As visitors to this website will notice, there is a gap between the publication of Virus News in March 2020 and this posting for New Years 2021. For the last ten years I posted news every month so this interruption needs some explanation. Obviously, the pandemic is one part of the story.
When it became clear that two tours (in the US and Italia) would be canceled and we were to be confined to our home base for at least the remainder of 2020, we set to work on a number of projects. These were projects that had been launched prior to the pandemic but were scheduled for breaks between tours. Needless to say, like millions of other musicians and performing artists, we suddenly had the time to devote to these projects.
But this is not the only reason I have not posted regular news. I decided to refrain from speculation about the two themes dominating most media all year long: the pandemic and the US presidential elections. The reasons are three.
-First, I needed time to sift through the evidence presented by epidemiologists and other scientists, much of which was incomplete or controversial.
-Second, I view the electoral process in the US as illegitimate and unjust. Since so many were preoccupied with voting, I felt that few would find useful what I have to contribute to this discussion.
-Third, following the murder of George Floyd and the explosion of protests throughout the world, it became immediately apparent that the volatility of the current world situation rendered speechless nearly everyone. Speechless doesn’t mean they stopped talking. On the contrary, they talked incessantly, non-stop, 24/7, but it was for the most part meaningless babble. The noise of nonsense increased in volume and intensity until the aforementioned election and all the kneeling, kente-clothed liberals could breath a sigh of relief.
For those of us serious about changing the world, perhaps the New Year will offer a chance to reflect and to regroup for the challenges that lie ahead.
I still stand by the hopes I expressed in my Virus News (see website entry). And I continue to work on the projects mentioned above. A quick recap follows for anyone interested. But first I’d like to call your attention to this announcement:
Proposal for Social Transformation
Following the publication of Virus News in March 2020, I was drawn into dialogue with a number of friends in several countries. The result was a proposal for social transformation which incorporated views shared by everyone with whom I spoke and which have the widest popular appeal, as well. The proposal was subsequently published in the journal, Socialism & Democracy.
Recap of recent projects
Music for People
An album of 15 songs I composed and were performed by:
Mat Callahan-vocals and guitar
Yvonne Moore-vocals and harmonica
Arno Troxler-drums and percussion
Colin Hogan-accordion and melodica
Art in History & Politics
AH&P is a non-profit arts organization devoted to the task of recovering, preserving and presenting art that was once widely influential but has subsequently disappeared. The discovery of long-forgotten songs, poetry and other works that were the product of historically important events has led to the production of books, audio recordings and films which can assist educators and the general public in deepening their grasp of the role of art in history and politics. To date we have brought three projects to fruition:
Looters Archive Project (thanks to Joe Johnson): www.youtube.com
or web search: Looters San Francisco 1980s
Working Class Heroes: project description
James Connolly Songs of Freedom: project description