myself to three.
“I can’t be a pessimist, because I am alive. To be a pessimist means you have agreed that human life is an academic matter, so I’m forced to be an optimist. I’m forced to believe that we can survive whatever we must survive.”—James Baldwin, “The Negro and the American Promise” (1963)
“So you must wake up every morning knowing that no promise is unbreakable, least of all the promise of waking up at all. This is not despair. These are the preferences of the universe itself: verbs over nouns, actions over states, struggle over hope.”—Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me (2015)
“I don’t believe in hope, and I don’t believe in hopelessness. I believe in compassion and pragmatism, in doing what is right for its own sake. Hope can be lethal when you are fighting an autocracy because hope is inextricable from time.”— Sarah Kendzior, Hiding in Plain Sight (2020)
I like Baldwin’s quotation because it emphasizes optimism as a choice. I am not naturally optimistic. Every day, I choose optimism because it helps me act. I like Coates’ quotation because it reminds us that struggle is more reliable than hope — indeed, that, committing yourself to the struggle is the most important thing. I like Kendzior’s because it is grounding to simply know that you are doing what is right for its own sake. Do what is right because it is right, and let everything else sort itself out.
For a longer analysis — and practical advice — see the previous post in this blog, “A Democracy, If We Can Keep It.”
Fight on. We must prevail. And so we shall prevail.
Related posts & articles (by me)
- “Fight Fascism. Vote Clinton.” (Dedicate Your No-Trump Vote, 30 Sept. 2016)
- Surviving Trumpism. Restoring Democracy. (12 Nov. 2016). I wrote this less than a week after the 2016 election.
- The Public University in an Age of Alt-Facts: Remarks on Receiving a Higuchi Award (13 Dec. 2016)
- “Resolutions for a New Academic Year: A survival guide for higher education in perilous times” (Chronicle of Higher Education, 5 Sept. 2017)
- RESIST! Year #2 begins NOW. (7 Nov. 2017)
- Why Trump Jails Crying Children. How We Resist. (A Twitter Essay) (21 June 2018)
- RESIST! A mix for 2019 (30 Jan. 2019)
- Kansas’ Distinguished Professors call for end to International Student Ban (11 July 2020)
- A Democracy, If We Can Keep It (29 Aug. 2020)
- CHILDREN’S LITERATURE
- Refugee Stories for Young Readers (Public Books, 23 Mar. 2017). Francesca Sanna’s The Journey and other contemporary refugee tales for children.
- Donald and the Golden Crayon (20 Oct. 2018). The first book to adapt Crockett Johnson’s children’s books for political satire.
- Migration, Refugees, and Diaspora in Children’s Literature (ChLAQ) (11 Dec. 2018). Blog post announcing special issue of the Children’s Literature Association Quarterly on this subject, including excerpts from my introduction.
- Harold vs. Donald, round 2 (9 Sept. 2019)
- “Trump is a liar. Tell children the truth” (Public Books, 15 Oct. 2019). See also the related blog post on the essay.
- “A Manifesto for Radical Children’s Literature (and an Argument Against Radical Aesthetics)” (Barnboken: tidskrift för barnlitteraturforskning/Journal of Children’s Literature Research no. 42, Dec. 2019)